The 20 best songs from the last two weeks. New music from Courtney Barnett, Death Cab for Cutie, The Mountain Goats, Torres (pictured), Diet Cig, Sleater-Kinney, Milo Greene, Cool Sounds, Mondo Drag, Mikal Cronin, Twerps, Motorama, Belle and Sebastian, Ty Segall, The Dodos, Diagrams, Girlpool, Chandos, Ryley Walker and Natalie Prass.
Courtney Barnett ‘Pedestrian At Best’
Apart from one track on her own Milk! Records compilation, Courtney Barnett hasn’t released any new music since the How to Carve a Carrot into a Rose EP back in October 2013. She and her band have spent the last 15 months touring the world in support of a compilation of that record and its predecessor (2012’s I’ve Got A Friend Called Emily Ferris) which, despite being called The Double EP some people seem to have mistaken for her debut album. Sometime in there, CB and her (now fourpiece) band have found the time to record her debut album proper, the forthcoming Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit (due out in March on Milk! / Mom & Pop). This is the first track and if this and live favourite ‘Depreston’ are anything to go by, she is about to totally deliver the album everyone is hoping for.
Death Cab for Cutie ‘Black Sun’
The first taste of DCFC’s first post-Chris Walla album Kintsugi (March 31, Atlantic) doesn’t stray very far from the template they’ve carved out on recent albums, but is better than anything on their last album, the underwhelming Codes and Keys.
[Death Cab for Cutie]
The Mountain Goats ‘The Legend of Chavo Guerrero’
First taste of John Darnielle’s wrestling-themed album Beat the Champ (April, Merge) proves that, like his previous works, you don’t need to know much about the subject matter to find his lyrics fascinating (and, of course, the music is great too).
[The Mountain Goats]
Torres ‘Strange Hellos’
Mackenzie Scott (aka Torres) made the best debut album of 2013. Last year, her output was limited to two tracks. One (‘The Harshest Light’) on a Record Store Day split 7” with Motel Beds, the other only available on Soundcloud. The latter track, ‘New Skin’ featured performances from Adam Granduciel and Sharon Van Etten and was my favourite track of 2014. Both tracks appear (possibly in different versions) on her forthcoming second album Sprinter (Partisan, May 5).
Diet Cig ‘Harvard’
After ‘Scene Sick’ appeared earlier this month (ITP #70),this is the second track to get a release from the New Paltz, NY duo’s limited edition cassette EP, Over Easy due out via their Bandcamp at the end of February.
Sleater-Kinney ‘Price Tag’
Opening track from their excellent (and very beautifully packaged) comeback album, out now on Sub Pop.
Milo Greene ‘When It’s Done’
From the fictitiously monikered California pop band’s second album Control (out this week on Atlantic).
Cool Sounds ‘Night Line’
Another track from the Melbourne indie pop band’s new album, Healing Crystals (out now on Beko).
Mondo Drag ‘Zephyr’
Oakland, CA heavy psych rockers with the opening track from their eponymous second album, out now on Kozmik Artifactz. Is that the influence of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Higher Ground’ in the rhythm?
Mikal Cronin ‘Make My Mind Up’
The occasional Ty Segall sideman returns with a track from his forthcoming third album MC III (May 5, Merge). Hopefully, like its predecessors, it will contain more lush, melodic psych pop nuggets like this.
Twerps ‘Simple Feelings’
Superior Melbourne janglists with an unabashed fondness for The Clean with another track from their excellent second album Range Anxiety (out now on Chapter Music / Merge). [Twerps]
Half early-Cure post-punk, half jangle pop, all goodness from the Russian five-piece.
Belle and Sebastian ‘Allie’
Another stand-out track from the band’s eclectic and wonderful Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance album.
[Belle and Sebastian]
Ty Segall ‘Mr Face’
Title track from the prolific San Francisco-based garage psych rock muso’s new EP.
The Dodos ‘The Tide’
The third track featured here from the band’s forthcoming sixth album Individ.
Diagrams ‘Phantom Power’
Taken from former Tuung man Sam Genders’ new album Chromatics. Breezy pop with eclectic influences and bearing a little of the folktronica thumbprint of his previous outift. [Diagrams]
Chandos ‘Swim Gym’
Taken from the Boston band’s twisting, chugging, a little post-hardcore, a lot great Rats In Your Bed album (out now on Carpark).
Ryley Walker ‘On the Banks of the Old Kishwaukee’
Another track from the Chicago folkie-jazzy guitarist’s wonderful new album Primrose Green.
Natalie Prass ‘Your Fool’
Taken from her debut Matthew E. White – produced debut album .