This week features the likes of The Raveonettes, A Sunny Day in Glasgow, Perfume Genius, Jack Garratt, Bear in Heaven, Haley Bonar, 2:54, and Angus and Julia Stone. Most of these releases have come out either this month, last month, or some time within the last few. If you notice the song titles stack up kind of funny, that’s no accident either. I was pretty amused with how this all played out by the time I was done assembling it.
The Raveonettes: Are a group I enjoyed watching at Austin Psych Fest in 2013. This Danish duo, Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo, just released their new album Pe’ahi. The album title references a near death experience Wagner had while surfing off Pe’hai on the north shore in Maui. There’s actually a whole lot of personal darkness on this album, which is not exactly new territory for The Raveonettes. So it’s best summed up as: West Coast Noir.
A Sunny Day in Glasgow: A Sea When Absent in its entirety was a good, pool side listen recently. This is the kind of album for people who like walls of sound in the form of reverb, distortion, but also manages to retain a pop sensibility.
Perfume Genius: I really admire Mike Hadreas’s spirit. He had video that was banned on youtube at one point with his 2012 Put Your Back In 2 It, the promo featured his song Hood. It’s the gay thing. People are really uncomfortable with a gay man professing to his boyfriend all these complicated PDA-like emotions. Well, with Too Bright, Hadreas’s says of the new album: “I’ve seen faces of blank terror when I walk by. Sometimes from seemingly strong, macho dudes — somehow my presence confuses and ultimately scares them. There is a strange power to it that I’ve only recently begun to understand and embrace. After many years trying to sort out exactly what they are scared of, most of the time converting the result into personal shame, there are now moments of monstrous pride.”
So Queen is a song you should listen to if you dig that.
Jack Garratt: I talked about him last week because I couldn’t find the song I wanted on Soundcloud. I think the line “Are we honest?” sums up this track perfectly.
Bear in Heaven: As is above, so is below. I love this track and its title. Hell, I like all the lyrics from verse to chorus and back again. It’s easily driving the momentum as to why Time is Over One Day Old will be pushed up on my list of favorites for 2014.
Haley Bonar: I admit I’m not very familiar with her music. She’s on Graveface Records and Last War is her 5th album. It’s a good listen, and NPR described her lyrical style as “deeply ambivalent.” And she’s said of her own album that it’s “Twin Peaks-inspired.” Guess it’s heavy on the noir this week. And reverb.
2:54: This band is comprised of two sisters, Colette Thurlow, Hannah Thurlow, and drummer Alex Robins. They’ve just signed to Bella Union, formerly they were on Fat Possum, and Orion is the new single from their second album due later this year.
Twin Peaks: Wild Onion is their second album. If you heard their first, this one is longer by double the amount of songs and may or may not live up to your expectations. Music is funny like that. Either way, I liked their brand of genre-spanning psychedelia. Although their musical references are thinly veiled.
Angus and Julia Stone: are a brother and sister duo. If you listened to 2007’s A Book Like This, and probably just about any of their output within the past few years (I’ll admit I’ve not been deep into their material before), this album may sound a bit darker. All said, they’re not my usual fair, but their seventh song, Death Defying Acts, caught my ear with its tightrope walking, world weariness. Plus that sultry, bluesy guitar plays like a smokey backdrop for Julia’s fragile, sing-song, folksy voice. And if Julia Stone’s thin, crackly vocals on this track seem reminiscent of Portishead’s Beth Gibbons on Glorybox, you would not be alone in thinking this.