Mid-Year Music Roundup

It’s June and high time I let you know what awesome albums I’ve been listening to so far this year. There’s a soundcloud thingy featuring some of these artists streaming after jump.

Akron/Family – Sub Verses (Dead Oceans – DOC078)

These guys continue to grow and put out compelling records. If you caught them on tour this spring you heard much looser versions of this tightly arranged record that still manages to sound like it could fly apart at the seams on some of the wilder cuts. This is a dynamic trio that is constantly pulling in three directions. That tension and diversity makes for a fascinating tug-of-war that makes for a compelling listen.

Alex Bleeker and the Freaks (Woodsist – 068)
Jangly pop hooks blended with folk, psych, long gone indie sounds, and earnest lyrics make this one of my favorites for the year (so far.) Bleeker has stepped away from Real Estate to deliver an album that sounds nothing like his day job.

White Fence – Cyclops Reap (Castle Face – CF-019)
More White Fence! Tim Presley seems to be on a mission to release as many albums as is humanly possible (Pretty sure Ty Segall is going to take that title.) Here we have another collection of self-recorded garage psych-pop songs that fit neatly in the Barrett/Kinks/Nuggets crossroads. If you like bent guitars, tape warble, unpredictable but undeniable hooks, you need this record.

William Tyler – Impossible Truth (Merge – MRG465)
Elsewhere on the spectrum, William Tyler has put out a record that should make it unnecessary to quote his past credits in every article written about him. His work with notable indie bands fades into “that’s cool” territory when you hear this striking instrumental album that blends Fahey and so much else that has followed. Tyler’s gorgeous guitar playing is accompanied by occasional instrumentation that is superbly arranged. I’ll be spinning this for some time yet.

Page McConnell – Unsung Cities & Movies Never Made (Keyed – KEY001)
Slipped into the world as a limited Record Store Day LP release, tho solo record from Phish keyboardist McConnell came a a total surprise to me. Here we are in an era when I won’t even review the new Trey Anastasio album because I don’t like to write negative and Page drops a record that I cannot hear often enough. It’s an instrumental meditation record that carries the mind comfortably through the back roads and less traveled sites around the map. This one isn’t for everyone but it has quickly become my second favorite of all of the Phish-related solo efforts. (Supplanting Trampled By Lambs and just behind One Man’s Trash which still holds the top spot.)

MV & EE – Fuzzweed (Three Lobed – TLR-097)
Matt Valentine and Erika Elder have once again brought out an album that captures another angle on the multi-faceted gem of their psychedelic folk rock sound. Gentle, yet spun out and spacey, the pair along with a cast of the usual suspects (Smokehound, Herbcraft, Jeremy Earl, et al) have created another fine transmission from the ether.



Other records of note so far include releases from My Bloody Valentine (!!), Jim James, Cy Dune (Seth Olinsky from Akron/Family), and The Shouting Matches (Justin Vernon & Phil Cook). There are a ton more out there but it’s so hard to keep up. Let me know what I’m missing via twitter…

Looking ahead to the rest of the year, a fine sounding (and fascinating aural departure) from Sigur Ros hit the stacks this week. Tim Presley has warned us to expect another White Fence album on Woodsist. Woods has a new single due out in early July and, though it’s just a cover (The Kinks’ ???) it lends hope that they will continue the streak of a new album each year since 2008.

That’s it for music stuff for now.
Keep digging.