Pick of the week
Nick Drake, Pink Moon LP reissue
Nick Drake’s Pink Moon has been reissued on LP a number of times—including as a box set in the U.K. last year—but hasn’t been readily available on vinyl in the States since its 1972 release. All that changes now with Fontana Island’s 180-gram repressing of the 28-minute-long record. That high-quality vinyl should make tracks like “Pink Moon” and “Free Ride” sound noticeably more lush than they do on CD or MP3, making this one of those must-have LPs for any decently comprehensive collection.
Don’t break the seal
Bret Michaels, Good Songs & Great Friends
While a Bret Michaels solo record might not sound all that great to begin with, a Bret Michaels and guests record sounds even worse. That’s what the horribly titled Good Songs & Great Friends is, complete with contributions from Aerosmith’s Joe Perry, Van Halen’s Michael Anthony, and Kiss’ Ace Frehley. Jimmy Buffett stops by to do “Margaritaville,” and, sadly, Michaels even managed to get Loretta Lynn to duet with him on “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” So, yeah. This exists.
Atoms For Peace, AMOK
With Radiohead on a bit of a hiatus, Thom Yorke has teamed up with Flea, Nigel Godrich, Joey Waronker, and Mauro Refosco to form Atoms For Peace. Though the band toured together in 2010, AMOK is its debut LP—and a pretty good one at that.
Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, Old Yellow Moon
Rodney Crowell joined Emmylou Harris’ touring band in 1975, but Old Yellow Moon is the first official collaboration between the two. The record features four songs written by Crowell, as well as a number of covers. Nashville fans: Just think of this as the record Deacon and Rayna will make together in 15 or so years.
Joan Armatrading, Starlight
British singer-songwriter-guitarist Joan Armatrading has released 18 albums in her 40-year career, but die-hard fans still get pretty stoked for something new. Armatrading plays all the instruments on Starlight and, according to press materials, tried a new method of “vocal phrasing” on the record in an attempt to “add new emotional dimension and depth to her always incisive explorations of love and the human condition.”
Johnny Marr, The Messenger
Since leaving The Smiths in 1987, Johnny Marr has made contributions to a number of bands, including but not limited to Modest Mouse, The Cribs, The The, and Electronic. He’s never put out a solo record until The Messenger, though. Here’s hoping it lives up to years and years of lofty expectations.
Industrial group KMFDM has gone through a number of iterations during its history, but all lineups have centered on multi-instrumentalist Sascha Konietzko. Kunst—which translates to “art,” you perv—features a NSFW-ish cover designed by Aidan “Brute!” Hughes in support of Russian punk prisoners Pussy Riot, as well as a track named after the group.
Mister Lies, Mowgli
Though Mister Lies’ Nick Zanca is just a college student, he’s been releasing pretty great sound-collage-style electronica for a while now. Mowgli is his debut full-length, and if single “Lupine” is any example, it could be pretty enchanting.
Mount Moriah, Miracle Temple
North Carolina band Mount Moriah is one of Merge Records’ newest signings, and while the members have been in heavier bands, like Bellafea and Horseback, Miracle Temple is a light, folky record in the vein of a Civil Wars or Lumineers.
Sally Shapiro, Somewhere Else
Somewhere Else, the latest record from Swedish disco-popper Sally Shapiro, not only features collaborations with Electric Youth (one of the bands that made the Drive soundtrack so great), but it also has one of the most amazing track names we’ve seen in a while: “This City’s Local Italo Disco DJ Has A Crush On Me.”
Shout Out Louds, Optica
Swedish rockers Shout Out Louds have toured with bands like The Strokes and Kings Of Leon and had their songs featured on shows like The O.C. and in videogames like MLB 06: The Show, but that doesn’t mean they’re a household name yet. The band’s last record, 2010’s Work, just squeaked into the Billboard charts at #200, but given the industry’s bleak current existence, Optica could do a little better.
Woodpigeon, Thumbtacks And Glue
Symphonic pop act Woodpigeon is helmed by talented songwriter Mark Hamilton, who, over the course of the band’s existence, has lived everywhere from Calgary, Alberta to Edinburgh, Scotland and Vienna, Austria. All that movement’s not typically good for a band, but it works for Woodpigeon somehow, with the group releasing at least an EP and an LP a year for the past few years.
Young Boys, New York Sun
Fans of post-punk acts like Merchandise or bleak dance-room fare like Joy Division might like abysmally named Brooklyn quartet Young Boys. The group’s debut, New York Sun, will give plenty of music bloggers the chance to expound on the subtle virtues of “young boys.” Ugh.
BOY, Mutual Friends
Originally released in Europe in 2011, Mutual Friends is finally making its way to the States now, bringing with it the chance for Americans to get confused by both the pop music on the record and the name of the Swiss-German duo that made it.
Grave Babies, Crusher
Seattle’s Hardly Art has signed some great bands, but Grave Babies is a humdinger. The Seattle-based trio makes all-encompassing skuzzy garage rock, and its latest record, Crusher, is covered with a layer of fuzzy filth so heavy it almost makes headphones sound broken. Awesome, right?
Wayne Hancock, Ride
Country swing artist Wayne “The Train” Hancock is a goddamned workhorse. He’s on the road playing shows something like 200 nights a year and he churns out record after record. Ride is his eighth full-length record, after 2009’s Viper Of Melody, which included several tracks in tribute to marijuana.
Ivan & Alyosha, All The Times We Had
On the opposite end of the Seattle band spectrum comes Ivan & Alyosha, who make Americana-influenced folk pop. All The Times We Had is the group’s debut full-length and features an absolutely lovely single, “Running For Cover.”
Vietnam, An A.Merican D.Ream
Vietnam put out a great self-titled debut on Kemado in 2007 and then just kind of fell off the face of the earth. The band, fronted by Michael Gerner, is finally back, though, with a greasy, Moog-tinged, bluesy record for New York nighthawks.