As fun as it is to complain about “music these days,” and how it’s all been downhill since The Chronic or something came out, it’s even MORE fun to listen to — wait for it — good music. Every Tuesday, a.k.a. Music Release Day, we’ll highlight five albums worth (legally) downloading or driving to the local Best Buy (lolz) for.
Today, we’ve got albums from a promising young rapper, the best early 2000s New York band still around (sorry, the Strokes), a soon-to-be Adult Swim show soundtrack guru, and more.
Heaven by the Walkmen
On Heaven, an album that could have just as easily been released in 1955, Hamilton Leithauser rarely does his arched-back singing style that got the Walkmen noticed in the first place, all the way back in the early 2000s; now, he’s a dad, as is the majority of the group, and he can’t let red-faced emotions get the best of him. He sounds leveled, relaxed even, and his bandmates follow his lead. Unlike Wilco, who stopped being great as soon as Jeff Tweedy got happy, the more comfortable they get, the better the Walkmen are.
Valtari by Sigur Rós
Sigur Rós has never really clicked for me the way they have for others (too slow, lack of a single moment that makes a nine-minute song worth it, etc.), but even I’ll admit their sixth record, Valtari, is pretty goddamn gorgeous. It still creeps along, because this is Sigur Rós we’re talking about, but its calm chilliness is bewitching, like a painting in a museum of an exotic woman with cold blonde hair and deep blue eyes. And just like her eyes, the majestic Valtari is easy to sink into.
1991 by Azealia Banks
To tide fans of smash-hit “212” over until her full-length debut comes out, Azealia Banks has released 1991, a four-song EP that includes two next tracks, “1991” and “Van Vogue,” as well as “Liquorice” and, yes, “212.” Throughout, Banks sounds menacing and excited, as am I for Fantastic, out on July 4th.
Here by Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
It’s OK to admit “Home” is a great song, it really is. Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes wrap themselves in pseudo-hippie bullshit (a joke that they’re not apart of), but that doesn’t mean they aren’t skilled folk-pop songwriters, harking back to the mid-1960s, when flower children were embraced and Joplin was queen. Their second album, Here, doesn’t have a song as good as “Home,” and bizarrely doesn’t include nearly enough music festival-ready sing-alongs, but Jade Castrinos, the June Carter to Alex Ebert’s Johnny Cash, sings lead more often than she did on Up from Below. If they can combine that album’s playfulness with Here’s Castrinos-led laid back vibe, their next album might me forget the time I saw the sole of Ebert’s foot. Dirty hippies…
G Is for Deep by Doseone
Maybe it’s just because it was SO DAMN HOT this weekend and I’ve been feeling lazy, but I’ve been talking about a lot of “slow,” methodical records so far. To shake that up, here’s G is For Deep, Doseone’s mostly riveting, always hyperactive eighth studio album. Also be on the look out for “Mars Safari,” an Adult Swim show featuring a soundtrack by Dose’ and fellow producer/rapper Jel.