Spotlight: Andrew Bird – Hands of Glory [Mom + Pop]
Of course Andrew Bird drops a second full-length in a year to add to his huge discography. Far from excessive though, Hands of Glory complements its predecessor Break It Yourself with more personal, stripped down musical vignettes. Bird’s soulful violin almost takes on the joyfulness of a fiddle as it becomes a lively, vocalized companion. Probably one of Bird’s most cohesive albums, Hands of Glory sounds like the story that he never told. With string plucks and multi-layer harmonies, it’s as if Bird himself is sitting down next to us, recounting friendly tales by a warming fire.
Chad Valley – Young Hunger [Cascine]
Writing for Under The Radar, Kenny McGuane says it best: “Drenched in reverb, programming and swirly synths, Young Hunger is the full realization of the sound Manuel’s been refining as Chad Valley for the last couple of years, though it’s markedly less “tropical.” It’s also no more or less referential than anything else going on in pop music, and even if Manuel’s a better producer and pop visionary than he is a singer, Young Hunger is still a delightfully shameless, anthemic embrace of young love, keyboard wizardry, the ’80s, and the ’90s.”
GR – A Reverse Age [Mexican Summer]
French artist Gregory Raimo is a mysterious man. Having tread the experimental rock scene with Gunslingers, A Reverse Age, from his solo project, is even stranger. Unintelligible warble (or are those just heavily manipulated vocals?) sprinkled on speeding explosions of guitar riffs set the stage for an appropriate near-Halloween release date.
Luke Lalonde – Rhythymnals [Paper Bag]
Born Ruffian’s Luke Lalonde’s debut solo album takes slightly more chances than the former usually does. The opening track opens with about two minutes of synth drone before settling into the recognizable, energetic lilt of Lalonde’s usual repertoire. Rhythymnals overall shows Lalonde’s wide range, from idiosyncratic to touching ballads, striking a balance fit for a debut solo release.
The Soft Moon – Zeros [Captured Tracks]
Here’s another album to add to the Halloween playlist. Creepy breathing, ominous synths and garbled vocals are all part of The Soft Moon’s recipe for some witchy, no-wave post-punk that’s just haunting enough to be smartly put together.
Borko – Born to be Free [Morr]
Indian Handcrafts – Civil Disobedience For Lovers [Sargent House]
Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Psychedelic Pill [Reprise]
The Coup – Sorry to Bother You [Anti]
The Crystal Ark – The Crystal Ark [DFA]
Thrice – Anthology [Staple / Workhorse]
by DENISE LU
Listen to these albums, and more, for free at eMusic.