In this crazy world of newfangled technology and terabyte hard drives brimming with music we couldn’t get all the way through with ten sets of ears, it’s easy to lose your way and miss out on some incredible tunes. It doesn’t look like this wacky internet fad is going to die out anytime soon, so we’ve embraced it and compiled a list of new album releases for the week, with a particular focus on a few to keep an eye out for – or avoid like the plague.
The Verve: Forth (Parlophone)
Their career has lasted 20 years, but due to years of rampant drug use and band infighting, this is only the Verve’s fourth album. Naturally, the chronological distance between albums generates a sort of mass anticipation, but the product rarely matches the hype. The band sounds unbelievably healthy here, but not exactly inspired. They’ve been given a heroes welcome at every festival appearance they’ve made so far this summer, but it’s not the new material drawing crowds – people want to hear "Bittersweet Symphony," not new songs rehashing old energies.
GZA: Pro Tools (Babygrande)
It’s being called the best GZA album since Liquid Swords, and possibly even the best Wu-Tang-related album since Supreme Clientele. GZA’s head-turning double entendres and lyrical prowesss are still sharp enough to dice up the competition, and this one’s definitely worth a listen.
The Dandy Warhols: Earth to the Dandy Warhols (Beat The World)
The artsy-fartsy Dandy Warhols indulge their pretentious preening on yet another album, embracing the inevitable fact that their commercial moment passed with the 2004 documentary Dig!, which followed them from nobodies to major-label success. It’s a band for snooty hipsters with bad taste, and if you’re one of those people, check out Earth to the Dandy Warhols when you’re done yelling at us in the comments.
Fiery Furnaces: Remember (Thrill Jockey)
This Brooklyn-based duo is comprised of the brother-sister combo of Eleanor and Matthew Friedberger. They want to release their experience as a live band to a broader audience, and have compiled a collection of various live performances and not simply one live show. It doesn’t offer much by way of listenability, instead offering sloppier versions of their studio albums.
Ra Ra Riot: The Rhumba Line (Barsuk)
Last summer, Ra Ra Riot’s drummer and songwriting cornerstone of Rhumba Line, John Ryan Pike, drowned in the ocean after a show in Massachusetts. So understandably, his death weighs heavily on their full-length debut. Water imagery shares the spotlight with mortality on The Rhumba Line, vividly evoking a sense of loss. But there’s also a sense of triumph in their sound, as if they began to realize while recording that they could rise from the tragedy and grow to something bigger. Ra Ra Riot is an awesome live band, and one that we hope will continue to grow and find their way in the studio.
MGMT: Metanoia 10" (Columbia)
Don’t buy into the hype. MGMT blows, and this 14-minute B-side self-indulgent nonsense proves it. Some people might like it, and that’s fine – but whatever you do, don’t ever see this band live. Hands down, the worst live act ever. They’re so bad they don’t even get a thumbnail.
David Byrne: Big Love Hymnal: Official Soundtrack for the HBO Series Big Love (Todomundo)
Gorilla Biscuits: Start Today (Revelation)
Jeff Hanson: Madam Owl (Kill Rock Stars)
Julianna Hatfield: How To Walk Away (Ye Olde Records)
Heavy Heavy Low Low: Turtle Nipple and the Toxic Shock (Ferret/Weatherman)
Hotel Lights: Firecracker People (Bar/None)
Human Highway: Moody Motorcycle (Suicide Squeeze)
Immolation: Hope and Horror (Listenable Records)
Jaguar Love: Take Me To The Sea (Matador)
Jesu: Why Are We Not Perfect? (Hydra Head)
Lykke Li: Youth Novels (LL Records)
Lindstrom: Where You Go I Go Too (Smalltown Supersound/Feedelity)
The Walkmen: You & Me (Gigantic)
The Moondoggies: Don’t Be A Stranger (Hardly Art)
Jim O’Rourke: long night (Drag City)
Perhapst: Perhaps (In Music We Trust)
Lee Scratch Perry: Repentance (Narnack)
Pram: The Moving Frontier (Domino)
The Royal We: The Royal We (Domino)
Xavier Rudd: Dark Shades of Blue (Anti-)
Starling Electric: Clouded Staircase (Bar/None)
Stereolab: Chemical Chords (4AD)
Stills: Oceans Will Rise (Arts & Crafts)
The Toadies: No Deliverance (Kirtland)
Tokyo Police Club: Tesselllate 7" (Saddle Creek)
The Uglysuit: The Uglysuit (Quarterstick)
Various Artists: Como Now: The Voices of Panola County, MS (Daptone)
Vordul Mega: Megagraphitti (Backwoods Studioz)
Loudon Wainwright III: Recovery (Yep Roc)