Saturday, September 08, 2012

Staff Picks

Aside from listing new releases as they arrive and giving shout-outs to stuff on Twitter as we play them and to folks in person when they ask, we don't do staff picks listings nearly enough. Today, we start correcting that. Expects posts like these on a regular basis going forward. And hey, while we're at it, what are you digging these days?

Jens Lekman - I Know What Love Isn't
"Over the past decade, few songwriters have dedicated themselves to dramatizing the rise and fall of the heart as brilliantly as Lekman. Whether he's falling in love at the post office or making out during a boring Sunday sermon, his well-detailed, gracefully arranged songs inflate everyday moments and view the most banal aspects of modern life through rosy lenses, as though somebody's constantly spiking his drinks with love potion." [full review]

My Darling Clementine - How Do You Plead?
" album of country duets that sound as if they were written in the 60s or 70s. It's a finely crafted tribute to the classic country duos such as Johnny Cash and June Carter or George Jones and Tammy Wynette, with all the songs [originally written] and several sounding like lost classics." [full review]

Future - Pluto
"He leans hard into all those post-Lil Wayne clichés — goofily aligned punch lines, spaced-out drug analogies, dope-boy boasts, designer name-drops — but delivers them in a strained, melismatic warble, drenched in Auto-Tune and constantly cracking. Imagine P-Funk's Sir Nose D’Voidoffunk re-imagined by Mike Patton, but with unbridled swagger replacing any semblance of pitch or poise." [full review]

Swans - The Seer
"The Seer is 30 years’ worth of effort, a unique and exciting height earned after decades of creation, experimentation and unconventional musical disassembly. Ultimately, it’s an argument against immediate gratification and proof that we haven’t seen it all. Or, heard it all, thankfully." [full review]

Cat Power - Sun
"Marshall has always been one of the most emotionally intense songwriters around, but with Sun she has made her riskiest, most vital album, not to mention one of her greatest." [full review]

King Tuff - King Tuff
"King Tuff still retains a cunning and artless character, not roaming too far from the basement, adhering to its original sound. Feel-good nostalgia meets the stoned Dazed and Confused-types and the glam-punks halfway. The album's fuzzed-out appeal could make it a summer go-to disc even for audiences who live above the basement." [full review]

Frank Ocean - Channel Orange
"While he's now primarily writing songs for himself, his time toiling in L.A. studios gave him the experience to create a piece as accomplished and varied as Channel Orange, which swings from Stevie Wonder-style keyboard breeziness to 1990s R&B to mystic psych rock to crunching 8-bit funk without thinking twice." [full review]

Bob Mould - Silver Age
"Where [previous Mould] albums retained hints of slick pop, balladry, broad dynamics, and that lingering squiggle of electronics, Silver Age just rocks. In Mould’s case, though, 'just rocking' has always meant more: more melody, more smarts, more craft, and more depth of emotion." [full review]

Baroness - Yellow & Green
"Lke Slayer's Reign in Blood performed on Jimmy Eat World's Bleed American, the two-person vocal interplay between lead vocalist John Baizley and guitarist Peter Adams is melodious yet tense, immediate and human, at times even recalling X's Exene Cervenka and John Doe), sometimes just a headband away from Van Halen." [full review]

Nude Beach - II 
"Arguing against the continued existence of this music is like saying they shouldn't make new kinds of beer. Why limit the production of what is, first and foremost, a populist pleasure producer, even if the variation among new products is minimal?" [full review]


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