We’ve only entered the third month of the year, but we’ve been bombarded with a lot of great music. Today, Rich and I are going to each list five songs that we are currently digging. Some of the artists listed are ones that either of us or another Revue contributor has already featured, but these artists are well worth a second look. We’ll features singles from current albums, new singles, music from artists with upcoming releases, and cool covers.
Rich’s Fave Five
Sharon Van Etten – “Taking Chances”
This week, Sharon Van Etten released the first single off of her upcoming album, Are We There, called “Taking Chances”. The song features some Omnichord, and has a pretty slick groove to it. I have to say, I loved it from the first listen, but I can see how long time fans of Sharon’s music may be turned away. It’s a huge change from Tramp, which was a huge change from Epic, but that’s part of why I like a lot of bands and musicians that I do, they take chances and change things up before we have a chance to get bored. Are We There was included on our list of most anticipated albums of 2014, and this single only adds to the anticipation.
Xenia Rubinos – “Cherry Tree”
Xenia Rubinos just released a radio edit of this fantastic song off of her AMAZING 2013 album Magic Trix, which I wrote about last year. It reminded me once again how much I absolutely love everything about Xenia Rubinos’ music. The chaos, the powerful voice, the raw dance-ability, it’s all there in the radio edit, but I still suggest getting your hands on Magic Trix and hearing the full Xenia Rubinos experience! Daytrotter also just released a session with Xenia, which you can check out here.
Hiss Golden Messenger – “Drummer Down”
I have become a big fan of Hiss Golden Messenger in recent months. They’re putting the finishing touches on a new album, and I decided to pop on their fantastic album Poor Moon, and find myself listening to “Drummer Down” on repeat. There’s something about the way the banjo and guitar and everything meld together that just makes this song a beautiful must-listen-again.
Linda Perhacs – “Prisms of Glass”
Over four decades ago Linda Perhacs released her album Paralellograms. It became an unlikely success many years later, and she has finally released her second album, The Soul of All Natural Things on March 4 of this year on Sufjan Stevens’ Asthmatic Kitty label. Featuring current artists Julia Holter (who I wrote about here) and Nite Jewel. Her eerie, haunting and beautiful music fits in with a lot of recent music from artists like Holter, Marissa Nadler, and Angel Olsen.
Slothrust – “Homewreck Wifey”
Everytime I listen to this song I am instantly transported to their Of Course You Do record release show, and the really, really awesome moment when this song gets heavy then dies down with the “la la da da da” part, where everyone in the packed tiny performance space in Bushwick sang along. It’s things like that which remind me of why I love music. Slothrust completely rejuvenated my interest in grunge music, it’s hard not to get excited about a band that kicks so much butt.
Ben’s Take Five
MISUN – “ALL FOR LEYNA”
A couple of weeks ago, I featured Washington, D.C., electro-pop-rock band Misun (article here). Shortly after the article was released, the band, in typical fashion, released a new single. This time, they cover Billy Joel’s “All for Leyna”, but adding their own touches, turning this classic pop song into an electronic-dance number. Misun will be at SXSW next week, playing five shows at the festival. Catch this rising band if you can.
ANGEL OLSEN – “WINDOWS”
On her third album, Burn Your Fire for No Witness, Angel Olsen has put together a wonderful array of indie folk and rock songs. As Rich described in his preview of her album back in January, Olsen’s first two singles, “Hi-Five” and “Forgiven/Forgotten” were surprisingly more rock-oriented, a departure from her previous efforts. But on the album’s stellar closer, “Windows”, Olsen writes a haunting indie-folk tune, one that is stirring, reflective, and personal. As Olsen repeatedly sings, “What’s so wrong with the light”, one cannot help but to reflect about one’s own personal struggles, the struggles of others, and one’s own mortality.
ST. VINCENT – “HUEY NEWTON”
Annie Clark – a.k.a. St. Vincent and arguably the most creative and innovative songwriter around – is once again dropping jaws with her fourth full-length, the self-titled St. Vincent. As my colleague Megan Landry perfectly wrote in her preview of St. Vincent’s album, “Annie’s stellar vocals accent her eccentric melodies by stringing some of the most beautiful stimulating chord progressions to construct her musical masterpieces.”
Her latest album is part sociological analysis, part anthropological study, part mystical creation, and purely awesome. “Huey Newton”, the fourth track on the album, perfectly exemplifies all these elements. Starting off as a melodic tune that slowly builds into an angry, contemptuous song, Clark creates a world based on chaos and discord yet is also apt for today’s society – or as Clark describes as “the city of misfits”.
EPHRATA – “FANNING THAT FLAME”
Several weeks ago, I featured Seattle’s indie pop-shoegazers, Ephrata, and I described their sound as “gorgeous, lo-fi, symphonic, synth-pop”. The band released new material this week, specifically a five-song EP of fun, dream-pop. There are moments on the EP where it seems one is listening to a choir singing shoegaze, dream-pop tunes with the gorgeous harmonies. “Fanning that Flame”, though, is quite orchestral, but instead is an upbeat pop tune that retains Ephrata’s trademark sound.
You can download the EP on their bandcamp site, and you can pay as you much as you wish or download for it free (I encourage you to support the band if you can). They, too, will be playing at SXSW next week. Hmmm… an Ephrata – Misun collaboration could be dreamy and electric.
AXXA/ABRAXAS – “ON THE RUN”
This week, the debut album of 23-year old Ben Asbury – a.k.a. Axxa/Abraxas – was released. In anticipation of this album, I stated that Asbury’s sound resembles the stellar indie-rock of notable artists like Kurt Vile and Ty Segall – which is raising the bar to high, high levels. Asbury doesn’t disappoint, and “On the Run” is a song that Vile and Segall would be proud to produce with its lo-fi, reverb approach, catchy guitar riffs, and an experience about chasing some real.
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