One of our favorite new bands of 2010-11, Baltimore indie rockers, Lower Dens, released their sophomore album, Nootropics, this week with a considerable build-up, especially among bloggers. Once you hear Nootropics a couple of times, you might find that it seems to get better and better, usually an indication of a great album. As a break-out band that is still building a following, it helps to have an a follow-up as good as the acclaimed debut, titled, Twin Hand Movement.
If you’ve never heard of Lower Dens before, their 2010 single, “Hospice Gates,” it has since become an indie nerd rock anthem. It’s off of the excellent debut, Twin Hand Movement, which ended up on many Top Albums of 2010 lists, including with our friends at the popular blog, Gorilla vs. Bear, where Lower Dens debut was ranked at No. 7 of their Top 10 Albums of 2010.
“Brains” – Lower Dens from Nootropics on Ribbon Music
Flashback Tracks: – Lower Dens from Twin Hand Movement
Barsuk Recording Artist Ramona Falls Drop Terrific Sophomore Album, Prophet
Ramona Falls is another band that we’ve been following for the past couple of years. So we were thrilled a couple of months ago to hear that they’d be releasing a new album via Barsuk Records. The album, titled Prophet, is the band’s sophomore LP. Right away, the first single, “Spore,” indicated there was reason to be optimistic of Ramona Falls latest album. “Spore” is a shifting, subdued indie rock track that sounds a bit like a cross between Radiohead and The Flaming Lips. It’s a fantastic composition of clever music, involving pedal-filtered guitar riffs, a hauntingly underlying bass, progressive, and intelligent, drum work, mystical synth injections.
Brian Jonestown Massacre Releases New Album, Aufheben
With two memorable, spectacular leads singles that kicked off this Vol. 1 of the best releases for the week of may 1st, it feels like the transition to the next spectacular single, “(David Bowie I Love You) Since I Was Six,” by The Brian Jonestown Massacre, fits perfectly. While the track is indeed featured on the band’s new album, Aufheben, the track itself was originally released on BJM’s 1996 album.
Just the title alone is alluring, but the song itself is classic – a strange, yet satisfying, mix of dreamy, melancholic and melodic sounds. It’s probably included on the new album as a way to show newer, younger BJM fans what they sound was 15 years ago. The concept that a six-year-old would be that plugged into rock music to have loved David Bowie at such a young age is compelling, whether it is auto-biographic or not. Bowie certainly has a treasure trove of classic, iconic rock songs that will be relevant as long as people are listening to music. When you also think about the fact that the Brian Jonestown Massacre itself is iconic enough to have been featured in a Simpsons episode, and are the subject of one of the most stunning rockumentaries ever, it’s always surprising to us that there are still a lot of music lovers have never heard of them.
If you’re already familiar with BJM, or not at all, this is a great album for your music collection. From start to finish, it’s consistently good and compelling. There are sitars and instrumentals, hooks and straight up rock songs. It’s amazing the range of different musical styles and sounds that BJM have successfully experimented with, and recorded, over the years, and they really focused on making the more you listen to their past albums, the more you can understand why they have had such a loyal following for so long. In fact, there’s a fairly well known rockumentary about the band’s history that is recommended viewing for rock fans. We also included another track, this one is newer – “Swallowtail.”
“(David Bowie I Love You) Since I Was Six” – The Brian Jonestown Massacre from
Double-shot: “Swallowtail” – The Brian Jonestown Massacre from
Sea of Bees Last LP; Spinto Band’s Sophomore Releases, Shy Pursuit
Sea of Bees released their breakup album this week, Orangefarben. The single, “Broke,” showcases the wonderful, cute and melodic vocals of female lead singer, Amber Padgett. Her vocals remind us of another well-known female vocalist and it’s bugging us so much that we can’t think of who it is because as soon as someone out there locks in on who we’re thinking of, it’s going to be one of those satisfying moments when you can rest your mind and say, “that’s right; that’s who we were thinking of.”
It’s special when a band you really dug years ago resurfaces with a new album and reminds you how much you liked the band and how cool it is that you can revisit their music, and hear their newest offering. One of those cases is the terrific, under-the-radar band, the Spinto Band, who’ve had a small but loyal following for almost five years, released their latest album, Shy Pursuit. The single below, “Take It” is spirited and catchy, we think a song that feels like celebration of spring and summer time.
“Take It” – Spinto Band from Shy Pursuit
Don’t miss Volume Two – There’s definitely more great singles from new albums by Mystery Jets, Twin Islands, Reptar, Ane Brun with First Aid Kit, The Mowgli, and more.