Tomorrow begins the first ever No Depression Music Festival, featuring a slew of alt-country/americana acts and a good chunk of this week's crop of new releases seems to be in a similar mode. New releases from Son Volt, Bowerbirds and the latest from Scott McCaughey's The Minus Five.
Playlist: New Releases 07.07.09
The Minus 5 - Killingsworth
Stream / Purchase [mp3]
At one point, during standout track "Ambulance Dancehall", Scott McCaughey delivers the line "Burn bright and leave a beautiful tail," a phrase that's as far from the Kevin Bacon of the Northwest music scene. McCaughey is akin to a sure and steady light that leaves an endearing shamble of a tail. This latest endeavor, like past releases, features Peter Buck but also members of The Decemberists backing him, and the result is a breezy and relaxed country rock affair, with McCaughey's dry wit intact. And it has a song ostensibly about Scott Walker ("Scott Walker's Fault,") so of course it's my pick for the week.
And if the album feels more laid back than usual for McCaughey, it might be that his other band, long-time Seattle faves Young Fresh Fellows, is releasing an album concurrently. With Robyn Hitchcock turning the knobs, YFF's first album in nearly eight years is their most focused. It's been far too long since I heard drummer Tad Hutichison's driving beat and Kurt Bloch's melodic leads, so even if I Think This Is occasionally falters, on the whole, it's a welcome sound to the ears.
Bowerbirds - Upper Air
Stream / Purchase [mp3]
From the beard-rock wing of the Americana sound comes Bowerbirds second album Upper Air. They spend a little less time navel-gazing this time, already putting it ahead of their fine enough debut (Hymns for a Dark Horse). It's both wild-eyed and backwoods, comfortable in moving from rustic folk to exhilerating orchestraton... could end up being my favorite acoustic-based album of this year.
Free AOL Album Stream
More on the radar (and in the mp3 player) this week:
Son Volt - American Central Dust / Free AOL Album Stream
Tiny Vipers - Life on Earth / Free AOL Album Stream
We Were Promised Jetpacks - These Four Walls / Free AOL Album Stream
Those Darlins - Those Darlins
The Pine Hill Haints - To Win or To Lose
LMFAO - Party Rock
Oneida - Rated O
Heavy - Sixteen
Uuvvwwz - Uuvvwwz / Free AOL Album Stream
The Jayhawks - Music from the North Country: The Jayhawks Anthology
The Rural Alberta Advantage - Hometowns / Free AOL Album Stream
Maxwell - Blacksummers'night / Free AOL Album Stream
Wonderlick - Topless At The Arco Arena / Free AOL Album Stream
Stellastarr - Civilized / Free AOL Album Stream
Kiss Kiss - The Meek Shall Inherit What's Left / Free AOL Album Stream
The Donnas - Greatest Hits / Free AOL Album Stream
tags: music, album review, minus 5, yff, bowerbirds, indie rock, new releases, rhapsody