Thursday, September 22, 2011

Now Downloading: New Releases 09.20.11 - Megafaun, Richmond Fontaine, Jens Lekman

After last week's embarrassment of riches, it's only fitting that this week's crop of new releases is a little more sleepy in nature. Two releases in particular, Megafaun's eponymous third release and Richmond Fontaine's alt-country rock opera, bring imagery of a joint dangling off the lips of a bearded hayseed, with a country-ish pastoral setting. Other new releases of note this week come from Jens Lekman, a reunited The Jayhawks, The Jim Jones Revuew, Nurses, Ivy, Boots Electric, Clap Your Hnads Say Yeah, Thrice, Van Dyke Parks, Andrew Jackson Jihad, Evangelista and the Mick Jagger-led super group SuperHeavy. There's also the soundtrack to Pearl Jam Twenty and reissues of Sandy Denny, The Grateful Dead and Miles Davis.

Playlist: New Releases 09.20.11

Megafaun - Megafaun
Stream / Purchase [mp3]

Megafaun - Megafaun
With their eponymous third full length release, Megafaun shed some of the art-prog-space-folk that distinguished their first two albums, in favor of a more straight-ahead sleepy Grateful Dead sound. There's still plenty of weirdness to be had here -- this is Megafaun after all -- but relative to past recordings, the album's flow remains incredibly focused and, dare we say it, mature. Megafaun drags a bit in the lengthy second half, but there are plenty of great moments (including the stunning closer "Everything"), to carry water as far as they need to go.

Free AOL Album Stream
Free Download: "Those Words" [mp3]
Free Download: "State/Meant" [mp3]

Richmond Fontaine - The High Country
Stream / Purchase [mp3]

Richmond Fontaine - The High Country
With three novels now under his belt, singer/songwriter Willy Vlautin is quickly becoming a novelist who sings instead of vice versa. With The High County, the band's 10th long player, Vlautin blurs his professional life even more, writing a kind of alt-country soap opera acted out through the album's considerable 17 songs. The Damnations' Deborah Kelly guests throughout as the protagonists love interest, providing a comforting counterpoint to Vlautin's gruff delivery. It's a bold move for the band at this stage of their career, but Vlautin has been channeling Raymond Carver from the get-go, and it was only a matter of time before his written stories bled across an album instead of being housed song to song. With one of Vlautin's novels getting the film treatment -- The Motel Life starring Emile Hirsch, Stephen Dorff, Dakota Fanning and Kris Kristofferson (and even a small cameo from Vlautin himself) -- we should cherish every Richmond Fontaine release, because it just might be his moonlighting gig
is going to take over the day part as well, very soon.

More on the radar (and in the mp3 player) this week:
Jens Lekman - An Argument With Myself / Free AOL Album Stream / "An Argument With Myself" [mp3]
The Jayhawks - Mockingbird Time / Free AOL Album Stream
Boots Electric - Honkey Kong / Free AOL Album Stream / Free Album Stream on Facebook
The Jim Jones Revue - Burning Your House Down
Nurses - Believers / Free AOL Album Stream / "Fever Dreams" [mp3]
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Hysterical / Free AOL Album Stream / "Maracas" [mp3]
Pearl Jam - Pearl Jam Twenty Original Motion Picture Soundtrack EP
Tori Amos - Night of Hunters / Free AOL Album Stream
Evangelista - In Animal Tongue / "Artificial Lamb" [mp3]
SuperHeavy - SuperHeavy
Thrice - Major/Minor
Dangerous! - Teenage Rampage
Gavin DeGraw - Sweeter / Free AOL Album Stream
Lisa Hannigan - Passenger / "A Sail" [mp3]
Van Dyke Parks - Arrangements, Vol 1
Patton Oswalt - Finest Hour
Opeth - Heritage
Needtobreathe - The Reckoning
Veronica Falls - Veronica Falls / Free AOL Album Stream
Andrew Jackson Jihad - Knife Man / Free AOL Album Stream
Azita - Disturbing the Air / "September" [mp3]
CAVE - Neverendless / "Adam Roberts" [mp3]
Halloween, Alaska - All Night the Calls Came In / Free AOL Album Stream
Ivy - All Hours / Free AOL Album Stream

Sandy Denny - The North Star Grassman and The Ravens (Deluxe Edition)
The Grateful Dead - Europe '72 Vol. 2
Miles Davis - Live in Europe 1967 - The Bootleg Series Vol. 1

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