As 2012 hits the halfway mark, I can’t help but think this has been an underwhelming year so far for new music. This by no means doesn’t mean “bad”, I just haven’t been grabbed as strongly as I have been the last two years of this blog’s existence.
That said, there has still been a good number of records I’ve been enjoying, and I felt it a good time to share some of these that you may or may not have heard. This is by no means comprehensive, nor is it in a specific order, but take a listen to some of these if you’ve not had the chance to.
Ren Harvieu – Through The Night – This is a delightful old-school sounding pop record with lush/big arrangements and a girl with a voice that just rips right through you. I was astonished when I first heard this record a few months ago and it’s gotten regular spinnage since that time. If you’ve read this blog at all in the past, you know I’m a sucker for English girl pop, and this is another new discovery that I am quite proud of. Sensually warm vocals and great songs go a long way with me and this girl’s got both.
Listen to Ren’s track “Tonight” here.
The Spyrals – The Spyrals – A band from San Francisco that wield a great psychedelic sound in the vein of some of my favorites like The Black Angels. Excellent guitar work, killer vocals, and a classic sound frame 9 tracks of just damn good rock and roll. This is another discovery that has been getting a lot of play out of me and I am eagerly anticipating getting to see these guys in person. I am a bit shocked they’re still under the radar at this point (the record came out in January), but hopefully in due time they’ll start getting a bit more props. This is a record that sounds timeless to me.
Listen to the entire album here.
The Walkmen – Heaven – The Walkmen are one of my favorite bands, so it’s no surprise that I’m really enjoying their newest LP, Heaven. It’s hard to really describe this record if you’re unfamiliar with the band’s music, but it perfectly fits the band’s already excellent catalogue. I am also eagerly anticipating hearing a lot of these tracks live, which is where this band truly excel. From the quaint strains of opener “We Can’t Be Beat”, straight through to the closer, this record stays with you after first listen and demands a return. A fitting follow up to 2010’s wonderful, Lisbon.
Rose Elinor Dougall – The Distractions EP – Oh Rose, how I love thee? Let me count the ways. Just by looking at this page you can tell that I am a big fan of Rose, who is a fantastic singer, and yes, another English girl. This is Rose’s first release since her excellent 2010 debut, Without Why, and although only 3 songs, it delivers. The reasoning given for this release is that her follow up album will be drastically different from this EP’s particular sound, and she “didn’t want the tracks to go to waste.” This is definitely a gift. All three tracks are scintillating and give Rose a perfect platform to blast off from. I have and could gush about Rose even more.
Listen to the EP in full here.
The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Aufheben – In recent times, I’ve been a bit wary about a Jonestown release. I’ve felt that Anton Newcombe has made some mistakes in album creation and his vision has been a bit hard to grasp. This is completely erased with this newest record, which may go down as one of the band’s best efforts. It’s quite obvious that Anton’s genius was missing the creativity brought to the group by Matt Hollywood, who returns for this effort. A smashing record from start to finish, this may be the most streamlined and most complete Jonestown effort to date. It’s a varied record that goes to a variety of different places and gives you something new with every listen. Love it.
Listen to “I Wanna Hold Your Other Hand” here.
That’s only five, but its a decent start. Some others that I’ve been digging include:
Here’s hoping the 2nd half delivers some more good stuff. This isn’t all I’ve dug on so far this year, but these are the ones getting the most out of my ears at this point. With new records from The Love Language and possibly Rose Elinor Dougall releasing her second full-length, I’m anticipating the summer and fall greatly.
Bring It On.