This is a great week for major label and indie releases! Here are my picks:
Sunny guitars, playful rhythms, and dreamy pop make up this joy of an album. The nostalgic clean riffs echo a simpler time, when music could simply be enjoyed for what it is without all the over-analyzing and deconstruction of today’s jaded listener/reviewer. Oshin glides along each of its thirteen tracks at a relatively even pace, picking up steam as it goes. The album is a highlight as a whole, but the album’s closing third contains the stand out tracks “Oshin (Subsume)” and “Doused”, a one-two punch that breaks the mood a little and helps bring the record home. DIIV have crafted a fine debut record, and it can be purchased here.
What is there left to say about The Flaming Lips? Titans of psychedelic laced folk influenced genre bending rock, they never seem to disappoint when it comes to a new set, and The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends is no exception. The big story for this former Record Store Day exclusive is its list of likely and somewhat unlikely collaborators. Names like Bon Iver, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes, Nick Cave, Jim James (My Morning Jacket) will get fans excited, and rightfully so. Those tracks are fantastic, but for the fans who revel in the Lips’ ability to mix things up and make the abnormal seem normal, check out “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” which features Erykah Badu, and the kickstarting beat thumping opening track “2012 (You Must Be Upgraded)” which boasts spirited performances by Biz Markie and Ke$ha. All in all, The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends is a fantastic sonic journey that will take you all over the map. Check it out here.
I happened upon this record when looking into today’s new releases, and I’m definitely happy I stumbled upon it. Echo Lake’s brand of breathy, ethereal shoegaze makes for a delightful record. The band combines the usual genre trappings with the reverbed 60’s throwback vocals akin to artists like Best Coast. Wild Peace is an apt title, as most of its tracks have a bright, relaxing tone. Every now and then the vibe is shaken up, as on the brash-in-a-good-way “Young Silence”. If you plan to chill out and tan on the beach or your friend’s backyard this summer, Wild Peace would be a great record to augment that mellow experience. Pick it up from Amazon and check out their other releases on bandcamp.
I have a lot of respect for Linkin Park. Despite constant pigeonholing by reviewers and fans alike, the band continues to push boundaries and reinvent themselves with each new record. Living Things finds the band channeling every influence they’ve picked up along the way and focusing them into one 37 minute powerhouse. Tracks like “Vitctimized” and “Burn It Down” may tread familiar territory, but thanks to the electric co-production of Mike Shinoda and Rick Rubin, they never feel forced or stale. People often mistake maturation in songwriting for ‘playing it safe”, and Living Things is anything but a safe record. See for yourself by checking it out on Amazon MP3.