One of my favorite bands of the past few years makes their “breakthrough” record, moving the vocals to the forefront, dialing back some of the dairy farm’s worth of milky reverb and cutting some of the more atmospheric pieces in favor of straight dream pop, though newcomers to the band may still feel plenty disoriented. This is dream pop in the truest sense, moving in unexpected and imaginatibe directions, with only the minimally required regard to typical pop song structure. On songs like “Byebye, Big Ocean (The End)” and “In Love With the Useless (The Timeless Geometry in the Tradition of Passing),” ASDIG mastermind Ben Daniels builds towers of seafoam guitars and Annie Fredrickson and Jen Goma’s strung-together vocals, ebbing and flowing and wafting into the background before surrounding and overwhelming you once again. It’s a wonderful experience getting lost in the album’s twists and turns—you come away half-remembering melodies and bits of guitar like some amazing dream you can’t describe, though this time the songs themselves are more concrete, easing new listeners’ entry into the band’s strange soundworld. It’s their strongest album yet, and surely one of the year’s best.
White Fence – “Like That”
It can be a drag when artists who’ve previously recorded in lo-fi trade for something cleaner. But while the first song from Tim Presley’s fifth album as White Fence, For the Recently Found Innocent, was recorded in a studio and not the bedroom and features live drums, “Like That” isn’t some self-important statement or anything. It just better reveals the tunefulness that has always been prevalent in White Fence’s sprawling releases in a British Invasion-style subtle rocker. Ty Segall’s behind the boards this time—the last time these two got together to record, we got the collaborative album Hair, so we’re expecting great things this time around, too. For the Recently Found Innocent is due July 22 on Drag City.
Wand - "Flying Golem"
Speaking of Ty Segall, the band he's touring with is pretty sick. They're L.A.-based Wand, and "Flying Golem" sounds like it's named after a Castlevania monster and rocks with a big, confident three-chord stomp. Ganglion Reef is due Aug. 26 on Segall's label, God?
Jack White, he of many a blues-rock band, broke records this week when it was announced his second solo album, Lazaretto, sold 40,000 copies in its first week—on vinyl alone. That’s the biggest week ever for a single vinyl album since Soundcan began recording vinyl sales in 1991, according to Rollingstone. (Lazaretto also sold 41,000 CDs and nearly 57,000 downloads in its first week.)
To celebrate that achievement, both for White and for vinyl as a medium, which White has publically championed, we’re counting down the best albums written or co-written by Jack White. We’re leaving off those he produced, since there are so damn many of them, as well as Loretta Lynn’s excellent Van Lear Rose, which White produced and played on but only co-wrote one song of, and live releases. Let us know if you agree!
The first album made by White and his friends in The Greenhornes and Brendan Benson is a blast, albeit a green one, sounding like a record quickly made by friends that nonetheless had some gems, including the catchy “Steady As She Goes.”
On June 30 The GRAMMY Museum’s Drop program will feature John Fullbright at 8 p.m., with a discussion and live performance with the artist. Amoeba is proud to sponsor the event. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here.
At the young age of 26, Americana singer/songwriter Fullbright has already received a heap of praise since releasing his first albums, 2009’s Live at the Blue Door and 2012’s From the Ground Up (CD or LP). The Los Angeles Times called From the Ground Up “preternaturally self-assured,” and NPR has dubbed him one of their “10 Artists You Should Have Known.” Featuring Fullbright’s twangy vocals, soulful lyrics and roots-inspired guitar and piano work, From the Ground Up went on to be nominated for a Best Americana Album Grammy.
As part of The Grammy Museum’s Americana Music Series, the museum hosts Fullbright to celebrate the release of his most recent album, Songs, which is out now. Join The Grammy Museum for a discussion with Fullbright, followed by a performance at the museum’s Clive Davis Theater.
The annual Wine & Jazz Summer Concert Series, presented by KJAZZ 88.1, kicks off July 1, giving jazz fans something fun and free to do every Tuesday in July from 7 to 9 p.m.
On July 1 the series will host Latin American percussionist Pete Escovedo. The jazz great has a celebrated solo career, having released solo albums since the late 1970s and having played with groups such as Santana.
The event will also feature wines by Stella Rosa and food by Wolfgang Puck Catering. (There's a nominal charge for wine; proceeds go toward Project Angel Food, a non-profit that provides food to the seriously ill.) It takes place in the Central Courtyard (2nd Level) of Hollywood & Highland.
Next, on July 8, the series will host Brian Auger's Oblivion Express. Jazz and rock keyboardist Auger has been releasing albums solo and in collaboration since the 1960s, having played with the likes of Rod Stewart, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin.