Mac DeMarco wrongly gets called “slacker rock.” At only 23 he’s releasing his third album, and it’s one of the best things we’ve heard all year. The title track is a swaying, gleefully glum blues track, its charming, singalong quality masking some quarterlife crisis (“Always feeling tired, smiling when required/write another year off and kindly resign,” suggesting some darkness behind DeMarco’s goofy grin). “Brother” features DeMarco sumptuously singing while milky guitars dance beneath the surface. It’s one of the loveliest tunes he’s ever produced. Songs like “Goodbye Weekend,” with its woozy, intoxicating guitar line and lovely jazz tones, speak to what a strong songwriter DeMarco has always been beneath it all. And while he’s all the better for ditching some of the affectations he sported on the still-great Rock and Roll Night Club in favor of a streamlined sound he’s dubbed “jizz jazz,” DeMarco can still pull some conceptually striking songs, like “Passing Out the Pieces,” which uses heavily effected harpsichord and booming synth-bass to create miraculous millennial psychedelia, pulling in some of the good ol’ Beatles/Kinks/Beach Boys influence he’s seemed to (probably smartly) avoid showing thus far in his career. Salad Days shows DeMarco to be a classical songwriter with the ability to turn an amiable, if not immediately memorable, voice and intricate yet mangled guitarwork into tunes that pull at you in unexpected, emotional ways. So he can’t be bothered to shower or cut his hair—we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Here are 12 great albums that are coming out soon. Better save your pennies!
Out March 18
Atlanta’s finest, scuzziest garage rock band is back with its seventh album. It’s co-produced by The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney. The video for “Boys in the Wood” has all kinds of homoerotic and drug-fueled forest mayhem.
Out March 18
The monthly showcase, which takes place in cities around the world, is curated by local luminaries. This month's show is presented in partnership with IAMSOUND.
The show is $3 with an RSVP here (Facebook doesn't count) and $12 without, at the door. There's no presale. The show is 21+ and doors are at 8 p.m.
Amoeba is curating the next L.A. Sound Select show in February. Check back at the Amoeblog to see details on that event soon!
The showcase aims to present emerging artists to the community in career-launching spots. All proceeds from the night go toward supporting the local artists who open the shows. Past artists in the series have included Diiv, Wavves, Yacht and local favorites like HOTT MT, Wildcat! Wildcat! and Incan Abraham.
#1 Chromatics - Kill For Love
(Italians Do It Better)
I have been waiting for this album for 6 years! I was a huge fan of their last album in 2007. Both Night Drive by Chromatics and Beat Box by Glass Candy made it into my top 50 that year. That was also the first year of the Amoeblog and my first top 50 for Amoeba. Glass Candy will have a new album out in 2013. But in 2012 we got a brilliant new album by Chromatics. These guys are from the beautiful town of Portland. They have been around for about a decade. But really became a different kind of band back in 2007. Another perfect album of dreamy electronic love songs. These songs are seriously breathtaking and they make it seem so easy. These guys can do no wrong and always manage to create exactly what I need from them.
Listen to "At Your Door" by Chromatics...
#2 DIIV - Oshin
The band formerly know as Dive is now called DIIV. This was another album that I was highly anticipating this year. Captured Tracks has done it again this year and released another group of amazing albums. They had two albums in my top ten last year and they have two more in my top ten this year. DIIV is Brooklyn based Zachary Cole Smith of the band Beach Fossils. I actually like this project more than Beach Fossils. DIIV is exactly what I have come to expect from this label. This is shoegaze and dreampop in the year 2012. It brings me right back to the early 90s. I never really wanted to leave that period of music. So I am happy to revisit if often.
The electric touches to Chelsea Wolfe’s doom-folk sound are nice window-dressing, but as Unknown Rooms shows, they’re not necessary — perhaps even a distraction — from conveying the gothic folk sound Wolfe built on her previous two albums. Stripped of nearly all else except acoustic guitar, exquisite violin and viola, and Wolfe’s arresting voice, Unknown Rooms is Wolfe’s strongest statement yet. In “The Way We Used To,” which Wolfe’s voice expresses the soulfulness always lurking in the shadows of her sound, harmonizing a simple vibrato vocal line to great effect as Wolfe’s voice gets higher (and more emotional) than she’s ever shown before. “Spinning Centers” takes a similar cue, using singsongy vocals in an ever-so-unsettling backdrop to create a beautiful kind of witchy music that suggests something ancient and beyond simple explanation. A song title like “Appalachia” would imply an exercise in Appalachian folk reverence, but in practice the song’s almost harsh, trudging nature makes it into a woodsy elegy. Her voice and delivery occasionally draw comparison to PJ Harvey, a tough comparison that could drag her down, but Wolfe ensures her music is distinctive enough that she’s considered more than merely a Harvey disciple. The distinctive quality of the incantations in “Boyfriend” and mandolin-esque vocals of “Our Work Was Good” alone make Wolfe sound like the leader of her own cult, one which will surely grow with the release of this excellent work. Chelsea Wolfe will be at Amoeba Hollywood Sunday Oct. 21 to perform at 5 p.m. Be there!