Father John Misty’s fearless second record builds on his folk-rock sound with orchestral touches, genre diversions and direct, conversational lyrics that cut through singer/songwriter clichÃ©s. The title track introduces Beatlesesque melodies and weeping steel guitar to prepare you for the scope of the record. J. Tillman starts going into crooner mode with the spectacular “Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins),” his crushed-velvet vocals singing over a sweeping, country-symphonic arrangement, but his lyrics nicely keep the romanticism from getting too gooey (“I wanna take you in the kitchen/Lift up your wedding dress someone was probably murdered in”). “True Affection” takes a sharp turn into MIDI-electro-dream-pop, with some Fleet Foxes-style harmonies keeping things grounded in Tillman’s wheelhouse. “The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apartment” takes another turn, this time into Velvets-third-album twinkling indie pop, while Tillman calls out an airheaded groupie (“She says like, literally, music is the air she breathes,” he sings hilariously). Tillman’s lyrics work so well because of their specificity—you feel like you’re watching him break hearts at a local bar when he sings “Why the long face? Blondie, I’m already taken,” over a sultry Southern sway on “Nothing Good Ever Happens At The Goddamn Thirsty Crow.” Such subject matter could read as self-serving, if not for the album’s more self-effacing tracks, like “The Ideal Husband,” in which Tillman admits various wrongdoings, petty or otherwise, over nervy rock ‘n’ roll; or “Bored in the USA,” a piano ballad that seems to mock Tillman’s own first-world problems of alienation and dullness (“Save me, white Jesus!” is an awesomely cutting exclamation). Tillman’s refusal to do anything in a typical way while still keeping the music highly polished helps I Love You, Honeybear to never feel indulgent. Rather, it’s an extraordinarily giving album, as Tillman’s honesty and strength as a songwriter and performer has grown immeasurably. It’s easily one of the best albums of the year thus far.
It’s the first big release date of the year, with tons of much-anticipated albums hitting shelves.
FIDLAR - FIDLAR
FIDLAR’s long-awaited debut album is a Pabst-soaked party record with strong songwriting anchoring its punk attitude. Pulling from hardcore, surf rock and pop-punk, and with the immediacy of The Clash’s first record, the foursome, made up of singer/guitarist Zac Carper, Brandon Schwartzel (bass), and brothers Elvis Kuehn (guitar) and Max Kuehn (drums), sing about being young and dumb and getting fucked up in songs with names like “Cheap Beer” (the chorus of which consists of the shouted lyrics “I DRINK CHEAP BEER SO WHAT FUCK YOU!”). But all the funny lyrics in the world wouldn’t mean a thing if the songs themselves didn’t captivate you, and they do, across FIDLAR’s 14 tracks. There’s nary a hint of cynical sneer, and though they play with sloppy punk abandon, their hooks are tight as a six-pack ring. FIDLAR sing about who they are and what they do, whether that’s waking, baking, skating in mechanical hedonism on the ferocious “Wake Bake Skate” or reflecting that said young hedonism can “kind of suck,” on the exhausted-sounding closing track. That’s a telling moment — for all of FIDLAR’s gleeful celebration, the record’s honed hooks are the sound of very hard work, and it pays off in spades.
This apple made a monumental leap from the tree in that it was many years in the making. It seemed that Kyle Field, the man behind the Little Wings mystique, had gone on hiatus only to return on his own terms with this juicy bramble of soft melodies, surf-salted served with a side of Lil Wayne-influenced folk-rock jammage. Field spins wooly yarns that sound like a conversation gone unspoken in the moment regaining shape in memory, voiced to oneself longingly. It's introspective almost to a fault, but the overall sound and vibe offers enough volume and warming to light even the darkest reaches of your keep and stay the ghosts of Black Grass' pasts at bay. Without a doubt the best new record and best instore performance of the year.
Mrs. Jones Cookies
Four Tet & Mala
Nothing To See
First up is the glitchy, sparkling electronica of "NOTHING TO SEE" by FOUR TET, with a shuffling post-garage vibe to it. On the flip is "DON'T LET ME GO" by MALA, a thick stew of discordant beats and propulsive melodies. As the label says, "Future Bass!" Limited edition and available now!
Listen to "Nothing To See" here:
Keep It Cheap
Keep It Cheap
Eric 'Dr. Dunks' Duncan (COMBI / Still Going / Rub 'n' Tug etc) launches his new Keep It Cheap imprint, the winner here being the Dolly Parton edit that Harvey’s been caning for a while now. Hot!
Conrad Schnitzler's Zug is one of the most important and one of the first electronic minimalist works that was published in the 1970s. Almost simultaneously with Kraftwerk's groundbreaking Autobahn, "Zug" appeared on the legendary The Red Cassette (1973). Wire wrote about Zug: "Kraftwerk might have used similar methods to create rhythm, but three decades on, it still sounds like the future." As an original member of Tangerine Dream (1969-1970) and a founding member of Kluster, Conrad Schnitzler is a creator of milestones in the history of electronic popular music. This release is rounded off with remixes by Con (1978) fan Stefan Betke aka Pole and Borngräber & Strüver. Pole and Kassian Troyer (Radian) have mastered the record, so the best quality is guaranteed.