New Albums Out Today, New Ones Coming in July/August

Posted by Billy Gil, July 3, 2012 06:36pm | Post a Comment
Today saw the releases of new albums by Belle & Sebastian member Stevie Jackson, comedian Doug Benson and a 7” from Animal Collective, among others. Check out what’s out today and what’s coming down the pipe:
Stevie Jackson
Stevie Jackson – (I Can’t Get No) Stevie Jackson
(I Can’t Get No) Stevie Jackson makes a name for itself quite outside of Belle & Sebastian, coming off like the next in line of a lineage of singer-songwriters who exist on their own terms, from John Cale to Brian Eno to Elvis Costello. Far from just being twee, Jackson rocks out to a new wave beat on “Try Me,” singing “I got pills and I’m lookin’ for thrills/At the same time I want to start a family.” The distinctive, reverb-laden lead guitar he lends Belle & Sebastian is on songs like the lovely display on the Kinks-y “Richie.” And even at his most clearly indebted to Summer of Love-era rock, he creates a varied and thoroughly rewarding listen, notably on the swinging, Mamas & Papas-style “Where Do All the Good Girls Go?”

doug benson
Doug Benson – Smug Life
Huge pot fan and hilarious comedian Doug Benson releases two different versions of the same jokes on Smug Life, both performed on April 20 (4/20!) at the same club. It plays like a case study in how varied performances of the same material can yield such different results — in one case, you hear a comment yelled from the audience that gets incorporated into the joke in the later performance.


Animal Collective Honeycomb
Animal Collective – Honeycomb/Gotham (7")
I know you can’t wait for Centipede Hz, the band’s ninth album and follow-up to Merriweather Post Pavillion, which comes out Sept. 3. But in the meantime, Animal Collective offers this two-sided single of songs not found on the upcoming album. “Honeycomb” sounds like the moment you realize you’re high, with whirling noise and hyperextended vocals bouncing around like bored teens running around the mall. As is typical of Animal Collective singles, despite its on the surface weirdness, “Honeycomb” is a fairly typically arranged and quite good pop song — it just doesn’t actually sound like anything else. “Gotham” is a moodier piece featuring beautiful guitarwork and a plaintive lead vocal. It’s a nice reminder of how great Animal Collective can sound when stripped down, though they still make room for rumbling noise and bubbles through which to swim.


Check out all of the new releases out today here, and preorder some upcoming new releases:
July 10:
Twin Shadow Confess
Twin ShadowConfess
The second album from George Lewis Jr. is a more sophisticated affair than his excellent debut record, moving from bedroom pop to the outright new romantic swagger that previously was just implied by the music. His songs have lost none of their immaculate detail, though. “Golden Light” is immediately memorable for its big chorus, with Lewis at the peak of his Phil Collins/Peter Gabriel style of throaty, emotive vocals, but the verses are impeccably put together, too. First single “Five Seconds” has the same sort of “Boys of Summer” rush that Forget’s “Slow” had, but it’s no cheap retread — it sounds taken apart and put back together, as Lewis unleashes his pipes at unexpected moments, and the whole thing has such a wonderful hushed tension that it’s enthralling throughout. Confess shows Lewis can really go for it pop-wise while still engaging listeners with layered songs and well-considered production choices.

Dirty Projectors
Dirty Projectors
Swing Lo Magellan
Lots of people lose their poop over Dirty Projectors, and I have to say I’m only occasionally one of them. I loved the song they did with David Byrne on Dark Was the Night, for instance. But I’m compelled to keep checking them out because of how intricate their craft is, how mangled they allow their songs to get, how crazy the vocals leap and dive through them. Swing Lo Magellan is even more accessible than Bitte Orca, and for every band geek moment, there’s like a big badass guitar solo or gorgeous set of angelic harmonies to make the more experimental bits go down easier. I think they’ve really hit the right combination this time. Whether you’re a fan, not a fan or new to them entirely, I suggest checking out Swing Lo Magellan when it comes out next week. (Hear "Gun Has No Trigger")

Aesop Rock
Aesop Rock
First El-P comes back with the awesome Cancer 4 Cure and now Aesop Rock is back with his first album in five years, Skelethon. First single “Zero Dark Thirty” sees Rock rapping more head-scramblingly absurd rhymes, but they’re far from inscrutable, and their backdrop of blinking synths and tinny beats seems positioned to catch attention as he slowly rolls over the word “ri-god-dam-diculous” before launching into the song’s chant of “down from a huntable surplus to one.” I’m excited to hear the rest. Keep it coming with the early 2000s underground rappers!

More greatness from the Captured Tracks label (Diiv, Beach Fossils), which is on a real roll lately. The Stockholm band sounds like moment punk turned into new wave, with Richard Hell style vocals and synthesizer madness playing over it rather than as background sound. (Hear "Chasing My Mind")


July 17:
Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean
Channel Orange

The debut full-length album from the Odd Future member and follow-up to his acclaimed mixtape, Nostalgia, Ultra, includes the sumptuous hit “Thinkin Bout You.”

July 24:
Heavenly Beat
Heavenly Beat
Another Captured Tracks release, Heavenly Beat’s electronic-tinged twee is divine summer listening, reminiscent of Sarah Records bands and acts like The Wake and Ivy. (Hear "Faithless")


Purity Ring
Purity Ring
Cool, gothy electro from Canada. Definitely recommended for fans of Grimes or Twin Sister. (Hear "Belispeak")

July 31:
Blur 21: The CD Box Set/LP Box Set
In celebration of the Britpop band’s 21st anniversary, this 18-CD and 3-DVD set has all of the studio albums, more than five-and-a-half hours of unreleased material (65 previously unreleased tracks) and a hardbound book.

Aug. 7:
lianne le havas
Lianne La Havas
Is Your Love Big Enough?
From her name, you might think Lianne La Havas is already an attempt for some label people to mimic the success of Lana del Rey, but far from it. Her sultry rock-sould actually reminds me a bit of a more modern Sade, sexy but still kind of heavy. I’ve probably Shazammed her first single “Forget” like three times. I keep “forgetting” what it is.

antony and the johnsons
Antony & the Johnsons
Cut the World
A new album from Anthony & the Johnsons! What more do I need to say?


Aug. 21:
Mature Themes
Ariel Pink
Mature Themes
No longer with the Haunted Graffiti and covering the sorts of obscure ’70s soul song he used to mine from (“Baby”), Mature Themes could be Ariel Pink’s big entry into the spotlight. I’m sure I’m not the only one dying of curiosity as to what the hell this is going to sound like!


Fragrant World
I’m maybe part of a small but vocal minority that preferred Yeasayer’s last album, Odd Blood, to its first, All Hour Cymbals, so I’m definitely excited for this third album. They’ve been so good live the past couple of times, this could be their best yet.

Bloc Party Four
Bloc Party
After his solo album Boxer, Kele Okerke is back with a new Bloc Party album. It sounds pretty crazy and epic from this trailer.


Aug. 28:
Wild nothing
Wild Nothing
Wild Nothing’s Gemini aged remarkably well in my eyes, and the bits we’ve heard so far since then have been promising — their non-album single “Nowhere” was the best Go-Betweens song never written. Nocturne’s first single “Shadow” is somewhere between the dreamy electro-pop of Gemini and their more jangly recent tracks. So it will probably be great.


Relevant Tags

Yeasayer (8), Ariel Pink (33), Stevie Jackson (1), Antony & The Johnsons (10), Lianne La Havas (7), Blur (13), Purity Ring (7), Hevenly Beat (1), Frank Ocean (14), Holograms (8), Aesop Rock (19), Twin Shadow (10), Dirty Projectors (5), Animal Collective (14), Doug Benson (4), Belle & Sebastian (12), Bloc Party (7), Wild Nothing (14)