I can’t remember a release date that had so many amazing releases, which left us struggling over here to pick a record of the week. So instead of racking our brains, we decided to do something for just the second time- make two records of the week!
The Black Angels have been a store favorite ever since their first album Passover. Psychedelic rock + a girl drummer who can hit as hard as any guy + always killer album art makes for one of the best formulas a band could follow. The Black Angels have continued with that formula and have even found themselves paying homage to one of the best psychedelic rock bands, the 13th Floor Elevators, in the process.
The 13th Floor Elevators tribute can be found all over this album. From the first time that you hear frontman, Alex Maas, howl as if he is possessed by Roky Erickson himself on the beginning track, “Bad Vibrations”; the use of the electric jug on “Sunday Afternoon” is a very obvious reference point. “Telephone” brings the jangly riffs, the howl, the keyboard, into a culmination of Elevators celebration.
That is not to say there is nothing original about the album. On the contrary. Their dirge-y psychedelic jams are very much one of a kind. They continue to mature since their debut and have arguably put out their best record yet. Absolutely essential.
Listen to “Sunday Afternoon” from Black Angels’ Phosphene Dream
The second record of the week goes to a man who’s been blessed with that honor from us once before: the one and only Nick Cave. Whereas last time it was for the beautiful score he arranged with Warren Ellis for the film, The Road, this time it’s for something that has not a lick of beauty to it.
Nick Cave is back with his side project Grinderman, after having put out an excellent record back in 2007. It was a record that seemed like it might be a one-off. Even when we found out it wasn’t, we held reservation. Could they possibly top that first album?
The answer: In every way, shape, and form. This record is one of the grimiest, filthy, punk-infused blues albums we’ve heard in some time. It makes the White Stripes look like they should go back to playing with those Legos they used in that music video years ago. It’s that good.
Nick Cave has aged better than a fine wine. His lyrics just fall deeper and deeper into the realm of dirty old man while his growl has never felt livelier. This record won’t just share record of the week but will be on the shortlist for record of the year.
Listen to “Worm Tamer” from Grinderman’s Grinderman 2
Black Mountain – Wilderness Heart (Jagjaguwar)
Black Mountain’s 2008 album, In the Future, still finds it’s way onto the record player with great frequency. The follow-up, Wilderness Heart, begins with one of the best tracks of the year, “The Hair Song”. Taking cues from Zeppelin, Sabbath, and anything that’s rock ‘n’ roll, Black Mountain have turned in a very worthy follow-up to one of last decades best albums.
Listen to “The Hair Song” from Black Mountain’s Wilderness Heart
Dungen – Skit I Allt (Mexican Summer)
Our favorite psychedelic Swede’s are back with a new album, a follow-up to their phenomenal 2008 release, 4. Here they find themselves mellowing out even a bit more, venturing more into the jazzier side of what was hinted at on 4. Another great album from a band who continues to mature with every release.
Listen to “Marken Låg Stilla” from Dungen’s Skit I Allt
Mount Kimbie – Crooks & Lovers (Hotflush)
After a handful of absolutely killer 12″s, Mount Kimbie have finally unleashed their debut album, Crooks & Lovers upon us. What they’ve graced us with is eleven tracks of excellent dubstep. Now this isn’t nearly as grimey as anything Burial has done but it’s one of the most thoughtfully constructed albums this year. Recommended for fans of previous record of the weekers Bibio or Baths.
Listen to “Ode to Bear” from Mount Kimbie’s Crooks & Lovers
Walkmen – Lisbon (Fat Possum)
The Walkmen are back with another excellent album of drunken pub indie rock. Almost as if the Small Faces were to have started as a band in the early 2000′s. That might also be the worst description ever. Regardless, they won us back over with their last album after the misstep that was covering Harry Nilsson’s Pussy Cats and continue to win us back.
Listen to “Blue As Your Blood” from The Walkmen’s Lisbon