I am going on record to say that this might be the best January I have ever seen when it comes to new releases. We continue to get just absolutely bombarded with great album after great album and we’ve barely seemed to have scratch the surface of 2011! A sign of great music to come this year for sure. This week alone we’ve got new albums by Gang of Four, Iron & Wine, Wanda Jackson, Death, Cloud Nothings, Deerhoof, Fujiya & Miyagi, John Vanderslice, and a ton more.
From the moment we heard the new album by Destroyer we were hooked. From the airy production to the instrumentation(so much smooth saxophone and flute going on here), it completely took us by surprise and has held us captive ever since.
The influences here are all over the place. From Prefab Sprout to Syd Barrett. From Robert Wyatt to Steely Dan. From Roxy Music to just about the entire Windham Hill catalog. Daniel Bejar, the mastermind behind Destroyer, has managed to take a lifetime’s worth of listening and crammed it into a 50 minute album that might teach you more than that pop music class down at the community college.
This is a record though, that while it sounds like it is rooted deeply in the 80′s, is surprisingly modern. Whereas bands such as Washed Out, Small Black, and just about any “chillwave” band have tapped into that 80′s nostalgic sound, they haven’t gone the extra step that Daniel Bejar has here, which is to let the song speak for itself, rather than the sound. From the excellent opening track, “Chinatown”, to the storybook that is “Suicide Demo for Kara Walker”, to the self-proclaimed “ambient disco” closer, “Bay of Pigs”, Bejar takes no shortcuts in crafting these tunes. Each track is dressed to the nines in both the instrumentation and the tales that he weaves throughout them.
If there was an album I could say with absolute certainty that you needed in your collection this year, this would be it. Still eleven months away, Kaputt is already destined to be on the top of most year end lists for 2011. Absolutely essential.
Listen to “Chinatown” from Destroyer’s Kaputt
Caroline – Verdugo Hills (Temporary Residence)
Caroline released her first album five years ago and it seemed like she had disappeared into obscurity since then. Hiding away in the band Mice Parade for the past couple years, she returns with her long awaited follow-up, Verdugo Hills. Not much has changed in the 5 years as Caroline has delivered another excellent album of minimalist dream pop that even has some J-pop leanings. An great companion for the remainder of these brutal Winter months.
Listen to “Swimmer” from Caroline’s Verdugo Hills
My Disco – Little Joy (Temporary Residence)
Australia’s My Disco are somewhat an anomaly of a band. Little Joy, their third album and first one that is readily available stateside, is a post-punk album that almost achieves minimalism through sheer volume. Their sound owes as much to what’s being played as what’s not being played. It’s this theoretical “expansive minimalism” that has them sounding almost as if Glenn Branca joined Shellac. If that sounds like the best band ever(I really want to hear that now actually) then you owe it to yourself to check this album out.
Listen to “Rivers” from My Disco’s Little Joy