When you run a small staff like we do here at the store, when things get busy(gearing up for Record Store Day!), some things unfortunately get sacrificed. Well the unfortunate sacrifice this past month has been one of my favorite things, and that is writing Record of the Week. So, to make up for it, I am going to write about a couple albums that have had us going crazy over this past month!
Yuck – Yuck (Fat Possum)
When I first saw the album cover for the debut album by Yuck, I completely judged the book by it’s cover. Mark my word, that will end up being THE WORST ALBUM ART OF THE YEAR. It’s atrocious! Luckily, I gave it a chance as this is one of the best albums I have heard in a long time. Take equal parts Dinosaur Jr., Pavement, Sonic Youth, and maybe even some early Smashing Pumpkins and you are on the right track. There is a very distinct 90′s sound to it. A sound of teenage years and rebellion, although that might only apply to those born from the late 70′s to the early 80′s. Regardless, this album is one of the most essential albums this year.
Listen to “Get Away” from Yuck’s Yuck
Toro Y Moi – Underneath the Pine (Carpark)
We absolutely loved the first Toro Y Moi album. It rode the chillwave(pun!) to the height of popularity but on this second album, he’s taken a step back and brought in a layer of 60′s psychedelia, along with some rather choice funk bass lines to put together a much more organic sounding record. Beyond organic, this record is absolutely killer.
Listen to “New Beat” from Toro Y Moi’s Underneath the Pine
Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo (Matador)
Our favorite Philly weirdo is back with a new full length! Thing is, he is getting less and less weird but that certainly doesn’t effect how great his output has been or continues to be. Smoke Ring For My Halo finds Vile and his backing band the Violators, toning it down a bit and focusing more on the folk and pop side of things. You could almost consider this album a spiritual sequel to his God Is Saying This To You LP on Mexican Summer. With this record he’s written some of his best songs(see “Jesus Fever”, Peeping Tomboy”, “Runner Ups”) and continues to grow as a songwriter. Essential.
Listen to “Jesus Fever” from Kurt Vile’s Smoke Ring For My Halo
Obits – Moody, Standard, and Poor (Sub Pop)
First things first: Even though they didn’t put it in their album title, I took it upon myself to add the serial comma in the title. It’s just right.
The other thing that’s right is this album. Undoubtedly one of the best rock bands out there today, and they haven’t slowed down with their sophomore album. Sure, it might not be balls to the wall all the time but we’re completely fine with that. Songs like “You Gotta Lose” and “I Want Results” certainly sound like a continuation of the first album but tracks like “Shift Operator”, “No Fly List”, and “New August” show a band that continues to grow and get better. There is even a bit of Shadowy Men On a Shadowy Planet on the track “Spot the Pikey” and god does that get us excited.
Listen to “You Gotta Lose” from Obits’ Moody, Standard, and Poor
True Wid0w – As High as the Highest Heavens and From the Center to the Circumference of the Earth (Kemado)
Quite a few sophomore albums on this list, bucking the trend of the sophomore slumps. Not many people got to hear True Widow’s self titled debut, which is a shame because it was absolutely incredible. This three piece from Austin, TX play what could only be described as a crushingly heavy version of slowcore. If Codeine or Bedhead members got really into getting high and listening to doom metal, you might be on the right track. The dual male / female vocals add a whole lot to the mix and keep the album from ever going stale. One of the best albums this year, bar none. Absolutely essential.
Listen to “Skull Eyes” from True Widow’s As High as the Highest Heavens and From the Center to the Circumference of the Earth
Anna Calvi – Anna Calvi (Domino)
If you’ve been in the store in the last month, you’ve heard us playing Anna Calvi. We’ve listened to this album so much, I should be absolutely sick of it. Thing is, it’s seriously incredible and we cannot get enough of it. The combination of Anna’s insane guitar playing, incredible voice and the arrangements of all these tracks make for an album that sounds like Nick Cave scoring a David Lynch. This album actually would make for an excellent companion to the latest Grinderman now that we think about it…
Listen to “Desire” from Anna Calvi’s Anna Calvi