June 6, 2011

Required Summer Listening II

In case you haven't figured it out, yet, AwkwardSound is a one-man-band operation. Unfortunately, there isn't enough time in the day or arms on my body to review every album I'd like to when they're initially released. Seeing as though summer officially starts in just a couple of weeks, with longer days allowing everyone to accomplish more, AwkwardSound would like to present you with -- much like it did last year -- a list of required summer listens. Whether you find yourself at the beach, escaping the heat indoors or just lounging around, these are the albums AwkwardSound wants to make sure you hear before year's end.

Cloud Nothings - Cloud Nothings

Cloud Nothings is the breakthrough album for the Cleveland bedroom project of Dylan Baldi, who has since turned Cloud Nothings into a quartet and kicked up the production quality a few notches for one of the year's best indie pop releases. Considering AwkwardSound has been pretty vocal about Cloud Nothings and their ability to create some of this year's best, spunkiest singles (some of which have already been supported by 2011's more visually-entertaining videos,) it's safe to say that the self-titled sophomore effort has a feel-good appeal that plays well for an endless summer.
Cloud Nothings - "Nothing's Wrong"

Colin Stetson - New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges

He's been a regular touring member of Arcade Fire and has also recorded alongside bands like The National, Yeasayer and TV on the Radio over his career, but bass saxophonist, Colin Stetson, steps out on his own in grand fashion with his bold and adventurously challenging sophomore effort, New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges. It's a distinctly unique exploration in experimental jazz-noise that features the likes of Laurie Anderson and My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden guesting on vocals and could very well go down as 2011's most fascinating left-field listens.
Colin Stetson - "Judges"

Disappears - Guider

Disappears showed a lot of promise on their 2010 debut, Lux, but the addition of Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley and his veteran drum skills have given them a heavier, more confident experimental edge on Guider. Where as Lux's strength relied on melody that fleeted in and out, thus making for an uneven listen, Disappears puts catchy repetition to good use by bridging it across the entirety of the album. The result is a more cohesive, fulfilling fete that lives up to Disappears' potential.
Disappears - "Superstition"

JEFF the Brotherhood - We Are the Champions

Nashville's JEFF the Brotherhood may not have been alive or old enough to experience either era in music, but they find themselves rocking out some sweet '70s classic rock riffs and '90s-era Weezer nerd jams on their sophomore effort, We Are the Champions. While neither era really sounds like the other, it's most interesting to hear how well Jake and Jamin Orrall glue them together -- especially considering that Rivers Cuomo has been attempting to do just that for the better half of the past decade to unsuccessful results.
JEFF the Brotherhood - "Stay Up Late"

Liturgy - Aesthethica

As one of 2011's loudest affairs, Aesthethica is the culminating moment of a creative direction that Brooklyn-based BUZZSound Liturgy have been heading toward since 2009's Renihilation. Disregarding labels altogether, Liturgy transcends boundaries of black metal with a chaotic, artsy noise rock approach that will likely piss off metal purists and enlighten even the most discriminating of music fans who may have never figured the two genres could be married in this particular unholy matrimony.
Liturgy - "Sun of Light"

Maria Minerva - Tallin at Dawn

Lo-fi pop collagist, Maria Minerva, was one of AwkwardSound's earliest BUZZSounds and her debut, Tallinn at Dawn, certainly lives up to that categorization. The album is everything you could ask for to soundtrack a hot day in the sun  thanks to hazy production masking over '80s neon synths and the Estonian singer's sexy foreign accent. It's seductive, mysterious, fun and an abstractly beautiful take on pop deconstructionalism in an era where the genre is starving for some originality.
Maria Minerva - "California Scheming"

Parts & Labor - Constant Future

For a band that has received much less attention than they are deserving of, Parts & Labor don't let that discourage them and Constant Future is testament to that. The fifth studio album from the NYC noise rock trio capitalizes on the bigger anthems and lusher soundscape they introduced on 2008's Receivers, and while ex-member Chris Weingarten jokingly accused his former bandmates of ripping off Hüsker Dü, it couldn't have been a better compliment to the direction they've taken on Constant Future.
Parts & Labor - "A Thousand Roads"

No comments:

Post a Comment