New Music Review 5-13-14

Big week for highly anticipated new music releases this week! We check out The Black KeysTurn Blue, Guided By VoicesCool Planet, Conor OberstUpside Down Mountain, and SwansTo Be Kind.

The Black KeysTurn Blue (Nonesuch) – It’s great to hear these guys keep it fresh, by branching out with new sounds on this record, which has a more layered, psych-rock vibe throughout. From the thick, reverbed-out vocals, to melodic keyboard tracks, this is a different vibe for The Black Keys, but one that’s working for me.

Guided By VoicesCool Planet (Rockathon) – Uncle Bob Pollard is the most prolific songwriter ever, releasing an average of 4 to 5 records per year, between his solo efforts, side projects, and the beloved Guided By Voices. This is my favorite of the recent releases with Tobin Sprout and Mitch Mitchell of the classic early 90’s GBV line-up, with more accessible material than some of the esoteric releases where you have to hunt for the diamonds in the rough. No hunting required on this one – great songs galore!

Conor OberstUpside Down Mountain (Nonesuch) – Mr. Oberst is back with a solo record that doesn’t land too far away from his earlier releases with Bright Eyes, and that’s a good thing after his excursions into digital territory, and Americana with the Mystic River Band. If you like 2002’s Lifted… and 2004’s I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning, you will dig the flavors of these songs as well.

SwansTo Be Kind (Young God) – This classic experimental rock band returns, although without female vocalist Jarboe, with a deep slice of dark, psychedelic, moody song work, reminiscent of the No-Wave movement they were a key part of back in the early 80’s in New York. Non-genre specific, this is abstract art rock at it’s finest.


The Pains of Being Pure at HeartDays of Abandon (Yebo Music LLC)

Little DragonNabuma Rubberband (Loma Vista/Republic)

Brody DalleDiploid Love (Caroline)

DIOLive In London – Hammersmith Apollo 1993 (Eagle Rock Entertainment)

– Mark Reback for THE INDEPENDENT FM