It’s a good time of the year to be a music fan, especially if you like indie rock or consider yourself a hipster or if you are too cool to be a hipster. (I reluctantly accept the hipster label myself. It’s not like I make it out to as many concerts as my wife or our set of friends, but I do admit to being snobby about my musical tastes. And I have been known to don skinny jeans on occasion, so I guess I acknowledge the label.)
With a hectic schedule the last couple months between work and personal matters, I haven’t been able to make it out to as many shows or listen to as many new albums as I would like. But tides are turning and that is changing a bit on the personal front. There are lots of great shows on the horizon and the new release schedule has been chock full of things that are worth a listen.
Here are a few things that I am particularly interested in.
Now I’ll be upfront, I’m not a Wilco apologist that blindly loves every album that the band has released. I loved “Being There” and “Summerteeth.” “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” clearly signaled a transformative phase for the band, but I believe their albums beginning with and including the release of “A Ghost is Born” have been lackluster. I think the group misses the creative tension from that was there between Jeff Tweedy and Jay Bennett and in my opinion the material since then has been more art that rock.
But…I am intrigued by their new release “The Whole Love.” I’ve given it several listens (link to NPR) and I like what I’ve heard. It starts off shaky, that’s for sure. (A seven minute long electronic interlude to open things up – really?) Now while it doesn’t rock out but there are some really nice pop songs and an extended melancholy tune that ends the album in fine fashion.
The latest album from Deer Tick comes out in late October and it sounds like it’s the closest they’ve come to bringing their live shows to their studio work. Which is a great thing. Deer Tick’s live shows are rollicking and sometimes border on becoming a train wreck. (For evidence, just do a Google search for “Deervana.”) And for the ‘Mats fans out there it sounds like lead singer John McCauley is channeling his version of Paul Westerberg in the new tunes. In the meantime until the new album comes out in late October, you can download a song for free from their label Partisan Records.
If you haven’t seen Dawes perform in person, then you’ve missed out. They are extremely earnest, and if their new tour is anything like the performances that I’ve seen from them the last couple times then they are going to make crowds swoon.
To complement their latest tour, they’re sharing the bill with Blitzen Trapper. I’m not usually nuts about the bearded hippie-esque bands from the Pacific Northwest, but Blitzen Trapper’s latest album “American Goldwing” has caught me. (I’m a sucker for alt-country southern influenced rock. Lucero and Drive-By Truckers get frequent play on my iPod.)
The album sounds like it could have been plucked straight out of the late 1970s or come out of the soundtrack to the movie “Dazed and Confused.” I’m excited to see them play together in November; both of these groups at First Avenue’s main room have the potential to create a killer show.
(Photo courtesy of Shuttersmack Photography + Design.)