Happy Friday, everybody. Please enjoy today's Friday playlist, which is made up of songs from (mostly) new (or at least somewhat recent) releases.
- Yeasayer - "Ambling Alp"
Yeasayer has really embraced their inner Animal Collective on their new album (and on some songs, their inner Justin Timberlake). The result is a much more light-hearted album than their last outing, full of happy dance numbers like this one.
- Freelance Whales - "The Great Estates"
Another album recommendation from my brother. This is a quiet, pretty album full of quiet, pretty songs. The instrumentation (hello, banjo!) calls to mind Sufjan Stevens for me, and the vocals remind me of Postal Service, but their overall sound isn't really like either of them. If you like this, check out the Lounge Act they did on WOXY recently.
- Stardeath And White Dwarfs - "New Heat"
You can definitely hear the musical family resemblance between this band's lead singer Dennis Coyne and his more famous uncle Wayne, but don't write these guys off as a case of musical nepotism. Sure, they probably wouldn't be opening for the Flaming Lips otherwise, but they still put out a really weird, enjoyable psychedelic album that's worth several listens.
- Rifle Recoil - "Lonely Sailor"
Another brother-based recommendation, this one-man band originally from Arlington, VA (though he seems to have relocated to Brooklyn, NY) records songs based on simple musical loops, beatboxing, falsetto vocals, and a playful lyrical sensibility. As an aspiring one-man band myself, this album reminded me that you can do a lot with a few simple parts.
- Massive Attack - "Pray For Rain"
I've never really gotten into Massive Attack before, and their new EP is no exception. However, this song is a real standout, featuring vocals from TV On The Radio's Tunde Adebimpe. A nice slow burn of a song.
- Songs - "Farmacy"
With their Google-proof name and spared-every-expense web site, Songs is apparently relying on talent alone to get some name recognition. Fortunately, they've got talent, even if they never stretch much beyond their comfort zone of Modern Lovers-style 3-chord ditties with half-spoken, half-sung vocals.
- The Very Best - "Warm Heart Of Africa"
On their new album, The Very Best rely less on samples and covers and more on original material than they did on their 2008 mixtape, and the result is pretty great. Pitchfork calls it a "global-pop" album, but don't let that scare you off, it's really just an album of great music pulling from different styles than what your typical indie-rock band is ripping off. This song, a collaboration with Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig, is a definite stand-out.
- Beck - "Sisters Of Mercy"
I finally got around to listening to some of Beck's Record Club recordings, which he calls "an informal meeting of various musicians to record an album in a day." The musicians don't rehearse before hand nor work out arrangements, they just get in the studio and do an original take on the source material. One of the albums they tackled is Leonard Cohen's debut album, "Songs of Leonard Cohen." The results are a little hit or miss (as you might expect), but this one really nails the feel of the original while still sounding fresh. Contributors include MGMT, Devendra Banhart, and more, though I'm not entirely sure who's doing what.
- Ghostland Observatory - "Freehart Lover"
I forget who told me about this band, but if you've ever wondered what Daft Punk might sound like with a Chris Cornell sound-alike singing lead vocals, here's your chance to find out. Nothing really new going on here, but it's a good listen if you need a late afternoon pick-me-up.
- Vampire Weekend - "White Sky"
The band everyone loves to hate is back with a new album, and it's actually really good. If you hated them before, this won't change your mind. If you liked them before, you'll like this. Pretty simple.