New Music Monday: Alabama Shakes, Built to Spill, Squarepusher, and More!

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Happy Monday music maniacs! LIke new stuff? Great! You’ve come to the right place. Each week all sorts of audiolicious goodies are unleashed onto the masses and this is where they come to be judged. I’ll tell ya what’s good, what’s bad, and what’s a waste of your time. Thanks for stopping by!

The Big News!
So I was off last week and even though I had a blast doing this and this and this and this, I was a little bummed that I wasn’t able to share the new Alabama Shakes record, Sound & Color with y’all. But lo and behold the release date changed and voila, here it is! If you aren’t familiar, this Athens, Alabama based rocking soul quartet conquered the world a few years ago with their debut Boys and Girls, winning all sorts of awards and soundtracking everyone’s summer with the now classic track “Hold On”. This new record is one of the most anticipated releases of the year. Contact Music praised the record: “It’s a far more grown up record than Boys & Girls, which was exuberant, happy and eager to please. Sound & Color’s more challenging approach, with a broader musical scope makes it ultimately more rewarding.” I’m excited!

Forever and a Day
Can you believe it’s been six years since the last Built to Spill record? What have the Boise based indie boys been up to? Apparently crafting “one of those thoroughly grim late-career albums an indie rock band tends to start making on impending middle age or in the thralls of mortality”, according to Norman Records. Untethered Moon is their eighth release and it’s getting some mixed reviews.

But if you think six years is a long time to wait for an indie rock record (aren’t Built to Spill on Warner Bros, how is that indie?), look at this new release from DEATH, the proto-punk, that bands’ first release since  1975. The story behind this band is amazing (read it here and watch the documentary A Band Called Death to find out more), and it’s impossible not to praise any new music from these pioneers. “Death’s music bleeds with bona fide righteousness, a certain sense of unity”, says Consequence of Sound. Can’t wait to hear it.

“Indie” Go Go
A new Passion Pit record (again, another “indie” artist on a major label) is a call for celebration, I suppose. Kindred is the bands’ third record and first since 2013. It’s supposed to be some sort of deep, heartfelt thing but this review in The Guardian sets the record straight: “[I]n spite of its earnest intentions, the music continues to bulldoze its way through sincerity; piles of chaotic, claustrophobic production and slick, synthy sophistication. There’s a heartbeat underneath the saccharine mania for sure, but [vocalist and songwriter Michael] Angelakos seems reluctant to let us hear it.” Yeesh!

Two Crazy Kids
The fourteenth Squarepusher release, Damogen Furies, finds the UK based electro-chaos-chameleon “at his most bombastic and intense, with enough bludgeoning beats and epic sonic seizures to take on the heaviest EDM upstarts of the world”, according to NPR.

Mr Rocky Votalato’s eighth record, Hospital Handshakes, drops this week. Featuring a full band, “pianos, distorted guitars”, and “mid-tempo indie rock” (according to Brooklyn Vegan), this should be a nice change of pace for the Seattle based singer-songwriter.

A few notable music related deaths this week. Bill Arhos, the founder of Austin City Limits died last week at the ago of 80.

Soul legend Percy Sledge passed away at the age of 74.

My Recommendation
The masters return! Word is the new self-titled effort from British post-punk legends Wire is another classic masterpiece. Bearded Gentlemen says: “The songs are so well written that anyone can get enjoyment out of them.” That’s quite the compliment.

Next Week
Tune in next week, same new music time, same new music channel, for new stuff from Blure, Zac Brown, and Josh Groban!

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