Monday, January 31, 2011

Cass McCombs- "County Line" (2011)

2011's first great single comes from alt-country crooner Cass McCombs. "County Line," from the singer-songwriter's upcoming LP Wit's End, due out on Domino in April, is a five and half minute blissful mix of organ and McCombs' delicate vocals. "County Line" reaffirms McCombs' masterfully minimalist approach to songwriting; the song's soft organ and simple drum beat calls to mind Beach House, Bill Callahan and Devendra Banhart, artists whose sparse compositions allow their vocals and lyrics become the main focus. McCombs' vocal performance on "County Line" is stunning, trading off between his signature nasally whine and a rich falsetto that blend perfectly with the song's chiming organ line and give the song a soulful movement. All in all, it's one of the most heartbreaking and beautiful songs I've heard in a while. I could not be more excited for Wit's End.

Cass McCombs - County Line by DominoRecordCo

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Panda Bear- Last Night At The Jetty (2010)

The third single in anticipation of Panda Bear's release of the Tomboy LP in 2011, "Last Night At The Jetty" could be the best. It begins with perhaps Lennox's heaviest beat yet and builds into a watery mix of violins and layered harmonies. With "Last Night At The Jetty," Lennox reminds us of the core elements that truly make his music so compelling: the beautiful vocal layering, the use of repetition and looping. And though he's ditched the crackling samples of Person Pitch for more organic beats and instrumentation, "Last Night At The Jetty" shows that Lennox's songwriting remains strong. Unfortunately, it's paired with the B-side "Drone," a forgettable track based on a Oneohtrix Point Never inspired blare of synths and electronics, making "Tomboy" and its companion "Slow Motion" probably a more likely candidate for Panda Bear's best single from 2010. But "Last Night At The Jetty" should only the heighten the excitement about Tomboy. Click the artwork to sample.

1. Last Night At The Jetty
2. Drone

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Best Albums of 2010


The War On Drugs- Future Weather

On Future Weather, The War On Drugs play a beautifully crafted mix of classic rock and shoegaze textures. Despite the absence of founding member Kurt Vile, frontman Adam Granduciel takes a command presence and establishes himself as singer-songwriter deserving the same praise as the greats he draws so much influence from. His Dylan inspired lyrics and voice work perfectly over the band’s frantic mix of folk, punk and shoegaze. Check out my feature on the album for more.


Sun Kil Moon- Admiral Fell Promises

On Admiral Fell Promises, Mark Kozelek, the man behind Sun Kil Moon and the late Red House Painters, sheds his band for an intimate album of classical guitar and vocals. Just listen to the intro to the first track, “Alesund,” and you’ll hear Kozelek delicately plucking away at his nylon strings in an almost flamenco style that he’s used rarely before. And though Sun Kil Moon’s earlier LPs were so interesting because of the way they could switch from acoustic folk ballads to droning, fuzzed out jams, the lack of stylistic variation does not detract from Admiral Fell Promises. This is still the same Kozelek, only stripped and unplugged. His lyrics are just as devastatingly personal as ever, his guitar playing just as top-notch, and his quavering voice still sounds on the verge of tears. Admiral Fell Promises wouldn’t be the first Sun Kil Moon album I’d recommend. Newcomers will undoubtedly grow tired of his extensive and simplistic songs. The album is really more rewarding for more intense fans like myself who have come to appreciate his beautiful narrative lyrics and preference for repetition.