Grizzly Bear - Shields (B-Sides): B-side collections are far from MoM’s raison d'être, but our torrid love affair with Brooklyn chamber-pop masters Grizzly Bear knows no bounds. As the band prepared to record their follow-up to 2009’s Veckatimest, they situated themselves in the quiet West Texas town of Marfa and began to write. Ultimately, only two songs from these sessions (“Sleeping Ute” and “Yet Again”) made the final cut on last year’s Shields; a few more are collected here. Although more Grizzly Bear material is always lovely to hear, it’s hard to fault them for leaving this material on the cutting room floor. Many of these rough demos seem derivative of the band’s earlier work – the seasick sway of “Taken Down” recalls the second half of “Ready, Able, “ while “Smothering Green” takes on a lope similar to “All We Ask.” Many signature elements, like Daniel Rossen’s singular guitar playing and Chris Bear’s propulsive drumming, feel somewhat undercooked here. The two truly essential tracks are found side-by-side on the record’s back half. “Will Calls” evokes a sense of despair that feels appropriate for these troubled recording sessions, alternating a sparse, clattering verse with an explosive chorus section. The other highlight is Nicolas Jaar’s reworking of “Sleeping Ute,” a track I have been in love with since hearing it on a Record Store Day 12” this spring. After a mysterious opening featuring an effected Rossen vocal, the main guitar riff of “Ute” is now used to propel a slab of narcotic funk built for dance floors operating well below 120 BPM. It’s the rare remix that makes a unique musical statement while remaining faithful to the goals of the original piece. ZN
Recommended Tracks: "Sleeping Ute (Nicolas Jaar Remix)", "Will Calls","Listen and Wait"
Cut Copy - Free Your Mind: Dan Whitford and Co. decided to expose their inner hippie, which is explicit in the title’s command of their 4th LP. I might add that it’s a very peculiar hippie, one that likes to dance. Like really likes to dance. While Zonoscope seemed to incorporate more new wave influence, Free Your Mind maintains a similar essence only it’s a bit more psychedelic. It’s like if the energy of a club dance floor merged with the free spiritedness of festival grounds, accentuated with a bunch of really simple and sometimes cliché hooks with one deliberate aim in mind: make you feel good. The attempt to make you feel good I felt is a little forced, commoditized, but at the same time no one wants to turn down an easily accessible injection of serotonin; which in my opinion is the fundamental appeal of not only Free Your Mind, but most of Cut Copy’s material in general. That being said, the slight cosmic turn coupled with great production is a pretty solid platform for musical radness. Just imagine it’s the Summer of Love reincarnated in 2030; peace and love just took the form of lasers and neon, and instead of blues and folk its psychedelic synth-pop. JAMEZ
Recommended tracks: “Free Your Mind”, “Let Me Show You Love”, “We are Explorers”
RIYL: Toro Y Moi, Neon Indian
Blood Orange - Cupid Deluxe (# coming at you later today): Dev Hynes, brainchild behind the groovy R&B electro-soul that is Blood Orange, may just be one of the coolest musicians alive. Just ask NME, who voted him as such two years running. A writer, producer, highly gifted guitar player and composer, Hynes has worked with a number of artists ranging from The Arctic Monkeys to The Chemical Brothers to Sky Ferreira. His decision to create Blood Orange came after a temporary hiatus from his former punk outfit Test Icicles and solo project Lightspeed Champion. Cupid Delux, Hyne’s second album under the Blood Orange moniker, showcases 80’s type synth jams filled with gut-wrenching bass lines, smooth jazz ambiance as well as a host of vocalists who have mastered the art of the poignant falsetto. Yet one of Hyne’s greatest strengths may be his knack for choosing the most spot-on collaborators to work with. Cupid Deluxe features a host of talented guest appearances including Dirty Projector’s David Longstreth on ‘No Right Thing’ as well as Chairlift’s Caroline Polacheck on ‘Chamakay’. The album is filled with intense emotional imagery and a hypnotic intimacy that leaves you spellbound. With his release of Cupid Deluxe, Hynes has made a statement, fully capitalizing on his wide range of talents to create a sound that is both vintage and futuristic all at once. Albért
Recommended tracks: "Chamakay ", "You’re Not Good Enough", "No Right Thing"
Eraas – Initiation: Why the fuck had I never heard of Eraas? They put forward a dark and atmospheric take on alternative electronic with vocals reminiscent of Our Lord and Savior, Thom Yorke. Imagine Yorke singing, but with no accent, and with more echo, and some Horace Andy thrown into the mix. To make this album, the Brooklyn-based duo locked themselves in a spooky Massachusetts mansion just outside of Northampton. Their scenic environment during the recording eased an album speckled with vinyl statics, hip-hop and tribal beats, echoed vocals, and percussion reminiscent of Joey Waronker’s signature style behind Beck. Initiation is purely fascinating, ominous, morbid, and deep. It transcends routine and escorts you into the realm of weird! For me, the album has been on a continuous repeat. Can’t stop, won’t stop. How can I tear myself away from something that realizes a beautiful simplicity and draws influence from all of my favorite people? I’m seriously serious, you guys. You guys. Serious. Real talk here. Listen to this in the dark with some quality headphones. ARZ
The Growlers - Gilded Pleasures: The OC boys are back, serving up another steaming batch of gritty grooves for the gothic surfer in all of us. This is probably the kind of stuff Emma Peel gets down to when she’s not busy being a badass, the kind of stuff that would make old Steed cringe. I can’t believe I missed the Beach Goth Party, but I’m just glad the 60s are back in style. The Growlers are the more surfy side of one of the best current subgenres in rock. It’s a garage rock & roll revival that includes bands such as White Fence, Fortress Social Club, Mac D, and The Strange Boys – bringing together elements of surf rock, psychedelic rock, and mod rock. There might be a little more reverb involved than in the 60s, but the guitars are just as jangly and the beat is a swingin’ snap-to groove. Gilded Pleasures picks up right where Hung at Heart left off, in “a sketchy Tijuana pharmacy that has a little something for everybody”, but with a little more groove than grit this time. A strange sexual nature oozes out of this record, leaving us uneasy at first but willing in the end, kind of like a Mac Demarco in drag. Lots of talk about little girls and little boys, hence the uneasiness. SHILL
RIYL: The Strange Boys, Mac Demarco, The Strokes