New This Week: Dr. Dog, Jesse Woods, Chvrches, Ultaísta and Mazzy Star

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Dr. Dog – B-Room: McMicken and Leaman (aka Taxi and Tables) can be considered two of the best song writers in indie rock today, if only for their seamless ability to enmesh a wide variety of genres. Any given Dr. Dog album can run the gamut from psychedelic rock to indie folk to baroque pop. These guys are true musicians, which is why they’ve traditionally had a difficult time translating their live sound into studio output. For their 8th studio album, Taxi and Table decided to just go ahead and build their own studio from scratch. The “B-Room” is located in an old silversmith’s mill, and B-Room is the result of the band more or less living at the mill for the past few months. The first track of the album immediately flaunts the unique effects of the homemade studio; it sounds as if someone at the end of the hall is banging on huge timpani, which echoes down to the rest of the band. The next track, “Broken Heart” is just all around a great song; it has everything - cool hooks, catchy lyrics, and soulful harmonies. After the first few songs the album takes a folky turn. Songs are reminiscent of The Band or even 1969-era Beatles. The ballad “Too Weak To Ramble” is good enough to draw tears if you let it. The instrumentation expands to include banjos, electronic organs, and even a fiddle. It’s no surprise that it all works out in the end, and we leave feeling as if we’ve just witnessed the songsmith’s at work in their mill. SHILL

RIYL: Grizzly Bear, The Band, The Beatles

Recommended Tracks: “The Truth”, “Broken Heart”, “Too Weak To Ramble”, “Love”

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Jesse Woods  Get Your Burdens LiftedThis is one of those rare occurrences when you’re sitting around the station, pop in a random album lying around to kill time, and find it’s the best thing you’ve heard in weeks.  Get Your Burdens Lifted is the second release from Austin native Jesse Woods and resembles a cross between Andrew Bird and My Morning Jacket. Woods combines twangy country melodies with a dreamy lo-fi folk atmosphere to create a unique sound dripping with pleasant nostalgia and foot stomping anthems. Woods is still somewhat under the radar but it’s only a matter of time before his ghostly harmonies and sprawling instrumentation find their way to a venue near you. ABOSEIF

Recommended tracks: “Cold Blood”, “Lazerburn”, “Danger in the Dancehall”, “Gold in the Air”


Chvrches – The Bones of What You BelieveIn their debut album, Chvrches (pronounced “Churches,” because they’re too cool for vowels) delve into the snappy and sharply astral facet of electronica. Their bubbly synths counter the fuzzy and heavy electro that’s been immensely prevalent in the dance music scene. The Scottish electro-pop trio gained international attention after posting the track “Lies” as a free download in 2012 through Neon Gold’s blog. Subsequently they’ve been signed by Glassnote Records and ranked highly by several “best new music” lists by creating a new voice in indie electro and delivering enormous talent. They follow the model of one of their main influences, Depeche Mode, by incorporating oppositional yet complimenting vocals throughout the album. I’ll be honest, at times the album slips into the realm of cutesy, reminding me of the emotional atmospheric poppy tracks underlying a John Hughes flick. I can see this being the ideal dance accompaniment after having knocked back a couple, or a few, or several. ARIELLA

RIYL: Purity Ring, London Grammar

Recommended Tracks “Lies”, “Tether”, “You Caught The Light


Ultraísta  RemixesI first heard of this release when I spoke with Nigel Godrich and Laura Bettinson this spring (yes, I'll be referencing this interview to my grandkids). They were very excited about the talent they'd managed to reel in for this thing, and the final roster does not disappoint - names like Four Tet, Prefuse 73, Matthew Herbert, and even David Lynch show up to apply their trademark sonics to tracks from Ultraista's self-titled, released earlier this year. As with any remix collection, the final result is a mixed bag, with some serious disappointments coming from head-turning names; for example, Zero 7's reworking of "Our Song" amps up the chillout factor to unbearable levels, with hardly enough sonic development to justify its 6:42 runtime. Fortunately, there's enough quality material here to consider the project a success. Dig the way Lynch turns Bettinson into a harbinger of doom by swarming her with paranoid guitar buzz, or how Zammuto strips "Easier" of Godrich's smeared synths and puts the spotlight on Bettinson's fragile vocal. And of course there's the always-brilliant Four Tet, who delivers a clicky-clacky stomper that would've fit right in on PinkZN

 Recommended Tracks: "Smalltalk (Four Tet Remix)", "Easier (Zammuto Remix)", "Static Light (Matthew Herbert Remix)"

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Mazzy Star  Seasons of Your Day: If you loved their work in the nineties, you will love the first record in over 17 years. Rather than carrying the vibe of a record reluctantly conceived due to monetary benefit, the latest installment in Mazzy Star’s catalog feels like the first episode of a new season after a summer hiatus (that happened to last 17 summers, *ahem*). Hope Sandoval’s beloved crooning is as ghastly and stunning as ever, but this time her sultry vibrato is brought on not by fear, but confidence. Let’s not beat around the bush: this is no longer a band of kids by any account. While earlier songs depicted a naive and wide-eyed view of romance and coming of age in Santa Monica, Sandoval’s lyrics now reflect a woman who has grown and lost. As per usual, she is accompanied by musical “other half”, David Roback. I do not just say that as a term of endearment: there is seldom a noticeable division in timbre and tone between the two. With the implied simplicity of a single player handling both parts, they blend and dissipate into reverberating ambiguity. Whereas Sandoval has honed her new voice as an adult, Roback’s guitar playing has become one of the finest and most expressive acoustic sounds on a pop record in recent memory. With loose lead guitars chiming in like the future ghost of Keith Richards doing a guest solo (see: “I’ve Gotta Stop”), there is a definite tie to the vintage sound of Laurel Canyon and a scene long forgotten by much of LA. A tasteful amount of reverb washes over many tracks on this record, dancing into the ethereal but never to the point of cliché. This is the record Best Coast WISH they could make As with My Bloody Valentine’s return to record on “M B V”, Mazzy Star felt compelled to branch out and challenge norms with strange chord progressions and structures that intermittently become very present in the the song’s focus. Jangling tambourines, slide guitars, hand bells, and relaxed drums join in on occasion in order to expand Mazzy’s sound past “singer-songwriter” status. A wonderful record to put on at the end of the day, this disc has already become a mainstay for me in the canon of all things mellow and beautiful in modern music. Somewhat psychedelic, a bit of the Nashville sound, and entirely fulfilling. This CD could fit well on ANY dj’s show (I dare you!). NICK

Recommended tracks: “In the Kingdom”, “I’ve Gotta Stop”, “California

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