1. Julian Lynch, “Terra”
The title track off of Lynch’s new album is the most narcotized yet upbeat song I’ve heard in a long time. It is deceivingly simple, however, as Lynch is able to include a wide range of influence without making it seem lofty or inaccessible. His ethnomusicology background is apparent in the wide variety of instruments and textures included in this song. The soulful saxophone intro does not disappoint either.
2. Atlas Sound, “Stationary Blood”
This song comes from Bradford Cox’s second volume of bedroom tapes, which have no overall mood or style to them but are not weakened by eclecticism either. Simple melodies and effortless stream of consciousness lyrics are his bread and butter, and he does it best in these tapes. Cheery acoustic guitars make this a must listen for sunny Appleton afternoons. This volume, along with three others of home recordings, can be downloaded legally and freely from Cox’s blog.
3. Kurt Vile, “Baby’s Arms”
Vile has been able to make a completely new sounding album without changing any arrangements he has previously worked with. It still has dancing jangly guitar parts and mellow vocal performance, but feels new and unfamiliar. It also escapes the lo-fi nature of his earlier releases in favor of clarity and crisper studio sound for his oddball voice and lyricism. It is the first track on “Smoke Ring For My Halo” and will keep you listening to the rest of the album.
4. Cotton Jones, “Somehow To Keep It Going”
This is one of my favorite bands that hail from the rolling hills of west Maryland, who have been shifting the indie scene out of urban Baltimore to free and natural Appalachia. Michael Nau has been working almost consistently to make amazing music after the dissolution of Page France, his former band. This song is no exception. Entrancing and meditative guitar melodies, unabashed folk lyrics and spacey synth parts convey the sad, contemplative and loving emotions that Nau seems to write endlessly about.
5. Fleet Foxes, “Helplessness Blues”
For anyone who has waited nearly three years for this album, it is definitely a “listen for sore ears.” Robert Pecknold is back to writing chamberous, massive sounding music that showcases his haunting vocal style. Although the album shows significant development in the band’s sound, it seems to have all the trappings of the older self-titled release. If anything it is worth listening to this song just to hear the breakdown at 2:48.