Indie Music Monthly – June on the West Coast

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I started my prep for this entry early because I could not wait for some of these releases. (I also got wind of a leaked album on iTunes about a month early. A computer glitch became my bonus.) This month had some clear winners that I have been spinning since picking them up. Just like the Bright Eyes song from the title, summer is here and it’s time to fall in love. Even if it’s just with a good piece of music.

 

Cults – Cults [Released: Jun 7, 2011]

My first album of June and I was hooked. My love of the Cults started back in August when I picked up “Go Outside” as a free internet download. I then picked up the B side “Most Wanted” of their released 7 inch. The complete album just builds on what was previously released. With Madeline Follin sweet and powerful voice, it’s easy to want to hear this album on repeat. As track one, “Abducted” starts with a echo-like intro you will immediately be blown away as the song starts completely. You may even find yourself dancing to it (perhaps it’s just me). With a lo-fi base, the songs have a 60’s pop feel to it. In the vocals and in the composition. Lyrically, it’s not on a deep level but it doesn’t matter.  A lot of the tracks are just dreamy. In the fact that they feel sort of dream pop but with an old school quality to it. My current favorite track is “You know what I mean” and you will get the clear dream 60’s pop. I’m talking teased, Tracy Turnblad hair kind of feel. Rating: 8.5/10

Arctic Monkeys – Suck It And See [Released: Jun 7, 2011]

Upon my first listen of this album, I could not find a song to grab onto. So like I do, I force myself to listen and re-listen. After almost a month of re-spins, I cannot say I fully enjoy this album. The  track “Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair” is a good listen. Overall, it may be a good addition to your Arctic Monkeys discography and it’s decent music to fill the background. The band continues to rely heavily on their producers which is a bad thing. With the release of “Humbug” I thought perhaps with Josh Homme’s help it might be a more polished, equally entertaining follow-up to “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not”. More polished it was. Entertaining, it was not. The same goes for this release. What is missing is the messy, fast songs with awkward lyrics to make you want to run through some walls.  Don’t misjudge me. I don’t fear change, I embrace it if it’s worth the change. Not sure they are doing themselves justice by changing their musical style. They have to grow-up and I am getting used to it. I just miss those youthful tracks. That’s life I suppose. Rating: 6.5/10

Fucked Up – David Comes to Life [Released Jun 7, 2011]

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Timing is everything. Three days before this release, I stumbled upon this band performing at the Free Press Summer Fest. Loud and infectious, I stood up on the hill and watched the moshers and crowd surfers get crazy to this band. They had a great stage presence, joining in on the crowd surfing (and Damian Abraham is no lightweight). So after hearing the “The Other Shoe”, I figured I had to listen to this album. So as timing is what it is, I waited for it’s release and grabbed it. The fast paced punk sound is sprinkled with an angelic voice that has a great male/female balance to it. Hard and rough like boys are, and sweet and tender like girls can be. It’s noisy, but it has some melody that lends itself to a fun listen. The album is toted as a epic opera telling a story from the first song to the last. Love gained, lost and the troubles that come with that. The concept is clear. The hard vocals will move you. Try it out. Rating: 7.5/10

Wild Moccassins – Skin Collision Past (Deluxe Edition) [Released: Jun 21, 2011]

Although this album was originally released over a year ago, with the release of the deluxe edition (which includes 6 additional tracks compared to the 2010 release) I can review this album on it’s re-release date. I hate to say they are cute, but it’s how I always describe them to people. I first found them when they opened up for Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos 3 years ago. All I could say was cuteness. They really are. Thank goodness they are so much more. Seeing them play live again recently reignited my love for their sweet dream pop. “Late Night Television” has some great lyrics and a great beat. It’s happy quality makes you smile. Again, you’ve got alternating girl/boy vocals that bounce off each other in a soft-core pop kind of way. (pattern-much?) As you meander through the tracks, you’ll get the catchy vibe that it exudes. Bonus: They are from Houston, so there is usually a show you can catch around town. Rating: 8/10

Bon Iver – Bon Iver [Released Jun 21, 2011]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbJy1zeoDn4a

Since the accidental leak of this album late last month on iTunes (was only supposed to be the single, but it turned out to be the entire album), I have been enjoying the newest release from Bon Iver. Haunting. It’s a great description to Vernon’s writing style, music and most importantly, his voice.  This latest is no different. From the interweaving of melodies and guitar, it’s like warm molasses. All thick and sweet and mellow. Mellow is their thing and they do it very well. Standout track has still been “Towers” with some of the best lyrics such as “for the love, comes the burning young, from the liver, sweating through your tongue”. Perfection. As you listen, you get lost in the music more than trying to comprehend the meaning of the lyrics. While we waited for this album’s release, we got a teaser of his work on Kanye’s “Lost in the World” which I really enjoyed. Bon Iver is definitely topping “For Emma, Forever Ago” for me. It’s magical in it’s musical arrangement and vocal contribution. Put this on when you need to sleep, let it seep and chill. Rating: 8.5/10

Jill Scott – The Light of the Sun [Released Jun 21, 2011]

Is Jill Scott indie? No, probably not. Or perhaps she is in her own way. Either way, I saw her album on NPR’s first listen site and she’s always had a special place in my music database. She’s all woman and she expresses it in her music. This album is no different. It’s soulful and you can feel the love dripping from her tongue. You can also feel the hatred/desperation she has for her baby daddy on “Quick”. Versatile, she is. Her spoken word past is always present and it’s no different here. Her Philly fight is there too. The single above wasn’t my favorite of the album. It was pretty generic. I would recommend the track “All Cried Out Redux” Rating: 6/10