Here are four mighty fine recent releases you can sink your stylus into. As usual, all the details and sample tracks are below.
Telekinesis – Ad Infinitum
When it came time to make Ad Infinitum, the fourth Telekinesis album, drummer/songwriter/principal architect Michael Lerner found himself in a predicament. In just under five years, he had released three fantastic records—Telekinesis! (2009), 12 Desperate Straight Lines (2011), and Dormarion (2013)—each more ambitious than the last. He had toured all over the world, shared stages with great bands, and enthralled fans of his infectious, ebullient power pop. Newly married and happily ensconced in the home studio he’d assembled in his West Seattle basement, Lerner found himself asking the question that has haunted modestly successful bands down the ages: What do you do after the rock and roll dreams you had when you were 19 have come true? “I went down to the basement,” Lerner recalls, “and started playing the same chords I always play… I just felt like I’d exhausted everything I knew. I was not excited at all. I just could not make another power-pop album.” While many artists have made fruitful use of vintage sounds and production techniques in recent years, Ad Infinitum is a different animal. It feels less like a time capsule and more like a time machine. In the movie version of the story, Lerner would stumble on his way down the stairs, hit his head, and wake up in 1983, and the only way he could get back to the present day would be to make a record using available instruments. Then he’d wake in 2015 to discover he’d been in his basement studio all along. And the record he’d made in that strange dream state would turn out to be Ad Infinitum, the most ambitious and assured Telekinesis release to date.
Magic Castles – Starflower
Available on Lilac opaque 180 gram vinyl limited to 1,000 units Magic Castles are a five-piece band from Minneapolis MN. Their sound has been described as droney psychedelic pop, combining the organ drenched hazy atmospherics of mid/late 60s with sun-drenched west coast folk-rock. Magic Castles toured with Brian Jonestown Massacre in 2012 and released a beautiful 12? split single with BJM on Record Store Day spring 2014.. Their 2014 sophomore release “Sky Sounds” (‘A’ Recordings) and successful west coast tours sees the rapidly improving band reaching new heights . They are now undertaking their first European Tour.
Grandchildren – Zuni
With their third album ZUNI, Grandchildren hone their distinctive ability to strike a poetic balance between the intimate and epic. Throughout the album, a joyful celebratory lightness is at battle with its lyrical darkness, washing over them like a baptism. The resulting feeling is an elixir of moods that can best be described as a kind of ”dark pop” – a poetic tug of war between beauty and darkness, inspiration and despair, where simple heartfelt song usher you through a landscape of complex rhythms and melodies.
Youth Lagoon – Savage Hills Ballroom
Youth Lagoon’s third album Savage Hills Ballroom is rooted in discomfort, rather than avoiding it. Influenced by society’s desire to exude a flawless existence, the album’s musical direction and visual aspects were conceived on Powers’ late-night walks through Idaho’s suburbs. “When I see rows and rows of seemingly ideal houses, I can’t help but think that humanity has an innate craving to look perfect. And usually the better someone’s life seems from the outside, the more they’re hiding,” states Powers. “I’ve had a lot of barriers for a long time that I haven’t let people past, and I’ve gotten really sick of playing pretend.”
Shortly after meeting co-producer Ali Chant through a series of webcam chats, Powers relocated to Bristol, UK for 2 months to record Savage Hills Ballroom at Toybox Studios — an underground recording space in a vaulted Georgian basement.
That’s all I got, how about you?