If you like your riffs played long and slow, then the new Jen Cloher album is for you. Quiet is never shouted down by loud. Lento is not swiftly overtaken by allegro. Instead, a good number of the songs simply get into a groove. Guitars taking a stroll. Nothing too fancy. And it’s all totally mesmerising. It’s almost enough to make you forget about the lyrics, but don’t make that mistake. They’re at once personal, “I start missing you, Days before you leave”, political, “I pay my fines, Taxes on time, But the feral right, Get to decide, If I can have a wife”, and very Australian, “We drained the dam, Now the kangaroos, Are drinking from the pool”. Plus, they’re often delivered in an slightly casual style that can come across as both mordant and droll, sometimes in the same line. There’s a guest appearance from Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett is a constant presence, some of the best songs being about their relationship. If indie rock with a twist of Patti Smith and The Triffids is your thing, the new Jen Cloher album is for you. Even if it isn’t, check it out.
Grizzly Bear have just put out a new album, Painted Ruins. It’s their first in five years. On first listen, it sounds as good as anything they’ve done before. To celebrate, here are the ten best Grizzly Bear songs prior to the new release. The only caveat was that there had to about a roughly equal number of Daniel Rossen and Ed Droste songs. Here’s what the algorithm returned.
While You Wait For The Others
On A Neck, On A Spit
Little Brother (Electric)
Alligator (Choir Version)
Burn The Louvre – We’ll Be Just Fine
O Hamilton (Ontario). Recently, we featured The Crowleys fine new song, ‘L.A. Sunset’. Now, it’s the turn of fellow Hamiltonians, Burn The Louvre. They’ve just released a new EP, We’ll Be Just Fine. Whereas The Crowleys were probably reading Sylvia Plath in the lunch break, Burn The Louvre were the ones setting fire to the bike sheds. We’ll Be Just Fine is a wonderfully raucous collection of earworms. The official music video for ‘Simpler Places’ presents them at their most respectable. At their most The La’s. But don’t be fooled. Burn The Louvre. It’s not just a band name. It’s an order. Go Hamilton.
Sometimes summer disrupts the routines that build up across the rest of the year. But then that’s the point. Here are three top-notch recent releases.
Japanese Breakfast – Soft Sounds from Another Planet
This album has been a constant companion. There’s more than a touch of Angel Olsen both in the sound and the sentiment. “I can’t get you off my mind, you can’t get yours off the hostess”. The opening track, ‘Diving Woman’, is utterly compelling, but there’s much more than that. Try ‘Boyish’ and ‘The Body Is a Blade’ for starters.
John Murry – A Short History of Decay
John Murry seems to have lived more than one life already. He catalogued at least one of them in his harrowing, but magnificent previous release, ‘The Graceless Age‘. Five years on, the memories are still raw and they’re present on his new release. But in between John Murry has upped sticks and made a new start in rural Ireland. ‘A Short History of Decay’ captures both the bad times and the recent turn for the better and all in the manner of a dark Americana.
An erudite songwriter with rollickingly good tunes, Robyn Hitchcock is a legend. From Virginia Woolf to The Ramones, all of human life is here. Or the quirky and interesting bits at least. There’s ‘Mad Shelley’s Letterbox’, ‘Detective Mindhorn’, and a host of other characters in between. And just when you think it can’t get any better, there’s always the sublime closer, ‘Time Coast’.