The fourth album of this 11 member Portland indie-rock band is an album in 4 parts, exploring the loss of memory and the loss of self. On this album songwriter Kyle Morton attempts to answer the question "What are we without our memories?" Inspired by works like Flowers for Algernon and Fellini's "8 1/2" Morton charts the decline of memory from the perspective of someone who is losing their sense of who they are. While much of the albums is fictional, for anyone who knows someone suffering from Dimensia or Alzheimer's these lyrics are all too real. In exploring an abstract concept Morton makes powerful insights about a very real human problem. He also draws some inspiration from the current political climate, examining the larger scale loss of "cultural memory" that we are currently living out, in which we fail to learn from history and are doomed to repeat it. Sometimes this album seems like it is just a singer/songwriter project with pared down, orchestrated folk like Sufjan Stevens or Jordan Klassen. However, the rest of the band makes their presence known, with grand instrumental bursts that leave the listener engaged and astounded.
Members of Seattle bands BOAT and Math & Physics Club come together to form Unlikely Friends. Their sophomore albums is made up of bright, bouncy rock songs. These songs are super flashy they're short, sweet, simple, and insanely catchy. I'd put this band in a league with the like of Guided By Voices and Elf Power, with witty lyrics surrounded by fuzzed out guitars. Just when you think you have this album figured out, the guys will throw you for a loop and take an interesting turn.
Suck The Blood From My Wound
This song is the album opener for Transangelic Exodus, Ezra Fruman's concept album where he's in love with an angel in a world where being an angel is illegal. Their love is a crime so they're on the run from an oppressive government, which is an all too real struggle for so many people. This punk anthem establishes the premise of the rebellious young lovers on the run from an oppressive system as Ezra sings, "I know they hurt you band and they hurt me too, but I'm not about to sit here and watch as they suck the blood from my wound."
Superchunk feat. Waxahatchee & Stephin Merritt
On the latest single from the band's upcoming eleventh album Mac Macaughan enlists Katie Crutchfield a.k.a. Waxahatchee and The Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt for some hard rocking power pop about letting go of the past. Mac delivers some insanely catchy melodies, Katie lends some killer harmonies, and Merritt brings the beritone, over epic, screeching guitars.
Last year Melina Duterte delivered the fantastic Everybody Works as Jay Som. The band's performance was one of my favorites at Mopop this year. She delivers this breezy, bouncy outtake from Everybody Works, with some smooth and spiky guitar tones and Melina's low key vocals that slide into a sweet falsetto. While this song would've been a welcome addition to the last album, this song is solid on it's own.
Listen on Bandcamp
Greta Kline is back with the first single from Frankie Cosmos' sophomore album, and this song promises that there will be no sophomore slump. Greta begins the song, singly meekly over bare, intimate guitar, before building to a big rock chorus. This songs takes the dreamy indie-rock sound of their first album and adds a bit of a rock edge.
Vessel is out March 30th on SubPop
Karen O feat. Michael Kiwanuka
Yo! My Saint
Last year the Kenzo perfume company announced their new fragrance with a short film directed by Spike Jonze set to music by Sam Spiegel, Jonze's brother, and Assassin. This time Kenzo elists Yeah Yeah Yeah's mastermind Karen O, and English singer/songwriter Michael Kiwanuka, who you may know from his amazing 2016 album Love & Hate and his song "Cold Little Heart" which is the Big Little Lies theme song. Michael and Karen trade off haunting vocal performances in a song that has a few interesting phases that are made even more powerful when watching the film.