First off, my apologies for skipping the past two weeks. It’s been a crazy time for me, and there also wasn’t a full slate of releases worth talking about.
Two weeks ago saw a couple of big indie releases. Daft Punk appears to be taking over the hipster music crowd, but honestly I don’t see what the fuss is all about. Better suited to my tastes is the latest by The National, Trouble Will Find Me. Basically, if you liked any of the Brooklyn band’s preceding releases, you’ll also love this one. They’re not reinventing the wheel here, but they are easily the best at melancholy pop rock.
This week’s new music casts a bit bigger net. Easily the biggest news of the week is the return of Queens of the Stone Age. The band hasn’t released new material since 2007, primarily because leader Josh Homme was suffering from writer’s block. Thanks to the return of former bassist Nick Oliveri, Homme worked past his issues, and gathered not only the rest of the band, but special guests Mark Lanegan, Trent Rezor, Alex Turner, and Elton John to put together one of the band’s stronger sets of music.
Another band that is hard to pigeonhole is Portugal The Man, and their brand new album, Evil Friends, doesn’t help. Famed producer Danger Mouse somewhat tightens up the band’s penchant for experimentation. but this is still an album full of surprises.
If one didn’t know any better, Camera Obscura could easily be labelled as an American indie pop band, as each of their albums have strayed further away from their Scottish origins. Desire Lines, their latest, is an almost perfect approximation of 70’s AM pop. Fans of Neko Case may also want to check out her background vocals sprinkled throughout the album.
Finally, we have the biggest surprise of the week. One of the most influential rock guitarists of all time, Dave Davies of the Kinks, returns with I Will Be Me. Only his first album in six years, and his second since his almost-devastating stroke in 2004, the record features some surprising collaborations. The Jayhawks, Anti-Flag, Dead Meadow, Ty Segall, and 70’s British guitar icon Chris Spedding assist Davies on some of the hardest rocking tunes he’s released since his former band’s glory days. It’s no Village Green. It’s not even Low Budget, but it is still great to see the original riff king back to playing loud guitar (plus it is truly admirable that he’s enlisted some younger guns to work with him).