In the first seven years of the new millennium, Modest Mouse released their most critically acclaimed album The Moon and Antarctica (2000), their most popular song “Float On” (2004), and an album that reached #1 on the Billboard 200, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank (2007). In the seven years since that impressive run, the band has been relatively silent, with only sporadic festival appearances, a b-side EP, and promises of collaborations with Outkast’s Big Boi to remind us Modest Mouse was still a thing. After years of tantalizing rumors and false alarms, Modest Mouse is back for real with Strangers to Ourselves.
Courtney Barnett names her songs things like “Avant Gardener” and calls her backing band “The Courtney Barnetts.” She’s a clever girl. In 2013, her silly word play succeeded in accelerating her soothing, monotone drone of a voice across the twangy landscapes of The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas. The double EP blew up, sending Courtney Barnett and the Courtney Barnetts touring around the world and off towards developing their first true “album.”
Last week Ms. Barnett dropped her grooviest and homiest little track to date, “Depreston,” the second single off her highly anticipated Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit. With a guitar tone that sounds borrowed from Mac Demarco’s 2, “Depreston” has Barnett experimenting sonically, and hints that she isn’t going to hold back from treading new ground.
“Depreston” features Barnett telling a story about house hunting in some undistinguished suburb chock-full of low crime-rates and cul-de-sacs, just far enough out the city to “feel depressing.” The tune begins with her trying to convince herself that she needs to grow up and settle down as she weighs the advantage of brewing her own coffee versus buying fancy lattes from baristas. But soon she finds herself standing in an open-house, contemplating the implications of death, grief, and regrowth after discovering the fate of the home’s previous owner. Barnett sings “If you’ve got a spare half a million, you could knock it down and start rebuildin’” until her incredibly Australian drawl submerges itself into the oceanic groove. Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit is due out March 24th on Mom + Pop.
Indie rock is a fickle playing field, rivaled only by rap perhaps, in terms of its endless hum of hyped artists rising up only to evaporate into the void. So in terms of indie longevity, The Dodos are doing pretty well it would seem. With six albums and almost 10 years of experience touring, recording, and writing music, Meric Long and Logan Kroeber have led a confident path of exploring the ranges of their own sound, while also releasing excellent music. 2013 saw the release of Carrier, a quiet stunner of a record, one that grappled with the death of Christopher Reimer, former guitarist of the terrific and now defunct Calgary band, Women. Reimer had joined the Dodos and his influence on the band can be heard in Carrier‘s precise electric guitar lines and its understated melancholy.
Next week is easily the best week of music releases so far this year. While most weeks may have one or two big releases, this next week has so many interesting listens for fans of all genres, a few of which have me giddy in anticipation.
Here’s just a sample of the smaller releases coming this week. For jazz/hip-hop fans, you have pianist Robert Glasper’s Black Radio 2, the sequel to his smooth album Black Radio featuring guest spots from Jill Scott, Common, Lupe Fiasco, Norah Jones, and more. For you Odd Future fans, Mellowhype drops their new album on Halloween. For hip-hop heads who want to look outside the Americas, UK synth-funk hip-hop group band Paper Tiger (not to be confused with the incredible Minneapolis producer/Doomtree affiliate of the same name) has a new album coming. Metal fans can check out new albums from Toxic Holocaust and Skeletonwitch. Garage-rock/soul/funk-rock fans can feast their ears on the new album from White Denim. And those are just the smaller cool releases I wanted to highlight. Here are the top 5 reasons that the 29th of October is going to be a quite exciting day in music.