Hot off the presses: new music! Better said, new music that is worth your time.
Glorietta – Glorietta – 12 songs / 41 minutes
This recording by a group consisting of some of today’s best songwriters feels more like a friendly get together than a formal “supergroup”.
“Fuck me I feel like I’m falling, and I got no place to land, it takes a real good woman to make a mess of a man” sings Noah Gundersen early on in the second track of the album. While that may not be the most eloquent line you’ll hear this year, it stands out on the fantastic song that is “Golden Lonesome”. Noah Gundersen shines here, writing the two best songs on the record (also see “Lincoln Creek”) that features tracks by other songwriters including David Ramirez, Nathaniel Rateliff, Jason Blum, Kelsey Wilson, and Matthew Vasquez – the latter of which organized the affair. The Delta Spirit bandleader says of the rural site of the nine day recording sessions at a rented house in Glorieta, NM “we chose Glorieta because it was isolated enough to where it would feel like were at camp. The only requirements were that the house had vaulted ceilings and a Jacuzzi.”
Overall this is an up and down album, and frankly several of the songs just don’t work for me – but the Gundersen and Ramirez tracks are excellent. Mr. Rateliff, who was a last minute arrival to the sessions, pens only one song here (“I Know”) and it is a gem. This record has the same laid-back and congenial feel that Middle Brother has, although sadly there is no John McCauley here. Unfortunately, in the end this is not better than the sum of its parts, merely a new outlet for Gundersen, Ramirez, and Rateliff to give us a few songs.
Key Tracks: “Lincoln Creek”, “Someday”, “Golden Lonesome”
Slaves – Acts of Fear and Love – 9 songs / 29 minutes
The fourth record from the punk rock duo feels more like an EP, but does provide a few worthy tunes.
Acts of Fear and Love feels at once rushed and compelling. While it probably should be twice as long as it is, we are treated to another dose of brash punk rock from these blokes who hate you and your social media presence, sense of entitlement, and general apathy. In other words, yes, they continue to rant and rave about the sorry state of humanity today.
“The Lives They Wish They Had” is the song these guys have been working towards for years. A scathing take on social media and the phoniness of people posting pictures in an attempt to convince others (themselves?) of how happy they are, while feverishly lusting after likes and followers, complete with a heavy and fast guitar attack towards the end of the song that culminates in Laurie screaming “slaves!” over and over.
I enjoyed this venom from that aforementioned song: “it’s Monday morning, and your eyes are glazed, the weekend warrior come weekday slave; fabrications about your past, and self-made titles, the kind that just don’t last; so what exactly were you trying to say, when you put your latest posts on public display; is it praise you’re after, or is it something more, like a desperate need for acceptance that you just can’t ignore?”
“Daddy” is a mellowed out reflection of the classic midlife crisis story and hits even harder because of its hushed guitar and vocals. “Photo Opportunity” follows in the similar vein, with softly spoken vocals over a simple guitar riff before exploding into loud reverb and clanging drums. The album closes with the title track, a ballad of sorts that reflects on something a teacher of Laurie’s once told him: “there is no such thing as hate, just acts of fear and love”, and how that stuck with him over the years.
Key Tracks: “The Lives They Wish They Had”, “Photo Opportunity”, “Acts of Fear and Love”
Thee Oh Sees – Smote Reverser
The instrumentals and/or tracks with limited vocals are the ones that work best, and there is enough here to make this my favorite album of their career (see “Sentient Oona”, “Moon Bog”, “C”).
Death Cab for Cutie – Thank You for Today
Great Lake Swimmers – The Waves, the Wake
Lee Bains II & the Glory Fires – Live at the Nick