The Decemberists – We All Raise Our Voices to the Air (live)
There is a nostalgic kick to hearing “Leslie Anne Levine” and “Oceanside” in this live setting, with Chris Funk adding flourishes of weepy pedal steel, and damned if all three parts of “The Crane Wife” (which were separated in the tracklist to the 2006 album) don’t sound newly compelling as one 16-minute story-song showstopper. It may be the most naturalistic marriage of lyrics and music the Decemberists have yet devised: Colin Meloy may be too often dismissed as a winking actor, but there’s an eloquent, even dignified melancholy to his lyrics and melodies, which are bolstered by the band’s sensitive accompaniment. Drummer John Moen even comes across as a protagonist, stitching the song together rhythmically and propelling it along its narrative arc. Only the proggy keyboard riffs break the spell. They might as well be in quote marks. Read the full review on Pitchfork
Delta Spirit – Delta Spirit
The album’s first single California continues Delta Spirit’s trek alongside its newfound indie influences, but similarly maintains the band’s Americana rock identity. Ethereal yet pulsing with energy, California mimics Empty House’s open feeling with Vasquez singing of setting free someone he loves, despite knowing what pain it will cause him: “And though my heart will fight until its dying breath / You’re not for me.” Read the full review on Antiquiet
The Magnetic Fields – Love At The Bottom Of The Sea
Stephin Merritt has always favored a theatrical mode of address, and Love At The Bottom Of The Sea often sounds like a collection of lesser songs from notional musicals. Single “Andrew In Drag” is built from tones that could be sound effects as easily as they could be synthesizer presets, the likes of which haven’t graced a Magnetic Fields record since 1999’s beloved 69 Love Songs. Merritt has fully embraced the character and uniqueness of his technically limited voice, ascending in the song’s chorus from a self-aware deadpan into a faux-soaring self-aware deadpan. When it strikes a balance between exuberance and obsessive formalism, Love At The Bottom Of The Sea is irresistible. Read the full review on the AV Club
We got T-shirts folks, lots of different ones. Including this rad Pure Pop Records t-shirt modeled above by some nameless, mindless fashionista. Come down, check em out. It’ll be shirt weather in oh… 5 months.