Three of the best ensembles on the scene have released outstanding records in the past few weeks. HAIM have developed and expanded their particular brand of airy California pop while Katie Crutchfield and Waxahatchee have emerged from their garage roots with a perfectly produced fourth record that blends their raw sound with just the right dash of studio polish. Additionally, we have a wonderful new project from Olivia Chaney and The Decemberists called Offa Rex.
HAIM Something to Tell You
The Haim sisters return with their follow up to 2013’s Days Are Gone. If there was any doubt that HAIM could continue their absurd streak of excellent harmonies and pop hooks, this new effort has completely dispelled those concerns. After four years, the sisters return with fresh perspective and a more complex and polished approach to their craft. The approach here is the same as ever with a wonderful quirk and fantastic turn of phrase. Check out the video for “Want You Back” below.
Waxahatchee Out in the Storm
Katie Crutchfield and company have returned with a triumphant fourth record that seems like the natural culmination of what has come before. This time around Crutchfield enlisted the skills of producer John Agnello to add a bit of polish to her large garage sound. For his part Agnello brought the hard edge production he has lent to the likes of Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth. This record is equal parts universal and personal. One of Crutchfield’s great talents as a songwriter is the ability to make intensely specific personal accounts resonate with the larger structure of the songs and the record as a whole. There is a vulnerable strength to Crutchfield’s work. She reveals herself completely without yielding herself fully. Her work benefits from a cohesion of self that is evident and alluring. These stories sweep the listener into a world that is wholly Crutchfield’s and yet wonderfully universal at the same time. Check out the video for “Silver” below.
Offa Rex The Queen of Hearts
The Decemberists and Olivia Chaney have teamed up for a passion project of English folk ballads. This is a remarkable project that is driven by the shared passions of Chaney and The Decemberists’ front man Colin Meloy. This is a majestically sweeping record of beautiful harmonies that can carry the listener away. The record is punctuated by meaningful modernizations of these classic songs but always with an eye toward the cultural and musical role of the original. Give this one the time and the space to sweep you away. Check out the video for “Queen of Hearts” below.
To Do This Week
Tomorrow Palm is at Gasa Gasa and Walter “Wolfman” Washington is playing the Free Friday show at Tips. Also Friday Marcello Benetti is back in town and his Trapper Keeper project is performing at the AllWays Lounge. You can catch Honey Island Swamp Band at the Maple Leaf on Saturday. Tuesday check out Those Lavender Whales at Siberia.
To Listen This Week
- Checkout this great new video from Wolf Alice via Youtube
- Toro y Moi is streaming his excellent new record via Youtube
- Watch Perfume Genius kill it on "Late Night" via CoS