The big release of the week, at least in our minds, was Nine Inch Nail’s Hesitation Marks. But this has been a pretty full week in music. One of Justin Vernon’s “non-Bon Iver” projects, Volcano Choir, released their sophomore effort to mostly positive marks. Neko Case (aka the next best thing to Jenny Lewis) released her first album in four years. The perpetually underrated Okkervil River released another solid effort. I was also introduced to a new artist (for me) called The Julie Ruin, which I was rather delighted with. And finally, wait for it, I give some love to an artist who released my most hated album of 2012. All in all, an overwhelming week in music, and since we won’t be able to give every one of these artists their full due, here is a little Friday snippet of each. Enjoy y’all.
The Julie Ruin – “Oh Come On”
This song is so damn fun. Kinda like a lower-fi Sleigh Bells and a little bit looser. “Oh Come On” is a quick two and a half minutes of blustery mayhem, and one of the ballsier additions to my iTunes library in 2013. Can’t wait to hear more.
Neko Case – “Night Still Comes”
Neko is very lauded in certain circles, but has never quite gotten her due from a general audience. New album, The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, still may be a little too off-center to break her into the upper echelon of female singer songwriters, but I likey. “Night Still Comes” is a prime example of Neko’s songwriting and vocal skills.
Okkervil River – “Down Down the Deep River”
The quantity of material Okkervil River has put out since 2002 is matched only be the quality of said work. New album, The Silver Gymnasium, is no different. It may be a middling album in the midst of their entire catalog, but that’s a really strong catalog to be in the middle of. My favorite track, “Down Down the Deep River”, hints at Springsteen at his peak, with a pace that just won’t quit.
Paul McCartney – “New”
I hated, hated, hated Paul McCartneys 2012 album Kisses From the Bottom. It was despicable. In fact, I haven’t liked much of anything from Sir Paul from the recent past, so I was delighted to here this Mark Ronson-produced return to form for this legend. This just further shows you should never quit on an artist with this type of pedigree.
Volcano Choir – “Byegone”
We all love what Justin Vernon has done with Bon Iver, so its no shock his work with Volcano Choir is also appreciated. For the uninitiated, Volcano choir is less of a change of direction for Vernon than it is an extension of certain things he does with his flagship project. “Byegone” is a beautifully orchestrated track with completely natural vocals, which is a nice change of pace from what we’ve heard of Vernon with Bon Iver (and more annoyingly his recent work with Kanye).