New Albums of Note: Jonsi, MGMT, The Hold Steady, Broken Social Scene, Peter Wolf Crier

Some new ones worth talking about…

Go cover image



April 6

Free Album Preview: here

So now I’m a big Sigur Rós fan, but I have to admit that I’ve only spun Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust a handful of times, I picked through Hvarf/Heim till I found the acoustic version of “Vaka”, and I missed front man Jónsi’s ambient side project Riceboy Sleeps entirely. It’s just too much work to keep up. I find it hard enough to keep listening past the gorgeous first four tracks of ( ), let alone digest every successive disc of dense, dirgy dreamscapes these guys cook up. Jonsi’s solo album seems to promise accessibility, however, by the simple fact that he’s finally singing in English!




April 13

Free Album Preview: here and here

MGMT are calling their follow-up to 2007’s Oracular Spectacular a “no singles” affair. One listen to the free preview currently up on the band’s homepage confirms this to be utterly true: the disc is basically a collection of experimental deep cuts. Expect a flurry of critical psychoanalysis over Andrew + Ben’s choice of direction: Are they embarrassed by the pop success of “Kids” and “Time to Pretend”? Are they experiencing Major Label Guilt? How will the record play live? My personal answers to these are: “Yes”, “Not really”, and, “Not very well, and here’s hoping it causes the wave of popularity currently smothering them (not unlike the one on the album cover) to finally subside so they can tour small venues again.” More singles will come when they come.

Premiere: Hold Steady: "Hurricane J"

The Hold Steady

Heaven Is Whenever

May 4

Free Preview: “Hurricane J”

The Hold Steady have one of the better hit streaks going within indiedom, having amassed four acclaimed albums of increasingly eclectic bar rock, all grounded in Craig Finn’s streetwise tales about being wasted, being Catholic, and being in Minneapolis (often all in the same song). Not bad for a band that’s technically based in Brooklyn, a detail that would rankle more Twin Cities fans but for the fact that Finn still rocks a Twins throwback onstage. (My favorite was when I saw the band at First Ave circa Boys and Girls in America and an extended instrumental during “Your Little Hoodrat Friend” gave way to an unapologetic rant in praise of  Twins sidewinder Pat Neshek.) But change is in the air these days: Not only were the Twin Cities references limited to one song on 2008’s Stay Positive (“Yeah Sapphire”), but keyboardist Franz Nicolay has left for greener pastures, casting doubts on whether the Hold Steady can continue its longstanding anthemic heft.

New Epic Broken Social Scene Song!

Broken Social Scene

Forgiveness Rock Record

May 4

Free Preview: various tracks here

Much like Damon Albarn’s Gorrilaz, Toronto’s Broken Social Scene are a collective act with a couple permanent members (singer/guitarist Kevin Drew and bassist Bernard Canning), a rotating cast of collaborators (Feist, Emily Haines, various Do Make Say Think dudes), and a good few years between albums. It typically works to brilliant effect on record, as different personalities jump out on each big-sounding-yet-never-overstuffed track. I wish I could comment on the live show: it’s a crime I haven’t seen BSS in person yet…


Peter Wolf Crier


May 25

Free Preview: various tracks here

Recently signed to Bon Iver’s label, Jagjaguwar, Minneapolis duo Peter Wolf Crier are most certainly a Iver-esque band. (It’s the falsetto vocals that gave it away.) But let’s give them a shot. Guitarist Peter Pisano has an impressive junk drawer of old gear, including an organ he plays with his feet (see it in this clip). The lo-fi aesthetic should sound great on record. But let’s keep the live show intimate, please!


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