Out This Week 4/9

In Stores Now
Jim Beckmann

To call James Blake's second LP "greatly anticipated" may be a bit of an overstatement, but only because it's been hardly two months that we've even known that a new album would be available some time this year. Despite the short time to process the news, fans certainly were eager to hear what the angelically voiced young songwriter would do. To their delight, the album's first single, "Retrograde," took a rather forward looking view on sounds of the romantic 80's (do I hear a trace of Talk Talk's "It's My Life"?) and 60's soul, as filtered through electronic beats and modulated synths. Like the single, Overgrown proves more sonically adventurous than his 2011 eponymous debut, and it's easily one of our top picks of albums out this week if not this year. Equally exciting is the reissue of the The Postal Service's single album, Give Up, because along with it, besides the fascinating bonus disc of extras, including a song recorded live in the studio of KEXP, is the promise of live shows and festival spots across the country to accompany it. Collaborators Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie) and Jimmy Tamborello (Dntel) have offered some damn funny and interesting videos (directed by Tom Scharpling) to promote the rerelease, and no doubt legion young fans will join the many thousands who fell in love with it a decade ago to grab it in stores this week.

Among other new albums you'll want to pick up today include the latest from Philly songwriter Kurt Vile, whose fifth album our Music Director, Don Yates, praises as "a mostly low-key, often-gorgeous set of hazy, sprawling psych-rock with spiraling electric guitar solos, warm acoustic guitar riffs and atmospheric keyboards accompanying Vile’s laconic drawl and introspective lyrics." While Vile's LP may be the perfect summery dose to hold us until the warms days are finally here, the enigmatic Swedish duo The Knife remind us that still some darkness abounds on their fourth studio album. Shaking the Habitual, though, isn't the chilly Nordic soundscape you might expect but rather an adventurous mix of pulsing tribal beats, occasional dissonance and Karin Dreijer Andersson's breathy vocals. 80's UK electronic icons Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, or as they're known today, OMD, balance the old and new on their 12th release in 30 odd years, sounding at times as though they've never aged a day. Meanwhile, Steve Mason, formerly of The Beta Band and King Biscuit Time, continues to sound like no one else on a new solo album, and Villagers' Conor J. O'Brien follows up his solo performed Mercury Prize nominated debut with a more fully produced, full band effort.

You'll find these and other great new releases from Keaton Henson, Young Man, Deadstring Brothers, Dawes and many others in record stores today. Here's a handful of songs from these artists we recommended you try before heading out:

  • Belle Mare - The Boat Of The Fragile Mind (MP3)

  • from The Boat Of The Fragile Mind EP (self-released)
  • James Blake - Retrograde

  • from Overgrown on Republic Records
  • Dawes - From a Window Seat
  • from Stories Don't End on Hub Records
  • Deadstring Brothers - Like a California Wildfire (MP3)
  • from Cannery Row on Bloodshot Records
  • Keaton Henson - You (MP3)
  • from Birthdays on Anti- Records
  • The Knife - A Tooth For An Eye
  • from Shaking The Habitual on Mute / Rabid Records
  • Steve Mason - Fight Them Back
  • from Monkey Minds in The Devil's Time on Double Six
  • Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) - Metroland
  • from English Electric on BMG
  • The Postal Service - Such Great Heights (MP3)
  • from Give Up (remastered and expanded) on Sub Pop
  • Twin Tigers - Racecar (MP3)
  • from Death Wish on Old Flame Records
  • Kurt Vile - Wakin on a Pretty Day (MP3)
  • from Wakin on a Pretty Daze on Matador
  • Villagers - Nothing Arrived (MP3)
  • from {Awayland} on Domino
  • Young Man - Unfair (MP3)
  • from Beyond was All Around Me on Frenchkiss

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