Two Gallants — the San Francisco guitar-drum duo of Adam Stephens and Tyson Vogel— release their fifth record, We Are Undone, on February 3rd via ATO, but you can stream the whole record now from The New York Times’ “Press Play.”
Arcade Fire multi-instrumentalist/hype-man Will Butler is releasing his solo debut, Policy, on Merge Records on March 10th. Billboard describes Policy as “a sophisticated amalgam of styles: garage rock, synth-and-sax minimalism, and HoJo-lounge funk.”
Great news for Neko Case fans who love Neko Case so much that they’d love to buy a Neko Case record multiple times in different formats. The singer/songwriter/New Pornographer vocalist is re-releasing her outstanding 2006 record, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, on red vinyl. The record comes out on Record Store Day, April 18.
Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs, Divine Fits) released an EP with his new band Operators last summer, with a full-length planned for later this year. Now Boeckner and his fellow Operators — keyboardist/vocalist Devojka and drummer Sam Brown — have released a new single, “”Ecstasy In My House.” Operators thoroughly impressed during an opening set for Zola Jesus at Bimbo’s in October, and the new single sounds like Boeckner’s got Operators moving in the right direction. Operators hit the road with New Pornographers in February, but they won’t be with the New Pornos during their Noise Pop show at the Fox Theater in Oakland on February 28th, and currently don’t have a Bay Are date on the schedule.
Prolific Chillwave artist Toro Y Moi (aka producer, singer, and songwriter Chaz Bundick), releases What For? on April 7th, on Carpark Records, the fifth Toro Y Moi record in the past five years. The album:
“draws inspiration from Big Star, Talking Heads and Todd Rundgren, as well as Brazil’s Tim Maia and France’s Cortex, among many others. Unknown Mortal Orchestra guitarist Ruban Nielson appears on the album, as does multi-instrumentalist Julian Lynch.”
Singer/songwriter Mikal Cronin releases his third record, the logically-titled MCIII, on Merge on May 5. While it may seem somewhat naval-gazey to issue each of your three albums as essentially self-titled albums (I’m assuming it’s not referencing his future grandson), in Cronin’s case it makes sense. As with his previous two records, he plays nearly all the instruments on MCIII, including French horn, trumpet, saxaphone, and the tzouras, a traditional Greek string instrument, in addition to your traditional guitar/drums/bass. To top if off, he designed the album artwork again as well. So there you go.
Death Cab for Cutie release their eighth record (and last with founding guitarist Chris Walla, who quit the band last year), Kintsugi, on March 31, and have announced a set of tour dates starting in April. No Bay Area dates yet, but there are a lot of open dates on the schedule, so keep an eye out. As of now, the only California Date is July 12th at the Hollywood Bowl.
Death Cab just released “Black Sun,” the first single off Kintsugi, and it’s streaming below.
Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens is releasing his latest concept record (and 8th studio album overall), Carrie & Lowell, on March 31st. The record is described:
“Thematically the 11 songs address life and death, love and loss, and the artist’s struggle to make sense of the beauty and ugliness of love. The album is named for Stevens’ mother and stepfather and is a return to Stevens’ folk roots.”
One of the best things about Mary Timony’s new band Ex Hex is that the guitar virtuoso — once so fond of proggy guitar rock and then ultra-personal, Medieval-sounding songs about dragons and faeries (which, make no mistake, are still awesome) — has embraced her good time rock n’ roll side. Ex Hex’s debut record, Rips, basically sounds like an 80s party record in a lot of ways, so it’s fitting that for their new video (and third from Rips) for “Don’t Wanna Lose,” the band spoofs the 1982 Diane Lane/Laura Dern movie Ladies & Gentlemen: The Fabulous Stains, a film about three teenage girls who start a punk band. It’s pretty fantastic.
The Mountain Goats return this spring with Beat The Champ, which, according to Mountain Goats main man John Darnielle, consists of 12 songs about wrestling. Of course, many of the songs may simply be using wrestling as a metaphor for various kinds of struggles. Then again, maybe not. He could just be following in the footsteps of noted musicians/wrestling marks like Bob Mould and/or Billy Corgan. Or Insane Clown Posse.