A new collection of covers from Yo La Tengo is not unusual, but their frequency does allow for some measurement of the band’s current mood, and the songs are always trailheads for musical exploration.
Kurt Vile :: Speed, Sound, Lonely KV EP
Kurt Vile’s surgical lyrics and out-there guitar playing overshadow the fact that he is a bona-fide troubadour, a distinctive voice and presence that hangs out in your head and strums out their weird tunes from an armchair in the corner.
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings :: Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Rendition Was In)
Posthumous releases are always a tricky proposition, but Sharon Jones was a talent literally larger than life, and the combination of her of deep rich voice slathered over the funky Dap Kings has yet to fail.
Elvis Perkins :: Creation Myths
It’s been a while, but Elvis Perkins’ songwriting chops remain as lush as ever, an unexpected oasis of skewed harmonies and surprising arrangements in a dry sandy desert of plinky singer-songwriters.
Drive-By Truckers :: The New OK
Yes, it’s the Drive-By Truckers, and they remain consistent to their deep Southern roots, but I had to keep checking the player to see who was sounding exactly like Dinosaur Jr. or riffing off Hall and Oates.
The Budos Band :: Long in the Tooth
The Budos Band have a distinctive sound that blends afrobeat, funk, and a herd of thundering elephants that could also be one of the most aggressive brass sections around.
Wagon Christ :: Recepticon
Some people will slice and dice their way to a hostile disjointed soundscape filled with vague unease, but Wagon Christ’s approach yields something sunnier and wholesome, like fruit salad.
The Nude Party :: Midnight Manor
The word “party” is right there in the name, as is the word “nude”, and it might be a coincidence, but this is rowdy, horny, let-it-all-hang-out rock and roll music.