Yo La Tengo, back in the day.
Admittedly, this week was pretty slow when it came to new music, but with the announcement of forthcoming albums from Yo La Tengo and Beirut, OG indie rock ruled supreme.
Beirut — “No No No”
After a few years laying low, Brooklyn’s Beirut returned this week with news of a new album (out September 11) and the release of the LP’s title track. This is the most upbeat and bubbly I can ever remember hearing Zach Condon sounding, and the direction works well. An organ grounds “No No No” in retro psych-pop, while Condon serves up a chant in the chorus that makes rejection sound sort of sweet.
Heaven’s Gate — “Amanda Berry”
The most honest, disturbing, and ultimately powerful song you will hear this week is one that Brooklyn punks Heaven’s Gate wrote in honor of Cleveland kidnapping victim Amanda Berry. For roughly 10 years, Ariel Castro kept Berry and two other young women locked up and sexually abused, until circumstances made it possible for Berry to place a 911 call and subsequently be rescued by police in 2013. By quoting her call directly, this unrelentingly tortured track confronts the sickest parts of reality without turning Berry’s trauma into merely a narrative device.
Dawes — “All Your Favorite Bands”
If you’re even slightly inclined towards Boomer-inspired folk-rock, Dawes continue to be worth your attention, due in large part to Taylor Goldsmith’s narrative lyricism. On the title track from Dawes’ fourth record, Goldsmith frames a bittersweet growing-apart in a way that rings true if you’re a music fan: “May all your favorite bands stay together.” People change, but good will is timeless.
Chelsea Wolfe — “Carrion Flowers”
The opening track from Chelsea Wolfe’s fantastic forthcoming album is among its most punishing. Wolfe’s take on industrial pulsates with pleasure through her feminine howl, while her electronics fire like a machine gun. Wolfe’s Abyss is out August 7.
Yo La Tengo — “Automatic Doom”
It takes Matador staples like Yo La Tengo or Belle and Sebastian to make a darkly funny song sound this sweetly peaceful. With the former’s new song, I’m reminded of “When It’s Dark” from 2009’s Popular Songs, plus a Wilco-esque guitar solo. YLT’s new album, Stuff Like That, is out August 28.