It's that time of (mid-) year again! Keep in mind, we're something of a limited blog here; we haven't gotten TV on the Radio (thumbs up), the Decemberists (thumbs down), or Iron and Wine (definite up and up). But other than that, here's our picks based on our (admittedly) limited selection; still, there are definitely some you should check out - and avoid.
The Civil Wars, "Barton Hollow" - A gorgeous, tender album lifted with male/female duettery. But honestly, if you enjoy earnest, bare folk with vocals that strike deep, then this is your album.
Panda Bear, "Tomboy" - The much-awaited solo from Animal Collective's frontman has arrived. Delayed for a number of years, it's dense with their trademark electronic-layering and sonic depth, making it recommended. Though with a caveat: it's something of a difficult album to get into.
The Low Anthem, "Smart Flesh" - We'd forgive the weird title, and we'd forgive that it took three years to come out. But what we can't forgive is that our only favorite track is "Apothecary Love," and the rest is... sad and mopey. Kinda too much, even if you're an angsty teen, so you'll most likely keep their brilliant "Oh My God, Charlie Darwin" on your ipod instead.
Fleet Foxes, "Helplessness Blues" - While not as scintillating and titillating as their eponymous debut a few years ago, their sophomore is still a fantastic baroque-pop thrill-ride teetering with harmonies and violins and just general awesomeness.
Middle Brother, "Middle Brother" - A brainchild of frontmen from Dawes, Deer Tick, and Delta Force (wow, alphabetical order!), this little country peach is anything but warm and fuzzy. It's definitely one of our favorites so far, because, let's face it, each singer is in probably their best form. Ever. They complement and refract off of each other, so much so, that we're hoping they'll abandon their bands and stay together. Oh well, at least they're playing the Newport Folk Festival.
We didn't just plug them, right...?