It's time for Tuesday Reviewsday, our weekly new music segment. This week, we have journalists Shirley Halperin and Roy Trakin from The Hollywood Reporter. They've brought in four new albums, which they've profiled below.
Artist: Mac DeMarco
Album: Salad Days
Songs: "Salad Days", "Passing Out the Pieces"
Indie rock is riding a crest of awesomeness right now with artists like Courtney Barnett and Tame Impala bringing back the sounds of sludgy lo-fi in the most fantastic ways. Both of those artists are from Australia, while 23-year-old Mac DeMarco is from Montreal but has since moved to Brooklyn. Hipster central has been good to him, garnering accolades for his first two albums, which led to sold out shows in Europe and now the fawning praise for his new album, "Salad Days." It's no wonder, check out "Passing Out the Pieces."
He's self-deprecating, good-looking, witty and entrepreneurial. He has a singles club based around him where people receive two Mac DeMarco 7 inches every 6-8 weeks. He likes to dole out relationship advice in his songs. And his hero is Jonathan Richman, and like him, he's a highly prolific musician and very DIY.
Songs: "North Street", "Yes He's Coming"
Death was an African-American punk trio formed by the Hackney brothers in Detroit in 1971 after they saw Alice Cooper and The Who play. After that they decided they didn't want to do Funk-R&B, so they created the protopunk band Death, which led to a war with their neighbors, the black community and the music scene they were ensconced in at the time.
They were closer to the spirit and mono-maniacal quality of the Ramones than anything else happening in Motown at the time (or later hard black bands like Living Color, for that matter). You can really hear that on the song "North Street."
They saw some success, with Clive Davis backing them for a bit. But Clive wasn't feeling the name and after financing recording sessions, he abandoned the project when the group wouldn't change it.
After recording demos, the idiosyncratic threesome couldn't get a record deal without changing their name, so they moved to Vermont and then broke up the band. Visionary brother-leader David was the songwriter and lead singer, he died in 2000. About a decade later they were re-discovered (2009) when Drag City Records released all seven Death songs from their 1974 United Sound sessions on CD and LP under the title "For the Whole World to See." The Third and final installment of their unreleased masters from back in the day went gospel and spiritual - you can sense that in the song "Yes, He's Coming."
Artist: St. Vincent
Songs: "Prince Johnny", "Severed Crossed Fingers"
Born Annie Clark in Tulsa, OK, she spent part of her career as a member of Polyphonic Spree and with Sufjan Stevens before launching her own solo career with Marry Me in 2007. This is her fifth album, but prior to this she collaborated with David Byrne and Love This Giant, with whom she also toured and performed a memorable show two summers back at the Greek Theatre.
Sort of reminiscent of a Texas psychedelic version of PJ Harvey, she is known to shred on guitar and has a varied palette of sounds at her disposal. This is her major label debut for Loma Vista/Republic, an imprint of former Warner Bros. President Tom Whalley.
Artist: Jimmer Podrasky
Album: The Would-Be Plans
Songs: "The Far Left Side of You", "She Has Good Records"
He's an ex-member of pioneering Americana country-rock band, the Rave-Ups, who put out two critically acclaimed albums on Epic Records with 1988's "Book of Your Regrets" and 1990's "Chance", an album which was named after the son he had with Molly Ringwald's sister, Beth.
Known mainly for their role in several key scenes in "Pretty in Pink", Podrasky took some time off to raise his son, and served as a script-reader for William Morris, before Endeavor came in and booted him out. A remarkable songwriter with a classic sound, he digs deep into the human condition, and captures people in the midst of difficult circumstances trying to reinvent themselves.
"I used to sleep upon/The wrong side of my life/Now that you are gone/The other side is mine," he sings in The Far Left Side of You," complete with wordless back-up harmonies.