June was a busy month for music, with plenty of albums worth listening to coming out in the second half. We here at Criticize This! were busy reporting on NXNE, but here’s a quick look at some of the albums we think you shouldn’t miss. From the cavernous sound of the always changing Liars, to the ultra-danceable Hot Chip, there’s something for everyone.
Liars – WIXIW
Release date: June 5
Music critics and fans alike often search for newness, sometimes looking for their next favourite band or the ‘next big thing’, Liars fill that need with every new album. Featuring members originally from Australia, Los Angeles and New York City, the only thing as varied as the band’s origins has been the music they’ve produced. WIXIW, the band’s sixth full length, brings the electronics, which have lurked in the background of the last few LPs, into the fore. The result is a hypnotically danceable record full of murky tracks that should have you moving despite their dark nature.
One of the highlights of the album, ‘No. 1 Against the Rush’, is the closest thing to ‘pop music’ Liars will ever produce. Check it out below.
Liars – No. 1 Against the Rush
The above highlight comes early in the album, a risky move for most bands, but Liars manage to keep the good vibes going throughout the album. ‘A Ring on Every Finger’ provides another highlight, choppy vocals taking you down the path in the wood you always avoided as a kid. ‘Flood to Flood’ and ‘Who is the Hunter’ hit you back-to-back with muted yet punchy electronics, before ‘Annual Moon Words’ closes the album off with something scarcely heard on earlier tracks, plain ol’ guitars and drums.
Even when Liars are making you dance, they are doing so in a weird way, the best weird possible. Radiohead‘s last album may have been lacklustre, but Liars seem willing to fill that void and expand upon it, high praise indeed.
DIIV – Oshin
Release date: June 26
Brooklyn’s DIIV are hard to describe, just when you think you’ve put your finger on their sound, whether in terms or music or lyrics, they shift and your finger is left wanting. This is not accidental, the band hints at dream-pop, psych, surf-rock and straight
ahead rock n roll at different times, but does not rest in any of those genres. The same approach is used for the band, album and track names, all of which hint at different aquatic subjects, but are spelled just incorrectly enough to be jarring.
Having seen the band at NXNE I can speak to the fact that the band’s appearance is equally befuddling, lead singer Zachary Cole Smith belting out riffs with a most innocent look on his blonde-bob-topped face. The live performance holds up beside the great debut album, a testament to the young band’s musicianship.
Oshin is very much an album experience, with a few intrumental tracks setting the tone nicely, but there are definitely singular highlights to be found, amongst them is ‘Doused’, check it out below.
DIIV – Doused
Summer is all about the outdoors, drinks, friends, and of course, music, and DIIV‘s debut is certainly a fun listen that you can enjoy in the sun.
Ty Segall Band – Slaughterhouse
Release date: June 26
Ty Segall has developed a rather large following in a niche market over the past four years, six if you include his time with garage rock revivalists The Epsilons. Each of Segall’s four solo full-lengths showed progression, both in terms of production and quality. Some garage rock enthusiasts will always claim that 2010′s Melted 2011′s Goodbye Bread or 2012′s Hair is his best work, and while that may be true, Slaughterhouse is an entirely enjoyable record front to back.
If you are unfamiliar with Ty Segall and looking for a clue as to what this album will sound like, drink a few beers, operate a jackhammer without ear protection, look at the album cover and then hit play. Ty Segall (now ‘with band’) is not afraid to get loud, and sloppy, but he does it all with a fun undertone.
Ty Segall Band – Muscle Man
Your parents, and Billboard, probably thought the garage rock revival came and went with the likes of The Hives and The Vines (remember those guys?), but bands like The Oh Sees, White Fence, Black Lips, the deceased Jay Reatard and now Ty Segall are keeping it going and doing it far better.
Hot Chip – In Our Heads
Release date: June 12
Last up in the June Quick Picks is the band that will have you on the dance floor first, Hot Chip. This five-piece band out of London exploded onto the scene in a decade ago now, and have had scene kids shaking it as hard as they can ever since. Starting off as more of a strictly pop band, Hot Chip got into more dance heavy territory with 2008′s The Warning, 2010′s Made in the Dark followed suit but the band’s last album One Life Stand was a somewhat more mellow affair.
Not to worry though, In Our Heads might be the band’s danciest yet, and is almost certainly their best. The band wastes no time, getting off to a great start with ‘Motion Sickness’, check that song out below.
Hot Chip – Everything Spins
Putting such an amazing track right at the beginning of an LP has the potential to kill the rest of the album, making everything that follows a disappointment, but that is certainly not the case here. Certain tracks here, like ‘Don’t Deny Your Heart’ are straight up disco (RIP 2/3 of the Beegees) ‘Look at Where We Are’ slows things down without getting glum, and album highlight ‘Night & Day’ is ridiculously fun, as is the music video that accompanies it.
Have a good long weekend, don’t forget to dance, let Hot Chip help.