Compared to the bonanza we saw in 2013, the first half of 2014 was fairly slow in the music world for everyone not named Iggy or Ariana. Things picked up quite a bit in June though, which saw a number of high profile album releases and announcements. A quick, highly subjective1 round up of some of the action is below.
Albums of the Month
First Aid Kit – Stay Gold
First Aid Kit is comprised of two sisters from Sweden who are heavily influenced by American folk music. Stay Gold, their follow up album to 2012’s excellent The Lion’s Roar, is a bit catchier and more upbeat but is still rooted in stories of loss and self doubt. It’s also one of the best start to finish listens of the year so far.
Lana Del Rey – Brooklyn Baby
In addition to providing the internet with an infinite amount of content this month, Lana Del Rey put out a pretty great album. Everyone seems to think a thorough meditation on CAPITAL “A” ART is needed to to talk about Ms. Del Rey but ain’t nobody got time for all that. The album is full of sultry jams, and the lifestyle skewering Brooklyn Baby is one of the best.
Hamilton Leithauser – Black Hours
Black Hours is the first solo release from The Walkmen frontman Hamilton Leithauser. Leithauser tries out a few different styles but generally goes more crooner than rocker on the album. Still, the best songs have an undeniable bit of The Walkmen’s DNA in them.
Funny and Great in Every Other Way Songs of the Month
Neko Case – These Aren’t the Droids
Neko Case and Kelly Hogan’s anti-ode to nerddom has been stuck in my head as much as any other song so far this month. Case has shown her comedy chops before (she’s a great Twitter follow) but this might be the best mix of her musical ability and knack for jokes yet. Listen as she describes a future (present?) created by geeky guys.
The Roots – Harry Potter Rap
Earlier this month, someone wrote to Jimmy Fallon and said they like Harry Potter and Hip Hop. Which is exactly why you have The Roots as your house band.
Psy is Still Doing His Psy Thing but Now With Snoop Dogg of the Month
Psy is still doing his Psy thing but now with Snoop Dogg.
Everybody Thought This was Nas but It Looks Like It’s Not of the Month
In one of the weirder music stories of June, everybody thought an EP leaked by an artist going by Your Old Droog was actually a secret Nas album. The strongest piece of evidence was a pitch corrected version of the album which god damn it sounds a lot like Nas.
However, it looks like the notion that this is Nas is pretty well debunked at this point, with people claiming that they’ve met Your Old Droog and it’s just a guy who’s a pretty good rapper. While there is still some debate, it’s pretty unlikely that this is Nas but kudos to our new droog Your Old Droog, a pretty solid EP nonetheless.
Mixtape of the Month
This has been an amazing World Cup so far, but my body is 90% cheese and beer at this point and it’s hard to keep my eyes open and my heart pumping. Luckily, Diplo made an hour long world cup mixtape to help us keep going when the cholesterol coma gets to be too much.
It’s Like 2006 in This Bitch of the Month
This month saw album announcements and new songs from both the New Pornographers and Spoon. If I had to pin down the sound I’d say they sound like the New Pornographers and Spoon (very good). Hearing these bands puts me in a very college-y state of mind so I’m going to sleep until 3pm then eat 19 S’mores Pop Tarts. Bye!
Spoon – Rent I Pay
The New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers
image via Butler Corey
- READ: interesting to me. ↩