Mandatory Music: Death Cab for Cutie, Will Butler + More
If Blink-182 taught us anything this week, it's that you should really appreciate every album you get from a band like it could be their last. (We also learned that Tom DeLonge somehow turned himself into a super-villain capable of robbing everyone of the pop-punk band they loved.)
So you should go into these five tracks released this week with a newfound appreciation. After all, I can think of at least one other band who are in kind of a precarious place right now ...
DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE
'Black Sun' from 'Kintsugi'
If you've ever been on the fence about Death Cab for Cutie, now would be the time to give them another shot. Their eighth album since breaking out of Seattle in the late '90s, 'Kintsugi' marks a massive turning point. Founding guitarist Chris Walla decided to leave the band during its production and, although he stuck around to contribute, it's the first Death Cab album he didn't produce. It's also the band's first record since frontman Ben Gibbard's divorce from Zooey Deschanel, and I don't know about you, but I'd be pretty bummed if I was him. (I'd also do something else with my hair.)
'Anna' from 'Policy'
That's Arcade Fire multi-instrumentalist Will Butler (brother of frontman Win) dancing out in a field all alone in the video below. As you can tell from both the video's Peter Gabriel animation elements and the overt new wave quirkiness of the song, it sure seems like fans of the Montreal indie collective will be fans of Butler's solo debut. If you aren't sold yet, the first song he released from the album, 'Take My Side,' is completely different altogether.
'Made My Mind Up' from 'MCIII'
Garage rocker Mikal Cronin (a frequent collaborator with Ty Segall) said his upcoming third album was a deliberate attempt to "go big" -- and that's saying a lot for a guy already known for lush and layered arrangements. On 'MCIII' (due out May 5), Cronin plays nearly every instrument himself including but not limited to saxophone, French horn and tzouras -- a traditional Greek string instrument he heard on tour in Athens and subsequently learned how to play.
'Dragon' from 'Sauna'
Back in September, Mount Eerie singer-songwriter Phil Elverum debuted a stripped down version of 'Dragon,' from his next album, 'Sauna.' But while that performance for the Pinball Sessions was just Elverum and an acoustic guitar, the studio version released this week is almost unrecognizable. Prominently featuring female vocals and half the sound effects on a white noise machine, it still feels lonely -- just with a lot more going on.
'To Die in L.A.' from 'Escape From Evil'
Baltimore experimental indie-pop group Lower Dens have always fallen into the category of 'challenging.' But the first impression we've got from their just-announced third album is downright radio-friendly. Produced by frontwoman Jana Hunter, the record (scheduled to drop March 31) was co-produced and mixed by Chris Coady (Beach House, Future Islands) and features collaborations from producers including Ariel Rechtshaid (Vampire Weekend, Haim) and John Congleton (St. Vincent, Cloud Nothings).