The Pixies, Goon, and Stephen Malkmus: This year’s albums are truly great
And just like that, here we are. Summer seems to be upon us, with temperatures and tourist numbers in our corner of Colorado on a steady incline.
According to the solstice-ers and my trusty oversized calendar, the official start of summer is Friday, June 21, as per usual. June is the sixth month of the calendar year, and six months in marks the halfway point of 2019 new music releases, give or take a week or two. I’ve given biweekly record suggestions in this publication, but some records have come around unannounced and others have gotten lost in release heavy weeks.
There is no shortage of truly great new albums that have been released, and there’s another six months of music to come. Let’s take a glance at some of my favorite albums thus far, along with glimpses into a select few that show what is yet to come.
“Groove Denied,” Stephen Malkmus, released March 15 by Matador Records and Domino Records The former Pavement frontman released an album of primarily electronic music, but this isn’t a dance record in the way that’s often associated with the moniker. To be fair, I didn’t think I would love a (primarily) guitar-less record made by (what I consider to be) a modern stylistic guitar icon. I keep revisiting this record and have realized something embarrassingly and glaringly obvious: Malkmus’ approach to songs hits that pleasure center in my brain., even when it’s wrapped in minimalist electronic music, which as my friend put it, is “made for dads.” For the record, I’m not a dad.
“E6 Enthusiasts - An Enthusiast’s Fanfare for Elephant 6,” Various Artists, released February 21 on Bandcamp This is one of the records I didn’t know was coming and yet it has been in constant rotation since arriving. To be fair, I am a fan of many bands associated with Elephant 6, which may play into my affinity for this record. From the release bio: “The first fan-made tribute album to The Elephant 6 Collective, organized by members of the Elephant 6 Enthusiasts Facebook Group. Twenty-four artists, from around the world and spanning a multitude of musical genres, performing the music of the Elephant 6 Collective, including: Neutral Milk Hotel, The Apples in Stereo, The Olivia Tremor Control, of Montreal, Circulatory System, Elf Power, Gerbils and Madeline.”
“Dogrel,” Fontaines D.C., released April 12 by Partisan RecordsI already gave this record some coverage, but I am revisiting it here for good reason. I made the haul to Phoenix in late May (it was not nine hours, but a measly seven) and this band and headliner Idles delivered in spades. I have told just about anyone who would listen that this will likely go down as one of the best live shows I’ll ever see. Not this year, mind you, but ever. I have been incredibly fortunate in 30+ years to have seen some amazing bands perform unforgettable sets. This was one of them. I already loved this record, claiming it would likely be on my year-end look back at 2019, and their live show reinforced that.
Records I’m still excited for, coming soon:
“Shepherd In A Sheepskin Vest,” Bill Callahan This record will be released by Drag City on June 14.
“Desert Haze,” The CragsOne of my favorite local acts, The Crags, will self-release their fourth album, “Desert Haze,” on July 12 with an accompanying CD release show at 11th Street Station on the same night.
“Heaven is Humming,” Goon This album is available July 19 thanks to the good people at Partisan Records.
“Beneath the Eyrie,” The PixiesOne of the most influential bands for me and countless others, The Pixies, will release “Beneath the Eyrie” on September 13.
— Jon E. Lynch