January 24, 2011

Playlist: Mean Creek | Bigger Lovers | ACL | Merge | R.E.M.


Ye olde series of tubes is serving up quite a bit of great new (and old) music at the moment, so I thought I'd round some up:

MEAN CREEK: The local flannel rockers have their terrific new Hemophiliac EP up at the low, low price of whatever you wanna pay. This is especially nice of them, since they had to back off their plans to record a full-length when they found themselves without any financial support for the recording. It is entirely self-funded and recorded in NY with John Agnello, who has produced many rocking albums in your collection. So download it, learn it, love it, and then go celebrate it's release this Saturday, 1/29 at the Brighton Music Hall with Taxpayer, Girlfriends, and Dirty Dishes.

Mean Creek: Bandcamp | MySpace | Tumblr | Facebook | Twitter |

: This favorite Philly pop outfit called it quits five years ago, apparently leaving their own unfinished EP behind. They've just now got around to finishing it with Papas Fritas-frontman/Jenny Dee and the Delinquents-sideman Tony Goddess behind the board. It's out February 1st, but you can get track #2, called "Little Giant," from it now for nuthin'. The relatedly awesome news is that they're also reissuing their long out-of-print 2001 debut, How I Learned To Stop Worrying, on vinyl (as well as digitally) and WITH bonus tracks, on March 8th. They're doing a hometown gig at Johnny Brenda's on March 12th, and seem to be leaving the future open ended.

The Bigger Lovers: Intertubes | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | MySpace

: These local legends are getting ready to release their new album, Skins, on March 8th as well, and they've already previewed a pair of great tracks on the intertubes: "Arise Watch," and "Guilty Girls." Fortuitously, the BBC has their rockin' July 16,1990 Peel Session at 26:13 into the stream on this page. That's some big-ass SG rock right there. Meanwhile, Bill Janovitz continues his "Cover of the Whenever" series with Merle Haggard and Elvis Costello covers in the past week.

Buffalo Tom: Intertubes | MySpace | Facebook | Twitter
Bill Janovitz: Intertubes | Blog

R.E.M.: They've just announced that they shan't be touring behind their upcoming record, Collapse Into Now - also to be released on March 8th (this is sounding like a really good day). Disappointing, but for now we can take solace in how great the new tracks they've been doling out on-line sound. You can hear "Discoverer," "Oh My Heart," "It Happened Today," and "Mine Smell Like Honey" over at REMHQ right now, and they've just put up "Uberlin" at the HuffPo (for some reason) this morning. So far it's been a mix of the talky vocals of latter-day R.E.M., the edgy guitar return of Accelerate, the catchy poppy moments they managed to squeeze onto the regrettable dark period, and, with "Uberlin" the welcome return of some of the folkier elements of Out of Time and Automatic For The People.

SONIC YOUTH and BLACK KEYS: The PBS institution Austin City Limits has been including more and more indie and alt rock (or whatever genre name you think is appropriate) and making me feel almost as uncomfortable about my age as NPR has by including more and more bands that I like. This week, this means that Sonic Youth is on. You can watch the whole episode that they share with the Black Keys here. Don't be afraid to dig through those archives, either. Lots of great full episodes in there, including recent shows by Cheap Trick, Alejandro Escovedo, and Spoon, as well as 1974's premiere episode with Willie Nelson.

MERGE RECORDS: They really ought to just sell subscriptions where you just get all of their releases, because they've been that consistent. Streaming right now at the Merge homepage are upcoming releases by Apex Manor, the new project by former Broken West guy, Ross Flournoy (which is terrific), and East River Pipe. Meanwhile, label bosses Superchunk have just done a session with Chicago Public Radio's Sound Opinions (see?!) from which there are also some great videos over here.

-Michael Piantigini

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