Few recent artists have transitioned from lo-fi to hi-fi better than Kurt Vile, whose latest album, Wakin on a Pretty Daze, is another winner from the Philly-based musician, full of long, languid songs that feel spacious but not aimless. A sense of space also guides Clinic's psych-pop offering Free Reign; in fact, the group just released an alternate collection, Free Reign II, with the original album's songs reconfigured in an appropriately mind-expanding fashion by Oneohtrix Point Never's Daniel Lopatin. More tightly constructed is Shout Out Louds' album Optica. The Swedish band's new release fuses elements of disco and chamber pop into lively, addictive tunes.
Like Vile, Mikal Cronin is also making the move from low to high fidelity look easy. Cronin's been making great music for a while now, solo and as a member of Moonhearts and Ty Segall's band, but MCII, arriving on Merge Records, feels like the big screen debut of a real power pop talent. Meanwhile, Sacramento's Tera Melos just released a new album of frenzied, mathy rock called X'ed Out and are embarking on a US tour to support. With new records also arriving recently from Cool Ghouls and Metal Mother, it's certainly a busy time for Bay Area bands.
Enjoy the podcast and then go see some shows!
About the bands:
Grouper -- "Vital"
Joined by Ilyas Ahmed, Grouper performs at the Hemlock Tavern on May 28 with Danny Paul Grody and Irwin Swirnoff