The Duke and the King – “Nothing Gold Can Stay”Ramseur Records-due out July 4th4.5 / 5 The opener to this debut album is nothing short of magnificent, calm, composed, and serenely honest. The duo, Simone Felice and Robert Burke, take their stage name from two of Mark Twain’s rapscallions, but here is no trickery or deception; just simple, bare songs. Felice’s vocals are soothing and understated: on “The Morning I Get to Hell,” he demonstrates a soft-spoken passion and wonder, questioning “Where is all my fire,/ My missionary zeal?” “Lose My Self” and “Summer Morning Rain” are both winners as well, with the former’s dreamyRead More →

The Fiery Furnaces – “I’m Going Away”Thrill Jockey– Out now The Furnaces, brother and sister combo Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger, have been known to frustrate typical music aesthetics, as well as the occasional listener, throughout their impressively fruitful six-year career. Their eighth album hearkens to their tradition of bizarre song construction and melody with the two opening tracks, the aggressively avant-garde title track and lull “Drive to Dallas.” While these tracks are more abrasive than amusing, the rest of “I’m Going Away” is filled with strangely satisfying songs, such as the uplifting lilt of “Even in the Rain” and feel-good pop of “Lost at Sea.”Read More →

Band of Skulls – “Baby Darling Doll Face Honey”Artist First-due out July 28 We’ve come to expect a lot from the Brits: funny accents, crooked teeth, and their famous cultural restraint. Band of Skulls is a bit more reminiscent of White Stripes in their harder indie-stylings, and they yield some results: “I Know What I Am,” which almost has a classic-rock straightforward grind, and “Honest,” which diverges from the rest of the album with a beautiful acoustic solemnity.Yet, in their music, there is some restraint keeping them from out-and-out jam and instrumental breakouts, which seems appropriate at several points throughout the album (the otherwise solidRead More →

Just a reminder: The 3rd Annual Molly Finn Battle of the Bands takes place at Ballard Park in Newport this Saturday, July 18th (around 2 pm-ish). And if you’re not in Newport, don’t forget to stick your neck out for the little guy: remember, without local bands, we wouldn’t have Fleet Foxes, crazy mosh pits, and the Fifth Amendment. Rock on!Read More →