by kevin diamond

Tuesday, May 26th marks one of the more epoch album release dates of 2009. While a few of these LP’s have already reached web prominence, today we brand them with approved QC ratings (alongside mini reviews) in conjunction with their official release. It’s a fine day to hit a record store.


Grizzly Bear have made two prior albums of musically ambitious, atmospheric, orchestrated pop, but have yet to create a string of songs with as much accessibility as Veckatimest. Best of all, the haven’t forgotten the attributes that make them Grizzly Bear: soaring melodies, booming yet gentle drums, quivering strings, and an approach to pop music that reminds me more of a composer’s approach to a movie score.

It’s this attention to detail, this intricate orchestration, that propels this to a 5Q album. The vinyl provides the perfect amount of warmth for an album that can give you chills or set your heart at ease, often within the same song. Congratulations are in order for Grizzly Bear, who, with Veckatimest, Have been propelled into a sort of indie-rock big league. It’ll be fun to see how they adjust.

Artist: Grizzly Bear
Song: Cheerleader


There’s a type of pop music that exists on the line between cheese and brilliance, and Phoenix have been guarding the brilliance side for a while now. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix might be the ultimate expression of this french band’s manifesto: catchy, well produced, shiny and new; the perfect album to blast from car speakers or experience in a summer festival setting. Like, say, Primavera or Bonnaroo, both of which they’re playing this summer, among other shows and festivals.

Artist: Phoenix
Song: 1901


Black Moth Super Rainbow’s rubbery, sunny, yet cryptic style is unique, to say the least. But there’s a certain point when all their tunes start bleeding into each other. After eagerly digesting their last album, Dandelion Gum, and seeing them twice live, I found myself tuning out when I played this album. There’s nothing overtly terrible about it, They just haven’t done enough to distinguish it from the rest of their work. In fact several times while listening I had to double check to make sure I hadn’t played Dandelion Gum by mistake. That being said, this album is not without it’s merits. With hints of Stereolab and a dash of hip-hop flavor, Eating Us could be a great semi-ambient iPod selection for a stoned summers walk through a breezy park. Keep it around for a few months and see what you discover in it’s psychedelic camouflage.

Artist: Black Moth Super Rainbow
Song: Gold Splatter

Bachelorette: My Electric Family [Drag City]
Bike for Three!: More Heart Than Brains [Anticon]
Black Moth Super Rainbow: Eating Us [Graveface]
City Center: City Center [Type]
Finn: The Best Low-Priced Heartbreakers You Can Own [Erased Tapes]
Grizzly Bear: Veckatimest [Warp]
The Lava Children: The Lava Children [Graveface]
Lindstrom & Prins Thomas: II [Eskimo]
Loxsly: Tomorrow’s Fossils [Little Mafia]
The Paper Chase: Someday This Could All Be Yours [Kill Rock Stars]
Phoenix: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix [Glassnote/Loyaute]
Scratch: Loss 4 Wordz [!K7]
Sharon Van Etten: Because I Was in Love [Language of Stone]
Sir Richard Bishop: The Freak of Araby [Drag City]
Viva Voce: Rose City [Barsuk]

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