For Mount Eerie’s latest LP, principal driving force Phil Elverum made a deliberately literal collection of existential folk-rock, sort of like Calvin (sans Hobbes) re-imagining the recent output of Mark Kozelek.
Part of the fun of California Nights — and don’t get it wrong, the album is on a proud par with their first two — comes from the link Cosentino and Bruno draw between introspection and universality.
Where The Monitor was a punk rock Born to Run for a different generation, full of sprawling “Jungleland” revamps, The Most Lamentable Tragedy is an epic of different means. It’s comprised of the punchiest, most direct songs this band has yet unleashed.
From a purely musical standpoint, Vile’s at his most varied here, dabbling with piano and banjo in places and eschewing the gold-toned guitar that dominated his fifth full-length, 2013’s fawned-over Wakin on a Pretty Daze.
His paranoia is as thick as Drake's on the similarly inward If You're Reading This It's Too Late, from earlier this year. However, I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside is a much leaner, less showy effort (Drake is an actor, Earl decidedly is not), and Earl turns his pen on himself, too, not just everybody else.
It’s a triumph of Grimes as gloriously and unapologetically DIY producer, a pop singer politically and emotionally invested in your knowing that she made this all on her own — as if anything workshopped with a team of songwriters could sound so bracing and unpredictable.
Though it’s easily his best and most powerful album since 2005’s Illinois, it never quite reaches the same sweeping highs of that epic concept album. But this effort is a success on its own terms, hushed as they may be.
It’s an approach they’ve taken time and again, but Depression Cherry’s particular non-specifics feel as full of breath and life as anything they’ve ever done — an album-length sigh as eloquent as a manifesto.
There’s nothing not country about every step she takes; what separates and sends Musgraves soaring higher than her peers is her writing — the storytelling on Pageant Material could fill a memoir, secondary sources and all.
Fading Frontier ... certainly belongs in any discussion of their best. It’s a portrait of the young men as adult artists; it’s the closest equivalent to a major-label debut for an era when a band might as well stay independent.
Staples’ wickedly backward upbringing is the focus of Summertime ’06, which could well be the fiercest, most ferociously focused street-oriented double rap album since UGK’s Underground Kingz.
The result is the purest — and most complex — distillation of everything that makes the band such a nearly physical pleasure to listen to, whether it’s the sprawling riffs found on their 2010 debut, Innerspeaker, or this album’s taffy-lurid swirls.