Not too indie these days, but here’s what I’m spinning.
Beck — Morning Phase
Melodic. Bluesy. Layers upon layers of vocals. Americana. Textured. Reverb-drenched. Morning Phase is the record that finally harnessed my attention on Beck’s work. Standout tracks include “Waking Light,” “Say Goodbye,” “Wave,” and “Blue Moon.”
The Hold Steady — Teeth Dreams
Musically, The Hold Steady has always felt at home near the angsty rock of my teenage years. Loud overdriven guitars meet energetic drum beats. What sets the band apart is the storytelling of vocalist, Craig Finn—more spoken word than melody. Teeth Dreams sees the band focus on the melodies, even adding some chorus every once in awhile. “Spinners” is a keeper.
S. Carey — Range Of Light
A backing band member in Bon Iver, S. Carey builds upon the frost-bit ambiance of Justin Vernon, adding instrument upon instrument to textured tunes. Range of Light is not a catchy record. It’s much better mood music. But don’t let its “background-music vibe” fool you, there’s a high level of musicianship in each measure. “Crown the Pines” and “Fire-scene” are the highlights.
Aloe Blacc — Lift Your Spirit
I know; I know. Aloe Blacc is radically overplayed right now. “The Man” is everywhere. “Wake Me Up” has that annoying country-soul-dance mashup (the album version is just acoustic and much better). It might be best labeled as a guilty pleasure but I can’t get enough of this record. I like the overplayed singles, but deeper tracks such as “Here Today” and “Ticking Bomb” shows the quality of Lift Your Spirit.