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Summer albums not to miss

By Staff | May 26, 2009

May 19

Tori Amos – Abnormally Attracted to Sin

Eminem – Relapse

Iron and Wine – Around the Well

Passion Pit – Manners

John Vanderslice – Romanian Names

White Rabbits – It’s Frightening

“Rainwater Cassette Exchange” — Deerhunter

The title track to “Rainwater Cassette Exchange” has an almost calypso verse, which may be a hint they’ve been borrowing ideas from former tour mates Animal Collective. It’s the only song on the record that relies wholly on studio-driven atmospherics for its effect. “Disappearing Ink” displays Deerhunter’s normal ability to provide more emotion out of a few simple chords than any amount of guitar virtuosity ever showcased. As a whole, the short EP doesn’t come close to matching the post-shoegaze intensity of their two previous albums. The execution is a little stiff, and frontman Bradford Cox seems to forget what made the band great to begin with: attitude.  Too many of the tracks are playful and even optimistically upbeat. But what’s here is still enough to provide your summer with plenty of amped road trips. It’s the perfect summer pop companion, but don’t expect much substance.

May 25

“Veckatimest” — Grizzly Bear

“Veckatimest” is the name of a small, uninhabited island off the coast of Massachusetts. Grizzly Bear culled a fascination for this mysterious land mass during the recording process and decided it was a weird enough to name to be on the cover of their sophomore LP. The band’s first proper album, “Yellow House,” was a whirlwind of a release, and its first single, “The Knife,” resurrected psychedelic ‘60s pop-rock via The Yardbirds, but with a modern tenacity that inspired Girl Talk to remix it. “Veckatimest” may receive the same treatment once it’s released.  The band has vowed to plow on with its highly inventive sound, and with an extreme budget and a long wait time, fans should not be disappointed. Many interviews with the band have suggested that this record will act as a swan song. With special guests of all kinds, including a church choir, there’s no reason to believe otherwise. With pop gems “Two Weeks” and “While You Wait for the Others” already receiving heavy airplay on Youtube and college radio, it’s safe to say this will be a landmark year for these fine young men from Brooklyn.

June 1

Franz Ferdinand – Blood

Gala – Tough Love EP

Patrick Wolf – The Bachelor

June 2

311 – Uplifter

Elvis Costello – Secret, Profane & Sugarcane

Dave Matthews Band – Whiskey and the Groogrux King

Iggy Pop – Preliminaires

Rancid – Dominos Fall

Taking Back Sunday – New Again

Vanessa Williams – The Real Thing

June 9

“The Eternal” — Sonic Youth

It’s funny, the only member of Sonic Youth who still understands what they’re trying to do is the eldest of the bunch, singer/bassist Kim Gordon. Nearing 60, she seems like she should be on the Yoko Ono path, performing spoken word and performance art in an upscale coffee house full of aging beatniks. Surprisingly, her voice sounds just as youthful and raspy as it did during the recording of “Daydream Nation,” and maybe more refined than ever. Members Thurston Moore and Lee Ronaldo, on the other hand, instill the album with faux vigor, creeping in and out of a pallid lounge act that doesn’t leave much hope for the band’s future. A few of the tracks are already up on Myspace, and each one, besides Gordon’s contribution, “Sacred Trickster,” fails to excite. Switching from a major label to an independent doesn’t always mean reinvention, and this album will most likely prove to be Sonic Youth’s equivalent to “Let it Be,” only not nearly as good. Buy it if you’re a fan.

Contact Patrick at pdolan@graffitiwv.com