“Raising the Skate”—Speedy Ortiz
“I’m not bossy, I’m the boss,” sings Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie Dupuis on “Raising the Skate,” the second track from the Massachusetts quartet’s new album “Foil Deer.” As unabashedly feminist as it is catchy, this tune will keep you on their toes with barbed turns of phrase and a wealth of zigzagging, bright guitar riffs. Speedy Ortiz will be at the Grog Shop on April 29 touring in support of “Foil Deal.” Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $12.
“Living Zoo”—Built To Spill
Showing no signs of wear on “Living Zoo,” indie rock heroes Built To Spill may as well have called themselves “Built to Last”. Continuing to churn out jangle goodness after nearly two decades in the game, the rich guitar interplay and nasally vocals of Doug Martsch on this track sound just as fresh as they did 1993. “Untethered Moon” is Built To Spill’s eighth studio album and can be found wherever music is sold and streamed starting on April 21.
The opening bars of “Emily” immediately recall the somber darkness of The National, as San Fermin’s Ellis Ludwig-Leone sultry baritone shares a startling similarity to Matt Berninger’s vocal weapon of choice. As the melody and groove of this track push to the forefront, however, this chamber pop song quickly transforms into an utterly unique listening experience, bringing oft-absent classical influences and theatricality into the fold of electro-indie. Look for “Emily” on San Fermin’s second album, “Jackrabbit,” available on Downtown Records April 21.
In a week likely to be dominated by the music of neo-soul pioneers Alabama Shakes and their terrific new LP “Sound & Color,” we would do well to remember the veterans that crafted the genre in the first place. Mavis Staples’ husky voice has been at the forefront of roots and soul music for the last 60 years and with good reason: It is excellent. New songs like “Fight,” one of four tracks just released on her new EP, “Your Good Fortune,” out April 21, demonstrate this winning character in Staples’ voice in spades.
“Dark Bird Is Home”—The Tallest Man On Earth
Despite the fact that he stands at a modest 5-foot-7, Kristian Matsson, also known by his stage name, The Tallest Man On Earth, is a giant in contemporary folk music. With a soulful, gravelly voice that evokes Bob Dylan, Matsson’s storytelling and songwriting ability are simply stunning on “Dark Bird Is Home,” the title track from his forthcoming fourth album. Find it on Dead Oceans Records on May 12.
Retro Pick of the Week:
“I Left My Wallet in El Segundo”—A Tribe Called Quest
Bringing together the formidable rap talents of MCs Q-Tip, Phife Dawg and Jarobi White with DJ Ali Shaheed Muhammad, A Tribe Called Quest began a quiet revolution within non-commercial hip-hop in the 1990s. With an incomparably original flow and thoughtful jazz-inflected beats, the group was ceaselessly imaginative and restless, qualities displayed on tracks like “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo.” Rap has rarely ever sounded better, cooler or fresher.
Teddy Eisenberg is a third-year programmer at WRUW-FM 91.1 Cleveland. He hosts The ’59 Sound, an exploration of rock music, every Thursday morning from 8-10 a.m. and co-hosts the variety talk show Max and Teddy in the Morning at Night (Sometimes) on Mondays from 5-6 p.m. The crackle of vinyl warms him on cold Cleveland nights.