Playlist of the Week: Aug. 29, 2014

Teddy Eisenberg, Staff Reporter

“Brill Bruisers” — The New Pornographers
After a four-year break, indie rock’s most accomplished supergroup is back with “Brill Bruisers,” the absurdly big-sounding title track from their latest record. It took seven different recording studios to assemble the sounds heard on “Brill Bruisers,” which sounds like too few after hearing to the song’s chugging walls of vocals and thundering drums. If you’re looking to fearlessly take on the world, this album is a recommended indie rock soundtrack.

“Confusion” — Joy
If Black Sabbath and Cream had a love child, Joy would be the result. Guitarist Zachary Oakley’s lead playing is sloppy yet skillful on “Confusion,” giving new meaning to the words thick and distorted. After an endless cycle of solos, including some by Hawkwind’s saxophonist Nik Turner, the song returns to its reckless opening riff in the style of Iron Butterfly’s “In A Gadda Da Vida” just to make sure that you’re still dialed in and listening. Joy’s second album, “Under The Spell of Joy,” was released on Aug. 19 and sounds best played at ear-splitting volume through a mid-priced car stereo.

“Every Morning” — J Mascis
J Mascis is still exploring folksier acoustic pastures on his second solo album, but thankfully for fans of Dinosaur Jr., that doesn’t mean abandoning his trusty electric guitar. “Every Morning” is both a guitar and vocal showcase for Mascis, showing just how much his mumble has improved over the years between the song’s many patented, fuzzed-out solos. “Tied to a Star” was released on Aug. 26 and is another step in an unexpected but agreeable musical evolution.

“90s Music” — Kimbra
“90s Music” finds New Zealand diva Kimbra stretching the boundaries of what pop music can be. With a little help from her friends (Matt Bellamy of Muse and Mark Foster of Foster the People) Kimbra presents a hyperactive pop collage that name drops both TLC and Mary J. Blige. Kimbra’s recently released second studio album “The Golden Echo” lives up to its name, refashioning the best of pop music’s past into something transfixingly modern.

“Tie-Dye (Your Life)” — Literature
At first listen, “Tie-Dye (Your Life)” sounds like most any other indie pop song trying to recreate The Smith’s debut album. Somewhere around the :40 mark, however, the song’s shimmering guitar lines and recessed vocals come together into an impressive, crystalline chorus, reflecting a band that isn’t afraid to work hard to win the listener over. Literature knows and has what it takes to make a short, simple tune really connect, making their newest record “Chorus” a must have for indie pop fans.

Retro Pick of the Week:
“Safe European Home” — The Clash
The snare hit that starts off “Safe European Home” is just as much a wake-up call now as it was in 1978. Throughout its nearly four minute running time, The Clash takes the listener on an incredible sonic journey, marrying complex and urgent guitar riffs with an unforgettable pop hook that fades into oblivion before forcing its way back for one final push. The record label CBS marketed The Clash as “The Only Band That Matters,” and after listening to “Safe European Home,” it’s easy to see why.

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 a.m. – 10 a.m. and co-hosts the variety talk show Max and Teddy in the Morning at Night (Sometimes) on Mondays from 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. The crackle of vinyl warms him on cold Cleveland nights.