Playlist of the Week: Jan. 30, 2015

“Then Came the Morning”—The Lone Bellow
The clouds open in the first few seconds of “Then Came the Morning,” revealing the sunny, blue-eyed soul vocals of Brian Elmquist and Kanene Doheney Pipkin that immediately lift this track off the ground. After the excitement that The Lone Below’s self-titled debut garnered in 2013, “Then Came the Morning” is certainly not a sophomore slump, with gorgeous arrangements that establish the trio’s trademark “Brooklyn country music” identity. Look for this album on Descendant Records Jan. 27.

“Magnet”—Punch Brothers
Fans of the group Nickel Creek may know the Punch Brothers as Chris Thile’s side group, but sophisticated songs like “Magnet” prove that this group plays second fiddle to no one in the contemporary bluegrass community. On their fifth album, “The Phosphorescent Blues,” the quintet nimbly navigate between pop miniatures like “Magnet” and complex progressive pieces with an epic ebb and flow that will grab listeners and leave them breathless.

“Black Sun”—Death Cab for Cutie
Indie rock institution Death Cab for Cutie is slated to release its next album, “Kintsugi,” in the next few months; this will be the last with longtime guitar player and producer Chris Walla. Perhaps intentionally, the weight of such a departure weighs heavily on the bittersweet, echoing ballad “Black Sun.” While this track still sounds like the Death Cab we have come to know and love, the chugging bassline and distorted, edge-like guitar solo indicate that something has changed. We will have to wait until March 31 to know whether or not it’s for the better or for the worse.

“Empty Nesters”—Tori Y Moi
“Understand the purpose of making everything around you better,” sings Chaz Bundick on Toro Y Moi’s latest single. This is a message that the irresistible, swirling “Empty Nesters” takes to heart, showcasing Bundick’s genre-bending talent with a funky drum breaks and a bright guitar sheen that could easily pass for Pavement or Tame Impala. Search for this tune on the album, “What For?,” due out on Carpark Records on April 7.

“Orchard Thieves”—Oldboy
Cleveland’s own, Oldboy deliver an authentic and earthy blend of folk-rock that rivals the Avett Brothers and puts Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros to shame. Two of the groups members, Shawn Brewster and Shelby Sangdahl, will release their debut EP as the duo Shawn & Shelby at the Happy Dog at the Euclid Tavern on Jan. 30. Cover charge is $5 and the concert starts at 9 p.m.

Retro Pick of the Week:
“Not Too Soon”—Throwing Muses
Fusing a rush of swirling guitar pop with the unique vocals of Kristin Hersh, Throwing Muses is easily one of the most influential alternative bands of the early 1990s. “Not Too Soon” is, in many ways, the group’s quintessential song, highlighting the best parts of their sound. Thus this tune is a perfect starting point for new fans and highly recommended for fans of Best Coast, Dum Dum Girls and chick rock in general.

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.