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New Music Monday: Desaparecidos

new music monday desaparecidos
Desaparecidos-Payola-albumcoverConor Oberst’s Desaparecidos are returning with their sophomore album, Payola, thirteen years after their debut came out. The band’s new full-length arrives via Epitaph on June 23rd.

Though it has been over a decade since the band last put out a full-length record they are picking up right where they off with their melodic brand of punk. It is an invigorating sound that combines well with Oberst’s lyrics. While his other projects—namely the music he has released as Bright Eyes and under his own name—waxes introspective, Desaparecidos are vigorously political. The opening three tracks, for example, are titled “The Left is Right,” “Underground Man,” and “City on the Hill.”

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Desaparecidos - "The Left is Right"

Desaparecidos reunited in 2010 and have been releasing singles and performing since. In fact, all three opening tracks were released as singles, with “City on the Hill” the most recent of the tracks to come out. The video only premiered this past April. The other two tracks were both initially released last year as 7″s and paired with other songs featured on the album.

Desaparecidos - "City On The Hill"

A number of those songs address specific events of the past few years. “The Left is Right” explicitly brings up the Occupy Movement, and “Anonymous” focuses on the hacker group of the same name. In the hands of a less skilled lyricist these topics could easily have been addressed inadequately, but Oberst’s songs have held up over the past two years and will likely maintain their relevance in the future. “The Left is Right” and “Anonymous” may address two timely issues, but the songs’ take on the two movements is not at all dated.

Desaparecidos - "Anonymous"

Desaparecidos are not a band that deal in subtlety, but their energy is contagious and backed with Oberst’s excellent lyrics. Payola is a strong comeback from a much loved punk band and makes for interesting listening for anyone curious to hear the less introspective, more political side of Conor Oberst.

Payola is available through Amazon, iTunes, and Epitaph.

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New Music Monday: Alberta Cross
new music monday alberta cross

Last Friday, October 16th, Alberta Cross released their third full-length and Dine Alone Records debut. The album is self-titled, which is an appropriate choice considering that it marks something of a new beginning for bandleader Petter Ericson Stakee. In 2013, about a year after Alberta Cross's sophomore album, Songs of Patience, came out, founding bassist Terry Wolfers left the band. This meant Stakee was the sole original member and allowed him to move the project in directions it might not have gone with Wolfers.

Stakee notes, "This is the first time I've done everything myself,” he says. “It kind of brought it back to where I'd started. I'm excited now because I've taken it back. I made this record...I wrote all the songs. It's a fresh start for me. That's why it's self-titled.” Many of the songs on Alberta Cross add vibrant horns to a folky, southern rock sound. That includes the second track, "Ghost of Santa Fe," which indirectly addresses Stakee's solitude in creating the album. "Santa Fe's" lyrics deal with searching, for ghosts, the past, and himself.

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New Music Monday: Mount Moriah
new music monday mount moriah nmm

Durham, North Carolina's Mount Moriah play a brooding, beautiful combination of folk and southern rock. Last Friday (October 9th), the three-piece released a new 7" on Merge in anticipation of the announcement of their third album's release. With only three tracks and clocking in at under 15 minutes, "Calvander" and "Baby Blue (Garage Demo)" b/w "Plane (Live)" makes for a quick, but intense listen.

A wise man once said, "Specificity is the soul of narrative," and Mount Moriah's music embodies that idea to a tee. Vocalist Heather McEntire's impressive voice and storytelling skills paint intimate portraits of life in the contemporary South. Though the immediate scope of the lyrics rarely leaves the interpersonal, it does not need to to show the struggle between new, progressive traditions and entrenched, conservative ones.

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New Music Monday: Saintseneca
Saintseneca Artist photo

Saintseneca, who released their sophomore full-length a little over a year ago, return this Friday (October 9th) with a new album, Such Things, on Anti-. Songwriter and frontman Zac Little spreads his wings on the record, launching from where he left off on that sophomore record. Dark Arc followed a straight if brooding path, but Such Things is both lighter and more inclined to follow new paths on its tracks.

That lightness comes from Little's willingness to explore pop melodies and occasionally kick the tempo of a song into overdrive. He notes, "I was pushing myself with Such Things to try to explore the pop motif further, to try to use and bend that formula of having a groove, a beat, locking in and using that as scaffolding to build a song." His exploration of the "pop motif" comes to fruition throughout the album, but never more successfully than on single "Sleeper Hold." Bandmate Maryn Jones takes the lead on vocals as the rest of the band rocks out on their various instruments until the chorus comes along with a veritable eruption of noise.

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