Bear in Heaven — I Love You, It's Cool
Way back in, like, 2005 or something, when I spent an inordinate amount of my time compiling listings for this magazine (we used to have listings!), and then writing hundreds of bitchy little blurbs about them, I remember listing a Bear in Heaven show and not bothering to listen to them before writing the blurb. Instead, I just wrote "Beyond the door, there's peace I'm sure. And I know there'll be no more bears in heaven." I was pretty proud of that at the time, and I suppose I (obviously) still am, but slightly less so now that I've realized I actually quite like Bear in Heaven, a long-running Brooklyn band that's become a reliable source for far-reaching electronic pop that's equally heavy on atmosphere and melody. Their new album, I Love You, It's Cool, feels a bit more straightforward than 2010's Beast Rest Forth Mouth, with songs that take a more linear path from the outset, but it's a pleasure nonetheless.
The Fact That Madonna Named Her Terrible New Album MDNA
The album itself, if you were wondering, is a near total trainwreck, with way, way, way too many of the would-be club hits that put her in that awkward vocal space where she winds up sounding like a super weird, old and unrelatable robot, and not nearly enough tracks where she just gets to apply her massive personality to classic pop hooks. (There's also a song called "Gang Bang," which is fucking hilarious, obviously.)
Miike Snow — Happy To You
The second album from Swedish trio Miike Snow comes a full three years after their good but sort of low-impact self-titled debut. Happy to You sees the band taking further strides away from their roots as producers—the songs feel more full-formed this time out, taking many of the unexpected turns they didn't bother with on the first album, where they almost seemed to be waiting for the inevitable remixes to add all the character after the fact.
If you are a nerd who pays attention to this sort of thing, you probably already know that Saddle Creek Records is doing a bunch of vinyl reissues of early Bright Eyes albums this year, but for the rest of you: they are. A Collection of Songs and Oh Holy Fools, the split EP Oberst and the gang released with the much underrated Son Ambulance, came out back in the beginning of March, and now we get into the meat of his catalog, with Letting Off the Happiness and the Every Day and Every Night EP, original vinyl copies of which are fetching a pretty penny on eBay. Worth your money, no doubt, but be sure to save some for Fevers and Mirrors, which is being re-released on May 1.
Best Coast—The Only Place
I'll likely have much more to say about this album when it's released on May 15th, but the title-track from Best Coast's Jon Brion-produced sophomore LP is basically everything I wanted it to be: sunshiny and full of hooks, but also more refined and more willing to showcase Bethany Cosentino's considerable vocal talents.
Bob Weir and the Bridge Session
This is a weird one: Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir played a short set out in California last week, backed by Brooklyn all-stars Aaron Dessner and Brian and Scott Devendorf of The National, plus members of The Walkmen, Takka Takka and Doveman. Mind-blowingly, The National's "Fake Empire" was among the songs performed. There's video, so just go ahead and ask the internet.
Perfume Genius at Glasslands on April 5
It's going to be soooo quiet in there. (Also beautiful and heartbreaking.)