Tuesday Touts (May 27, 2014)

I hope everyone had a great long weekend. Here is a bunch of music to get you started for the week.

“Afraid Of Nothing” by Sharon Van Etten: Van Etten’s fascinating new album, Are We There, comes out today. This is the gorgeous, atmospheric opening track, which seems to hang in mid-air without moving, a pretty good match for the relationship the lyrics describe. Van Etten’s voice is just mesmerizing on this track and throughout the album. Check out my review of Are We There at American Songwriter, and check out this lovely track below.

Our Year by Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison: This married duo is well-known to country and roots music fans from their solo careers, but their second album-length collaboration, Our Year, arrives today. It’s full of great song choices and effortless harmonies. I reviewed this one as well for American Songwriter, and it’s a nice collection. The title track, a Zombies cover, is the finest track, but I couldn’t find a link. Instead, here’s the duo’s feisty cover of “Harper Valley PTA.”

“Instant Disassembly” by Parquet Courts: They don’t get much buzzier than this band, whose “Stoned And Starving” was ubiquitous a year ago and whose new album Sunbathing Album arrives to great anticipation a week from now. This new single, a great rambler that sounds like an update on Dylan’s “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues,” should deservedly increase the hype. The lyrics are alternately humorous and heartbreaking, a jaunty guitar riff the narrator’s only friend. Here is the SoundCloud link.

“The English And Western Stallion” by Freeman: In case you don’t recognize the band name, it’s taken from Aaron Freeman, who, once upon a time, was known as Gene Ween from the band Ween. All of that is just trivia; what counts here is the stirring pop on display on this new single, a fantastic melody and crisp arrangement providing some serious catchiness. Freeman self-titled new album doesn’t arrive ’til July, but this is a great way to kick things off.

The Reconsider Me Tout of the Week- Some Fantastic Place by Squeeze: There are a bunch of Squeeze albums that deserve reconsideration, as the band’s popularity, especially in America, never bounced back after unlikely hit single “Hourglass.” I’m fond of this ’93 release, which reunites the core members with Paul Carrack, who sang the classic “Tempted” for the band and sings lead on this album on “Loving You Tonight,” featured in the link below. The songwriting smarts of Chris Tifford and Glenn Tilbrook are undeniable on this album, so check it out if you haven’t already.

(E-mail with your own Touts at countdownkid@hotmail.com or follow me on Twitter @JimBeviglia. My new book, Counting Down Bruce Springsteen: His 100 Finest Songs, arrives in June, but you can pre-order now at all major online booksellers.)





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