Adventures in 2013 Music, Pt. 8:
- I hadn’t listened to any of their post-reunion albums before this one, so color me surprised that Guided By Voices’s English Little League—their fourth in two years, with surely more to come—is even at its worst compulsively listenable. At its best, as on Tobin Sprout’s cheesy and awesome “Islands (She Talks in Rainbows),” it’s even moreso, and touching to boot both for its lyrics and for the aging band’s earnest efforts. The hype has died down on this classic lineup’s 21st century return and their albums, including this one, have been coolly received. But good songwriting has the power to reverse that trend—just listen.
- Ducktails’s The Flower Lane has been the one album to get consistent rotation from me since the start of the year. It’s not perfect—frontman Matt Mondanile’s decision to close out on the tuneless “Academy Avenue” is particularly frustrating—but it is song-for-song my favorite album of the year, consistently catchy and smooth. It even includes an update on Destroyer’s own middling update on Prefab Sprout: “Under Cover,” he calls it. “Under…do you want to go under…the covers?” goes its lyrical refrain.