The week in music: Parquet Courts slows down on new track

Parquet Courts released its second song from the band’s upcoming album, Sunbathing Animal, and it’s not what you might expect. Instant Disassembly is a slow, simmering song clocking in at more than 7 minutes.

It’s a departure from the band’s earlier, more manic sound as well as the record’s title track, which was released in April. (Also check out the song Black and White, which was performed on Late Night With Seth Meyers earlier this month.) So far, so good. The record comes out June 3.

The week in music: Ex-Vivian Girl makes her best solo record

When the Vivian Girls broke up earlier this year, we were assured that the band’s side projects (thankfully) would live on. On her third album as La Sera, ex-Vivian Girl Katy Goodman makes her best and most consistent solo record yet. Hour of the Dawn is tight, fast-paced and rocking. While sometimes breezy and summery, Hour of the Dawn features guitars galore. There are no throw-out tracks on the album. It’s really good from the opening ripper, Losing to the Dark, to the heavy closing son Storm’s End. This album is highly recommended.

Riot Fest is a music geek’s dream

Riot Fest announced its Chicago lineup this week and it’s a fantastic mix of old and new (though it skews toward older bands). At the top of the bill for the three-day event in September: The Cure, Jane’s Addiction, the National, Rise Against, Weezer, Flaming Lips, Social Distortion, Slayer, the Offspring and Wu-Tang Clan.

But a festival falls apart pretty easily if the earlier shows are duds. That’s not the case here. Punk pioneers like the Buzzcocks and Stiff Little Fingers are playing the middle of the lineup. The schedule includes ’80s and  ’90s stalwarts like Descendents and Mudhoney, legends such as Patti Smith, Paul Weller and Thurston Moore, Chicago’s very own Naked Raygun and the great Superchunk. Even forgotten bands like Hot Snakes makes an appearance. It’s a music geek’s dream. The history of punk and indie music is acted out live over three days.

Some of the best current indie artists are performing as well, including the National, Kurt Vile and Wavves. A couple of members of Pussy Riot will play as well. The fest is September 12-14 at Humboldt Park. There are also a few more bands that haven’t been announced yet.

New music Tuesday: Curtis Harding’s Soul Power

HardingAfter hearing the first single, Keep on Shining, and seeing the black and white album cover of Curtis Harding taking a deep drag of his smoke, I figured I’m set for a journey into classic 1970s-style soul. I was half right.

Harding’s debut, Soul Power, is gritty, big soul and R&B but it also packs a lot more. In addition to some great soul tracks, there’s a bit of blues-tinged rock (Drive My Car) and even a little garage pop (I Don’t Wanna Go Home, Surf). This is an interesting and diverse album from Harding, an Atlanta-based singer and guitarist who learned to love music performing gospel music as a child.