Five albums to grab now: Cass McCombs, Angel Olsen, Preoccupations, Cymbals Eat Guitars, the Growlers

Cass McCombs

Cass McCombs and Angel Olsen are two of the most interesting American singer-songwriters to emerge in recent years. Fortunately, they both recently delivered new albums that are standouts. These two releases lead the Five Albums to Grab Now.

Also don’t pass by Preoccupations, the newly named band formerly known as Viet Cong. Cymbals Eat Guitars and the Growlers also recently turned out fine albums.

Cass McCombs – Mangy Love

Angel Olsen – My Woman

Preoccupations – Preoccupations

Cymbals Eat Guitars – Pretty Years

The Growlers – City Club

Punk spotlight: Leather Towel’s debut

leather-towel

Australia’s Leather Towel is made up of members of other bands (at least seven, according to the group’s publicity materials). Towel IV is the debut on the mighty Chicago label HoZac.

Fronting the band is Jake Robertson, who also leads the weird and interesting Ausmuteants. While Ausmuteants is sort of a modern Devo, Leather Towel is a more straightforward punk band. A brisk 12 songs in 18 minutes, this one is recommended.

Five albums to grab now: Dinosaur Jr., Nots, Ex-Cult, the Hecks, Psychic Heat

Nots

Above: Nots

From the mid- to late ’80s, Dinosaur Jr. was a phenomenal band but when J Mascis pushed Lou Barlow out at the end of the decade, the group lost its magic.

Fortunately, in 2005, the original lineup reunited and it has been going strong since. The band’s latest album leads this edition of Five Albums to Grab Now.

Also check out strong albums from Nots, Ex-Cult, the Hecks and Psychic Heat.

Dinosaur Jr. – Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not

Nots – Cosmetic

Ex-Cult – Negative Growth

The Hecks – The Hecks

Psychic Heat – Sunshower

Punk spotlight: Ex-Cult’s Negative Growth

Ex-Cult

Ex-Cult

Ex-Cult frontman Chris Shaw sounds great on the side project, GØGGS, with fellow rocker Ty Segall.

Shaw also turned out another strong Ex-Cult album this year (with recording help from Segall).

On Negative Growth, Ex-Cult’s music feels like a throwback to hardcore punk’s early years. Yet the band’s sound is distinct, immediate and highly compelling.