NPR is streaming brand new albums this week from Hospitality (who perform Feb 5 in the Entry), Quilt (Feb 7 in the Entry), and Dum Dum Girls (April 1 at the Triple Rock). Click through the links below to check out each band's latest before their upcoming Minneapolis shows:
NPR First Listen: Hospitality - Trouble
On its self-titled debut, the charming Brooklyn pop-rock band Hospitality burst out of the gate like a batch of 4.0 GPA indie-rock students, not unlike their forerunning New York City bros in Vampire Weekend. With songs that crushed out on coworkers and wrapped heartache in cheap dresses, frontwoman Amber Papini managed a balancing act of post-collegiate insouciance and soul, channeling The Velvet Undergound's prettier moments with knowing, Belle & Sebastian-style naivete. More than one observer described Hospitality by invoking a cardigan. By comparison, the band's second album is more of a leather jacket. Listen to "I Miss Your Bones," whose muscular staccato suggests a geekier version of The Who circa The Who Sell Out, with Papini's minimalist New York City guitar blowing smoke rings alongside bandmate (and husband) Nathan Michel's Keith Moon-y drum outburst.
NPR First Listen: Quilt - Held in Splendor
Quilt is the perfect name for this band, whose every song seems to seamlessly knit together at least three distinct tunes. There's a sense of adventure, shifting perspectives and surprise in these pop treasures, each of which feels like a long jam distilled to its essence. At their heart are harmonies and guitars that recall the golden age of The Byrds, whose own high, ringing guitar tones were mixed with two- and three-part vocal harmonies. In Quilt, those harmonies primarily belong to Shane Butler and Anna Fox Rochinski, who also play the guitar lines that intertwine with their voices. In addition to arranging strings, drummer John Andrews often lends a third voice. Held in Splendor is the second album from this band of visual artists, who found each other at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
NPR First Listen: Dum Dum Girls - Too True
Dee Dee Penny and her band Dum Dum Girls made their name on primitivism, only to demolish the expectations they'd created for themselves. Even the name Dum Dum Girls suggests adherence to the garage-bound basics, and the group's early recordings follow suit. But the new Too True is different: A streamlined record, it borrows the cool, plainspoken efficiency of its predecessors while slickening and smartening the songs themselves. Too True finds Penny calling on the assistance of Richard Gottehrer (who wrote "My Boyfriend's Back," "Hang On Sloopy" and "I Want Candy," among others) and The Raveonettes' Sune Rose Wagner, both of whom know their way around garage-rock — and both of whom help Dum Dum Girls split the difference between the guitar-fueled rumble of a '60s basement and the synth-friendly shimmer of an '80s studio. But the additional polish never overwhelms the songwriting.