Welcome to another edition of Sound Bites, our economy-sized album reviews. This week, Andy Thomas weighs in on five recent national releases from Bon Iver (pictured left), Cheap Girls, Frank Turner, Papermoons and Lemuria after the jump.
Bon Iver, For Emma, Forever Ago (Jagjaguwar). For Emma, epitomizes the isolation and despair that comes after a break up. Justin Veron's wavering falsetto pleads to a former lover who he knows is no longer there, but still wishes was. "Who will love you?" He asks on "Skinny Love." From the sound of this album, it is tragically clear the answer never came.
Cheap Girls, Find Me a Drink Home (Bermuda Mohawk). Boozy, hopeless bar rock hasn't sounded this good since a man named Westerburg spit smoke laced poetry as the Leader of the Replacements. Lacking some of the fire the Mats had, but replacing it with sweet, Smoking Popes style sentiment, it's hard not to smile even when the music is asking you not to.
Frank Tuner, Love Ire and Song (Xtra Mile Recordings Limited). Though there is no shortage of former punkers picking up acoustic guitars and going folky, Frank Turner may be better than them all. Lyrically, Ire is so personal and unique that it will never be able to be mimicked by anyone. This is a shame, as Ire should serve as the blueprint for all songwriters to build from.
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Papermoons, New Tales (Team Science). Reminiscnet of an alt-counrty Modest Mouse, this Houston duo pens brilliantly structured songs, with enough insecurity behind them to make you wonder if they care if anyone is listening at all. New Tales features one of the best songs you've never heard, Lazy Bones, which is great whether you listen or not.
Lemuria, Get Better (Asian Man). Like a coed version of Slater Kinney, vocalists Sheena Ozzella and Alexander Kerms tell two perspectives of Lemuria's gilted yet sweet love songs. Lipstick may be the best song about a girl on girl kiss since Jill Sobule's I Kissed a Girl. Sit down Katy Perry!