This Friday, June 25th, sees the release of Lucy Dacus’ third LP, Home Video, courtesy of Matador. The album chronicles the existential ins and outs of Dacus’ formative years in Richmond, VA. Her fourth and latest single, “Brando,” tells the tale of a high school friend obsessed with Old Hollywood, who framed his life as a cinematic narrative in which Lucy more or less played the role of his co-star. The album has already received praise from the likes of Pitchfork, NYLON, and New York Times, who compare previous single “Hot & Heavy” to Tom Petty’s sounds on Full Moon Fever. Lucy Dacus is about to embark on an extensive tour, whose first date is opening for Shakey Graves tonight at Red Rocks. Her dates include stops at Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks in Bethlehem, opening for Bright Eyes, on July 29th and a headlining date at our very own Union Transfer on October 20th. Watch Lucy Dacus perform “Brando” on Jimmy Kimmel Live! below and peruse a list of another 10 gems from Matador Records that you may not have revisited in a little while.
- Kim Gordon – No Home Record (2019)
With the pandemic cancelling all our plans, including Kim Gordon’s 2020 No Home Tour, perhaps you didn’t spend enough time with the Sonic Youth co-founder’s solo debut. Despite few surprises, the album serves as a 39-minute amalgam of Gordon’s favorite styles with which she’s experimented throughout the past four decades, including her most interesting explorations of electronics.
- Snail Mail – Lush (2018)
Snail Mail’s debut may be another quirky, youthful reflection upon the search for love, beauty, and meaning amidst upper-middle-class white suburbia, but it’s also the best one to drop in over a decade. And although it does borrow a lot from ‘90s alt rock cynicism, Lush is decidedly less gloomy than anything that could be easily satirized.
- Stuart Murdoch – God Help the Girl (2009)
Ever wondered what Belle & Sebastian would be like fronted by a manic pixie dream girl? Luckily, you don’t have to. B&S’s primary songwriter penned this album of epically twee meditations on teendom, sung by the kind of girls who are normally only sung about [or pictured on the covers of] the band’s records.
- Mary Timony – The Golden Dove (2002)
Sometime between Helium and Wild Flag, Mary Timony put out a handful of solo records that would seem to posit her as a riot grrrl storyteller, swirling inside of an RPG world of fairies and soothsayers. The musical tales that resulted are nerdy, perplexing, whimsical, and wise in equal measures.
- Lavender Diamond – Imagine Our Love (2007)
If Mary Timony resembles a riot grrrl traveling back in time, Lavender Diamond’s Becky Stark is a fairytale princess who made her way to contemporary LA. And, on her band’s debut album, she brings elven folk music fit for storybook kings and sunshine pop anthems exploded to magical proportions.
- #Horror : Original Score by EMA (2015)
EMA’s score to Tara Subkoff’s uber-hipster Afterschool Special horror film on the dangers of social media amongst young girls sounds more than a bit like the soundtrack to Eyes Wide Shut on ecstasy… Which is both exactly what we’d expect and exactly what we’d hoped for.
- Sonic Youth – The Eternal (2009)
Sonic Youth’s final full-length is one of their handful of attempts to channel their noisiness and experimental tendencies into the confines of what-would-be-considered-by-their-standards a rock album. And while it’s not their best album, it’s a reminder that real revolutionaries can’t always be impenetrable to the masses.
- Belle & Sebastian – Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance (2015)
This album was no surprise to the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection, who had been hosting Belle & Sebastian dance parties for years before their first proper disco-ready record. And while some fans pretend not to like it, it seems to be the neon-lit path down which “Electronic Renaissance” and “Your Cover’s Blown” began leading us some time ago.
- Lou Reed – Berlin: Live at St. Ann’s Warehouse (2008)
Hearing the most important musical artist of the 20th Century revisit a classic album that was loved for being hated is both as awkward and charming as you would imagine. The renditions don’t quite burn and wince like the originals, but hearing Reed revive these tracks more than thirty years later with equal parts wonder and honor makes him seem almost human, which is perhaps the most satisfying thing about this album.
- Liz Phair – Whitechocolatespaceegg (1998)
I’m not sure any singer/songwriter had a more solid first-three-album run than Liz Phair, which is why I have chosen her third and least talked about for this list… A predecessor of Lush, Phair’s first album as a mother and wife is both a coy wink to her wilder days and a tragicomic satire on white suburbia. Filled with big pop hooks and devastatingly cynical lyricism, it’s hard to tell whether these songs are meant to be a cul-de-sac-shattering critique or the songwriter’s proclamation that she’s along for the ride, as dull as it may seem to her former self. Either way, every one of the 16 songs is a gloriously relatable anthem on modernity from a heroine who rarely turns down an adventure… of the conventional or naughty kind…