Roundin’ Up The Strays: Court Yard Hounds, The Whipsaws, Pure Bathing Culture, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

Buckle your seatbelts — we’re about to go into overdrive. Some of the biggest and best music of the year gets released in the fall, just in time for the holiday season, so prepare to go insane in the membrane during the upcoming months. Shy and retiring records will be lost in the shuffle. Time to round ’em up:

Court Yard Hounds - AmelitaCourt Yard Hounds – Amelita

I only had a passing acquaintance with The Dixie Chicks (we nodded at each other in the halls but never went out for drinks at TGI Friday’s or anything.) Although two of their albums resided in my library way back when, I couldn’t name even one of their songs at this point — unless Wide Open Spaces had a title track. Therefore, it came as a surprise that they had broken up, and even more of a surprise that sisters Martie and Emily formed a folk-pop duo and just released their second album. (Now I come to find out The Dixie Chicks haven’t broken up, but rather, seem to enjoy taking consecutive hiatuses for six years running.)

Whipsaws coverThe Whipsaws – The Whipsaws

Music from Alaska, made by real men, with real beards. The soundtrack for wrestling with bears and swimming naked upstream with salmon. A bracing blast of unfashionable, old-school 70s rock.

This album may have come out in 2012 (according to Spotify), or it will be released this coming November (according to the band’s website). Reply hazy, try again (according to the Magic 8 ball).

Pure Bathing Culture_MoonTidesPure Bathing Culture – Moon Tides

A beautiful dream-pop album, the kind that used to come out every other week on 4AD and Beggar’s Banquet in the late 80s and early 90s.

Pure Bathing Culture’s third member is a drum machine and they have lyrics about ravens and tarot. Imagine slow dancing in a John Hughes movie at a Magic:The Gathering-themed prom.

Edward SharpeEdward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

When their first album came out, Edward Sharpe and Co. were underrated. Then they became so underrated that they were overrated, which happened to coincide with a sophomore slump. Then they became so overrated that now they’re underrated again, because their third release is a fine return to form, even if not many noticed.

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