The House Of Jealous Lovers was foreclosed upon, leaving this week’s preview targets (The Rapture, Megafaun, Hymn For Her, and Mates Of State) all to look for new housing.
That “Jealous Lovers” cowbell launched a career — it just turned out to be James Murphy’s. The Rapture never seemed to meet anyone’s expectations in the aftermath, mostly because few people wanted to know that they were an angular, post-punk band at heart. The album and Sub Pop EP that preceded all the DFA madness was weaned on the coarser elements of PiL, Joy Division, and Suicide, with hints of Television. Though they gamely modernized — and even successfully tapped into mainstream dance grooves on “Sister Saviour” and “Love Is All” — efforts with Danger Mouse seemed to not push their strengths. This fall’s In The Grace Of Your Love (DFA) still sports commercial elements, but in many ways feels truer — maybe five years away will do that. It’s still a party, just one where you might catch a stray elbow or four. (Wednesday@Metro with Advance Base and My Gold Mask.)
Justin Vernon might retreat into remote cabins alone to work on albums, but you get the sense the three guys in Megafaun do more communal outings in the country. Their third album comes with an acoustic guitar and a beard, one that will inevitably be measured against Blitzen Trapper, Akron/Family, and Phosphorescent. The self-titled set exhausts its themes over 14 tracks, but never makes a show of where it’s been. Less populated with their trademark surprises, what’s been subtracted sonically has been exchanged for a breezy, mellow high. (Wednesday@Schubas with Doug Paisley.)
With lyrical imagery describing marigolds springing up between your toes, it’s clear the title Mountaintops doesn’t indicate struggle. Mates Of State occasionally dip into their bag of marital strife, but even when down Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel sing as if they’re running downhill holding hands. They haven’t messed much with the formula they perfected on 2006’s Bring It Back, which is to say their organ/drums setup takes on minor brass and synthy accompaniments, but never at great expense. They’re cruising, and why not? (Friday@Metro with Suckers and Yawn.)
The picture of Lucy Tight drinking a beer while nursing on the cover of Hymn For Her‘s The Amairican Stream is enough to drive home the duo’s white-trash aesthetic — but they went ahead and recorded the album in their trailer just to be sure. It’s not a metaphor for crap, however. She plays a cigar box strapped to a broom with a slide, and it sounds like razors. When she and Wayne Waxing get going, they’re as unstoppable as anything this side of The White Stripes or Southern Culture On The Skids, which means melodies don’t get sacrificed for gimmickry. (Friday@Martyrs with Tony Rogers.)