This is All That Glitters is Gold, a recurring piece about some of my favorite artists, albums, tracks, and live shows. Here I will write about the music I love, most of which inspired me to start Alt Revue in the first place. I'm excited to highlight this music and talk about how it has impacted me. I hope you enjoy getting a glimpse into some of my favorites!
This week I wanted to offer you all a couple of albums (that are among my very favorite) to help with your musical needs for this long Memorial Day Weekend. That said, let's get into it!
Built to Spill - Keep it Like a Secret (1999)
A career that spans from 1993 to now with a lineup that has shifted over the years Built to Spill has had one constant Doug Martsch. His unique vocals and driving guitars are ever present on every track of the band's expansive catalog. There's a lot to love about this group, they're one of the all-time greats and pioneering groups that have helped shape modern indie rock as we know it. I just want to touch on one of their fantastic albums this week that I feel perhaps best captures that sound. It's also the one they are best known for Keep it Like a Secret.
Keep it Like a Secret opens with perhaps one of their best known tracks "The Plan". The guitar work in this song is simply masterful as the rhythm drives but the lead takes you to new places musically. "Carry the Zero" is the other majorly known track from this album as it features distinctive indie ripping guitar and Martsch's signature vocal stylings. Some others I would also recommend include: "Center of the Universe", "Sidewalk", and "You Were Right"
Shakey Graves - And the War Came (2014)
If you've been reading Alt Revue long enough, you know that I absolutely treasure Shakey Graves. His blend of alt-country is just the music that I dig. His debut album And the War Came perfectly captures what makes Shakey Graves so great. It starts with "Only Son" a track that is a fantastic example of a slow burn. It's so understated at first
before breaking out toward the end. Another track that needs to be highlighted here is "Dearly Departed" which also features Esmé Patterson (one of three collaborations between the two on this album). The album features great guitar work and stomp "percussion". But what really shines are Graves and Patterson's vocals and they playfully intertwine on the verses and come together on the hook with fantastic harmonies. It's something to behold. Other songs you need to check out include: "The Perfect Parts", "Family and Genus", and "Pansy Waltz".
Phoebe Bridgers - Stranger in the Alps (2017)
Phoebe Bridgers is one of the most versatile and talented musicians in alt today. After releasing her critically acclaimed Stranger in the Alps she formed not one but two super groups in boygenius (with Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus) and Better Oblivion Community Center (with Conor Oberst). I easily could have focused on the two fantasic
offerings from boygenius and Better Oblivion Community Center. However, I wanted this to focus on Bridgers specifically.
Stranger in the Alps is a masterpiece and I want to focus on two tracks in particular. First is "Motion Sickness". With it's biting lyrics and Bridgers fantastic vocals this is perhaps the strongest track on the album. It was certainly the most commercially successful. Another track I want to quickly touch on is "Scott Street" another track with lyrics based in start reality, written as only Bridgers can. Some other great tracks worth checking out from this one include: "Smoke Signals", "Demi Moore", and "You Missed My Heart".
Morgan Saint - ALIEN (2018)
Morgan Saint is such a unique talent in alt today. With a voice that absolutely glides over the electronic melodies she composes, Saint brings it on every single song. That is why I was so excited when she released he first full-length ALIEN last year. It's so strong, both melodically and vocally. Saint effortlessly combines elements of alt, pop, and electronic to form a sound all her own. That's on full display on ALIEN. As with all of these albums, I really always listen from start to finish (I'm happy to have them all on vinyl). But for the sake of the piece I'll highlight a
couple in particular. "On Fire" was the main single from the album and for good reason. This song is an absolute banger that Saint tears the house down on vocally. the music highlights her vocals and elevates her to new levels. Another track I'll talk about here is "Until the Day I Die" which has one of the best hooks I have ever heard. You read that right. Some other tracks worth checking out include: "Sinner Boy", "Paper Scissors", and "Momma, Set Me Free".