Of Monsters and Men, Violent Femmes, and Chip & Tony Kinman with the new and noteworthy 


Of Monsters and Men,
Fever Dream (Republic Records/UMG) – The Icelandic band Of Monsters and Men have released only three studio albums in eight years, yet they have shifted radically from the pleasant folk-pop of the 2011 hit “Little Talks,” to tense, sad synth-pop, suggestive of Phantogram or Chvrches. Lead singer Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir pulls it off with complex lyrics in tracks like “Vulture, Vulture” and “Alligator,” yet she leaves much to the listener’s imagination. Some may long for a kinder, gentler band, but Of Monsters and Men are decidedly grown-ups.

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Violent Femmes
, Hotel Last Resort (Add It Up Productions/PIAS) Gordon Gano has been steadily moving his four-piece group to a loose jug-band sound since the 1980s, which explains why Violent Femmes will play Folks Fest in Lyons on Aug. 17. Gano’s social commentary serves almost as a 21st-century Fugs, but he’s clearly trying to offer a kind of rock-band humor similar to Ween’s, though the jokes don’t always connect.

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Chip & Tony Kinman, Sounds Like Music (Omnivore) – While the Kinman brothers may not be a household name, they were the core of the San Francisco proto-punk band The Dils, as well as the cow-punk band Rank and File, and the sparser duo Blackbird. A year after Tony’s death, Chip has compiled a 22-track collection that glories in lo-fi casual style, including a fine cover of Tom Waits’ “Jersey Girl.”


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