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Vampire Weekend, Filthy Friends, Big Thief with the new and noteworthy 

click to enlarge Vampire Weekend, Father of the Bride
  • Vampire Weekend, Father of the Bride

Vampire Weekend, Father of the Bride (Columbia Records) – America’s favorite preppies have aged well, to the point where Vampire Weekend occasionally owes more to folk than South African jams. Ezra Koenig aims for world-wise lyrics to confront a tough world, and gets fine assistance from Danielle Haim and Steve Lacy. Despite 18 powerful songs, few have the pure riff brilliance of older works like “Oxford Comma.”

click to enlarge Filthy Friends, Emerald Valley
  • Filthy Friends, Emerald Valley

Filthy Friends, Emerald Valley (Kill Rock Stars) – If the first collaboration between Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker and R.E.M.’s Peter Buck was a raucous headbanger, this second album is a call to testify, with tales of social and environmental destitution like “Pipeline,” displaying equal parts blues and Middle Eastern minor scales. Tucker’s voice has never sounded richer, indicating that the next Sleater-Kinney album in late 2019 will be a treat.

click to enlarge Big Thief, U.F.O.F.
  • Big Thief, U.F.O.F.

Big Thief, U.F.O.F. (4AD) – If the emphatic guitar interplay between Adrianne Lenker and Buck Meek resembles Neil Young’s Crazy Horse at times, Lenker’s breathy singing and mysterious vocals suggest 2000-era freak-folk, particularly early Marissa Nadler. This works best with constant chants in songs like “Cattails,” while the gentle harmonies are more ethereal than Big Thief’s 2017’s Capacity.

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