If you need a break from country of the tidily resolving verse-hook-verse variety and are looking for something not nearly so linear or tethered to the earth, Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter is an excellent option. Sure, members of the band have played in such straightforwardly alt-country outfits as Whiskeytown and Neko Case & Her Boyfriends, but with the sylphlike, dusky-voiced Sykes in the lead, songs tend to take an otherworldly turn. There’s a graceful psychedelic quality to the album the band released this summer, Marble Son, though it’s certainly not without its fuzzed-out rock moments — for one, the shape-shifting, album-opening epic “Hushed by Devotion.” Transportive stuff.
Is there anything more enjoyable than growing up with a band? Anything better than when your own personal development is remarkably in sync with their artistic development year after year, and every record manages to hit the sweet spot no matter what? We kinda feel like that with Ohio band Buffalo Killers. We were super-obsessed with their old mod-punk band Thee Shams, back when we were more modish and punk. When Thee Shams imploded and its members emerged as the more mature yet equally rocking Buffalo Killers, whad'ya know! — we'd managed to become more mature too! Not too mature, thank God, to actually appreciate some badass, smoked-out, psych-tinged boogie of the Canned Heat and/or Manassas variety — that's the adulthood-as-mental-death we've been avoiding all our lives. And if Buffalo Killers' latest album 3 is any indication, we can expect to have a Killers record on the turntable until they put us in the grave.