Phoenix indie-poppers French Quarter have a new album due out on Off Tempo Records in October, but lucky you: you can hear the whole thing right now.
Recorded at the indie-famous Dub Narcotic Studios in Olympia, Washington, the album is the latest in a torrent of releases from French Quarter songwriter Stephen Steinbrink, who also runs the art-punk clubhouse Yellow Canary Dancehall, and moonlights as a visual artist/cartoonist.
French Quarter's music has always been poppy, but Desert Wasn't Welcome may be the band's most accessible outing yet. Each time Steinbrink or French Quarter issues a record, it's easy to say that it's the best outing from the songwriter yet, but seriously, Desert Wasn't Welcome is the most fully realized record French Quarter has committed to tape.
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Opener "Goodbye Alligator Skin" is the kind of cheery but guarded tune Steinbrink excels at, but the album finds the band exploring new textures. "Dead Flowers" features wandering guitars and some of Steinbrink's most expressive playing. Closer "Got Ideas" is funky -- with an almost dubby feel -- complete with excellent work from drummer Chase Kamp and bassist Preston Bryant, and a killer keyboard solo.
My favorite track, "Lucky Passing Dream," sounds like Arthur Russell fronting Fleetwood Mac. This is a very good thing.
You can stream the whole album on French Quarter's SoundCloud page.