June 2010 Archives

La Otracina - Woven Wanderers EP (Colour Sounds) [upcoming shows] [audio]

Strap on your seat belts, put on your helmets and prepare to be blasted into space. The album starts like Ummagumma-era Pink Floyd, strummed acoustics,congas, whispers, and delays on everything. This is spiritual music; Joseph Campbell has this piped in his coffin. Quiet for a long time, things get scary and resemble The Shining soundtrack. Heavy drums and guitars come in to end the album in a heavy psych manner. Beautiful, terrifying and trippy.

We Are Scientists - Barbara

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We Are Scientists - Barbara (Masterswan Recordings) [upcoming shows] [audio]

We Are Scientists continue to refine their sound in this solid release. It is a sound, however, that can take some warming up to. The drums are very forward in the mix, and the sound is very layered and synth-heavy, especially in the first few songs. As the album develops, song by song, Barbara reveals itself to be a surprisingly diverse work. With some genius hooks and great lyrics, this record is a certain road trip hit.
The Avett Brothers - I and Love and You (Sony) [upcoming shows] [audio]

The deceptively poppy "Kick Drum Heart" is not representative of The Avett Brothers' I and Love and You. Look closer: you'll find some jangle and twang, genetically connected harmonies (they are brothers), and surprisingly rockin' bridges that take you on unexpected journeys. Lyrically, this album is the epitome of simple sincerity. From the vulnerable "January Wedding" to the self-aware "Ill With Want," I find new ways to fall in love with each listen.
The Bird and The Bee - Interpreting the Masters, Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates (Blue Note) [upcoming shows] [audio]

The Bird and The Bee recognize the pop genius of Daryl Hall & John Oates, and have taken on the grueling task of selecting only a handful of their ubiquitous hits to cover. There is no "Out of Touch", "Method of Modern Love", or "You Make My Dreams." What remains is eight electro-chic variants of songs you've been singing for twenty five years. One surprise track is the original (albeit Hall & Oates-inspired) "Heard It On The Radio", a song that not only is in line with the covers, but stands up to the groove of those pop classics.

Ming Toro - self titled EP

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Ming Toro - self titled EP (Bucket Republic) [upcoming shows] [audio]

With stabs of atmospheric guitar, Public Image Ltd. vocal wailing, and a single Sonic Youth guitar crescendo, at their most accessible there are brief moments of "Killers-esque" synth pop but with seven tracks in under 20 minutes, you will find many more proto-disco drum beats, deep groove bass, high pitched vocals and guitar/synth squeals than the brief ear friendly harmonies. Overall, a brief collection of DFA-inspired punk disco, a milder Brainiac with the hooks of Oxford Collapse.

Broken Bells - self titled

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Broken Bells - self titled (Sony) [upcoming shows] [audio]

Broken Bells is one of those genius collaborations that usually only occurs deep in one's wildest imagination. James Mercer's chill, meandering melodies are reminiscent of his Shins work, but they compliment Brian Burton's insane keyboard and production skills perfectly. Like a good producer, Burton (Danger Mouse) sometimes keeps his influence subtle, creating a psychedelic Shins sound on tracks like "Your Head is on Fire". When Burton's influence is a bit stronger, on tracks like "The High Road" or "The Ghost Inside," Broken Bells is an indie pop dream come true.
The School - Loveless Unbeliever (Elefant) [upcoming shows] [audio]

Holy twee! The songs on Loveless Unbeliever bounce off the disc. Just listen to "Valentine" or "Is He Really Coming Home?" These songs are so crisp, so refreshing. Try "Hoping and Praying" or "The One Who Left Me." They are like shiny, sparkling jewels. Listen to "Is It True?" or "Let It Slip." The School is a female-fronted pop band that equally combines elements of today's twee-favs like Camera Obscura and '60s girl-group inspired troupes like The Pipettes.

Fang Island - self titled

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Fang Island - self titled (Sargent House) [upcoming shows] [audio]

Fang Island is described by the band as the sound of everyone high-fiving everyone, although the person getting the majority of those elevated hand slaps is probably the guy who puts this on during a party. It is the infectious sound of liquid awesome; its enthusiastic vocal chants are specifically designed for late-night singalongs, and it has more hooks than a fishing convention. This is an album to be loved shamelessly and to be replayed at the expense of your friends' sanity.

Pale Sunday - Shooting Star

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Pale Sunday - Shooting Star EP (Matinée) [upcoming shows] [audio]

Pale Sunday are back with a new Matinée Records release, bringing another splash of sunny cheer into your humdrum life with just four songs. These Brazilian indie-poppers outshine their jingle-jangly competition with their perfect harmonies and guitar-driven grooves that are so deep you'll fall in head first. Don't think I'm serious? Try "Before I Found You" on for size. Fans of The Lucksmiths, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, and (of course) Teenage Fanclub will find this EP to be the perfect summer companion.

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