by: Josh Yeager
The Littlest Viking- S/T- (Mountain Man Records)
United through a Craigslist ad, this Whittier duo- comprised of Chris "Metal" Gregory and Ruben "Emo" Cortez- bring their dream-pop infused proggy paroxysms to the studio with their second full length. The Littlest Viking recently graced KUCI with an on-air performance before hitting the road for SXSW, so if you find you might like energetic prog-punk-pop, support local music and give 'em a spin!
Deerhunter- Monomania- (4AD)
After an astronomically long wait (by Deerhunter standards anyway), the indie mainstays return with their rawest sounding release yet. Ditching the hypnagogic haze of 2010's Halcyon Digest in favor of unadulterated rootsy rawk. It's clear by the end of the ferverous title track (and the ensuing Fallon antics) that Deerhunter have come to fully embrace their rock n' roll swagger, and they're all the better for it.
Dungeonesse- S/T- (Secretly Canadian)
Born of a shared love of top 40s fare, this unabashedly pop project- featuring Wye Oak's Jenn Wasner and White Life's Jon Ehrens- lives up to its supposed influence. Appropriating r&b and maximalist pop tropes not unlike Tune-Yards if Merril Garbus swapped her lo-fi leanings for studio veneer. Unfortunately, these arrangements tend toward the saccharine, with Wasner's vocal affectations often coming off forced. Lead single and opener "Shucks," however, deserves a firm place at the Top of the Pops for effectively synthesizing every appealing attribute of the duo.
Graham MacRae- Dundrearies- (Pirates! )
Having already won accolades through his art work from Built to Spill's Dough Martsch, Graham MacRae's sonic endeavors seem to have a kindred spirit with that band as well, utilizing guitar and vocal overdubs to great textural effect. MacRae, however, often opts for a more twanged out approach that's reminiscent of early Mountain Goats or a less impenetrable Bill Callahan.
Baptist Generals- Jackleg Devotional to the Heart- (Sub Pop)
After a 10 year hiatus- and the creation of the 35 Denton festival- Chris Flemmons is back with his second full length (I'm assuming the hiatus was how long it took him to say the album name). Full of winsomely breezy folk, Flemmons' voice is an instrument that really should be much more abrasive than it actually is. Yelping about over an unfussy backing band, Flemmons' vocal quivers lend the band a singularity that will leave you humming along to songs before they even finish.
Blank Tapes- Vacation- (Antenna Farm)
Beach Boys harmonies abound in OC native Matt Adam's musical persona Blank Tapes. These are psychedelia inflected jingle-jangle jams done right. Still, not necessarily a ton to differentiate the Adam's output from other practitioners of underachieving stoner-pop (see: Dent May). That said, the debut (apparently culled from hundreds of home recordings and given the studio treatment) possesses an endearing sort of ramshackle charm by laying on the hooks and laying off the forced drug references that mostly define his peers.
Big Surf- Probability Wave- (Self-Released)
Did you read the band name/album title? What are you waiting for, pop this baby in already!