by: Matt Buga
Batrider- Why We Can't Be Together [Low Transit Industries]
Generally dark and melancholic break-up songs with great female vocals. A little dissonant guitar work here and there, but most songs have a good catchy melody somewhere in there. Good lyrics and cool artwork round this album out as a way solid piece.
The XX- XX [Young Turks/XL Recordings]
Minimalist album of sultry and/or cold and/or sad melodies with alternating boy-girl vocals. Laid back & simple guitar leads with reverb front this album. Cold/catchy.
Islands - Vapours [Anti-]
Ex-Unicorns dude Nick Diamonds' latest release. Its a pop album alright, but I guess pop in all directions? Sometimes more electronic sounding, then more soulful, a little world, etc. Genre-waltzin' pop.
Lou Barlow - Goodnight Unknown [Merge]
Ex-Dinosaur Jr. Sebadoh old man here with a new album. Mostly folk-y, but some songs are a little more rock-oriented with backing drums provided by the Melvins' drummer, Dale Crover. Aside from the name-dropping, its a heartfelt album with lo-fi tendencies.
The Raveonettes- In And Out of Control [Vice]
This 60s garage influenced pop duo is back again with a less-distorted and clearer album. Sort of sounds like a return to their more classic sound with clean surf-ish guitar riffs that are hella sweet. Except for the first track, the lyrics on this one seem a little darker/angrier than usual.
Castanets- Texas Rose, The Thaw & The Beasts [Asthmatic Kitty]
This starts off sounding like some minimal Midwestern folk, but then halfway through the album the production picks up and introduces electronic beats, reverb, back-up vocals, and finally a backing band. It slowly becomes a little more and more full while maintaining its rootsy sound, with a tiny touch of eclectic genre direction on two tracks, and then reverting back to its initial style at the end.
Turbo Fruits- Echo Kid [Fat Possum]
Ex-Be Your Own Pet member stars in this Southern Rock/60s pop rager. Raw, but not totally lo-fi, and definitely not simple and straightforward. Full of good songwriting chops.
The Big Pink- A Brief History of Love [4AD]
Hazy and heavy (usually distorted) pop that none-the-less still focuses on hooks rather than psych/drone. So yeah, it has its shoegaze roots, but it feels like they keep that on the down low beneath the songwriting up top.
Animal Tropical - Doom Years
Furiously poppy? Sort of proggy and weird, but definately accesible.