Lazerbeak - Legend Recognize Legend (Doomtree)
Hip(ster) hop producers releasing solo albums seems to be all the rage these days. Not that it?s a bad thing, and I love the term hipster hop. The latest release comes from the Doomtree collective, who you may already be familiar with due to fantastic releases by Dessa, P.O.S., and Papertiger*. While Papertiger?s solo album was mostly instrumental with occasional guest spots by fantastic vocalists (such as Dessa), Lazerbeak?s album looks to head more into the rock/conventional song structure route, but a tad more layered. His voice is also easier on the ears than Camu Tao?s*, as the album is much happier than Cechi?s*, so the instant gratification factor soars high. In fact, for all you hip(ster) hop fans out there, the opener reminds me of something The Arcade Fire would put out.
Superchunk - Majesty Shredding (Merge)
For those that aren?t familiar with Superchunk, know that Death Cab For Cutie practically worship the band, and that on occasion their drummer tours with The Mountain Goats (who also provide some backing vocals). This album is a throwback for an affectionately throwback band. For lack of terms that will do them any justice, think early 90s pop-punk. Ugh, I hate myself now for the term pop-punk, but you should love this record. Play it all.
Crocodiles - Sleep Forever (Fat Possum)
I guess if Fat Possum is going to release Camu Tao?s album, they can release some psychedelic stuff too! This is a very dense, loud, and noisy record, chock full of goodness. If you?ve ever enjoyed Spiritualized, shoegaze, or kraut rock, this is a good one for you. Also think of BRMC, some JAMC, etc.
Frankie Rose and The Outs ? ST (Slumberland)
Frankie Rose of the Vivian Girls, Dum Dum Girls, and Crystal Stills has released her own album. Most of it is lo-fi, garagey, and droney pop that suites a label named Slumberland very well.
The Vaselines - Sex with an X (Subpop)
Here we have The Vaselines? second album, recorded only 20 years after the first. This Scottish duo initially rose to prominence due to Kurt Cobain citing them over and over again. Their music is poppy, kind of jangly, and fun.
The Red River - Little Songs About The Big Picture (Brave Records)
The Red River are a brother and sister band based out of the LBC. Yay locals! Generally, the music is of the mellow pop (clap and whistle along where applicable) variety, and the songs about the little and big moments in life. And while the lyrics aren?t as intricate as John Darnielle?s, and not as catholic Rob Crow?s, (?Here is where xxx, here is where yyy on Apple Valley) some will stick to you. The music takes advantage of dynamics and the layering of instruments to build small crescendos before moving onto the next track. Overall a very mellow and pleasant listen.
The Whisperlights - Wake Up Dead EP (Self Released 2010)
The first half of Wake Up Dead is a collection of really catchy songs. It is vibrant and full of oh-oh-oh?s calling back to other oh-oh-ohs over a violin. The second half has the band go into some sort of epic mode with lots and lots of layers and dynamics, and they almost pull it off. This is their EP to fund the release of a full length, so I?ll definitely keep on the look out for what they do.
Bee vs. Moth ? Acronyms (Aggraveire Music)
Bee vs. Moth performs on their latest album entitled Acronyms, published by Aggraveire Music (ASCAP). A way of capturing this group?s widely eclectic sound is to imagine Bill Frizell leaving his garage band and colliding with a mariachi ensemble. Most enjoyable was the cut ?Tuesday in Tuskegee,? a romping staggered groove sounding more like a trapse through a Thursday Marrakesh souk. Aptly named, ?Mexican Noise Soda,? has lots of crazy bubbles, ending with some trapped gas. This band manages to orchestrate a waltz to 4/4 time, in ?Ugly is the New Black.?.
This Austin Texas band?s album garners my medium ranking.
After enjoying what was a many textured percussion section performed by band member Sarah Norris, it?s useful to consider the intonarumori, which she is credited with performing. Norris reconstructed the intonarumori, an instrument system of noise generating devises, developed by a 19th Century composer/performer, Luigi Russolo, who assembled a noise orchestra to perform with them. Bee vs. Moth delivers a more convivial production.
The Rebel Set ? Poison Arrow (Silver Hornet)
By mixing a heavy helping of dark, reverb-drenched surf with 1960?s garage punk, The Rebel Set certainly have found a unique, driven sound. Over all, the album?s tracks have a sort of darkness or heaviness flowing through them that Is hard to explain. I can only compare it to the feeling of listening to ?California Dreaming? or The Sadies ?Darker Circles? album, or to witnessing the first foggy, gloomy day of Fall. Yeah! Gloom! That?s the word I?m looking for! However, driven lyrics and drum beats keep the album upbeat and exciting.
Fred Eaglesmith- Cha Cha Cha
At times, Eaglesmith?s music has a sensuous, dark, humid/sticky Latin influence (think Tom Waits ?Jockey Full of Bourbon?). Other times, his music sounds like 1950?s death doo-wop (a term coined by and stolen from the band Jail Weddings.) Cha, Cha, Cha has a sad, heaviness pervading it that is gruff, yet poignant. The only comparisons that come to mind are all references to the music of Tom Waits, which is a good thing. A haunting and beautiful album over all.