by: Tan Doan
Allo Darlin? - Self titled (Fortuna Pop!)
This release is instantly infectious. Its more indie pop than twee, and super fun. There are call and response vocals, there is harmonizing, there is a ukelele. Vocalist Elizabeth Morris is also in Tender Trap. Nothing more to say, really. Just play it.
Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz (Asthmatic Kitty)
I haven?t checked out Sufjan?s releases since the fantastic Illinois, so imagine my surprise when all the electronics kicked in on Too Much. In fact, this album makes very heavy use of electronics. Stevens has always been good putting layer after layer after layer of instruments behind his vocals, so this album actually feels quite sparse compared to his previous work. This stylistic shift is similar to what Radiohead did on Kid A, but not so drastic: the electronics come first, and the instruments are still there.
HotChaCha - Fantastic Static (Exit Stencil)
HotChaCha are a Cleveland based, all female quartet. Fantastic Static is dark and post-punky. The band focuses more on texture, moving the vocals to the background. The bass is fuzzed, the guitar reverbed. Over all, this is really really good. If it wasn?t so late right now, I?d probably write a lot more about this release.
Blood Red Shoes - Fire Like This (Nice Music Group / V2)
Blood Red Shoes are a British duo that formed back in 2004. They write great anthemic rock songs and make heavy use of both vocalists.
Pomegrantes - One of Us (Afternoon Records)
For lack of better words, and some buzzwords, Pomegranates are a guitar based indie rock band that ventures into more atmospheric stuff at times, and sometimes they just plain rock out.
Three Mile Pilot - The Inevitable Past Is The Future Forgotten (Temporary Residence)
San Diego based Three Mile Pilot took a break in ?98. Between then and now, their members have moved on to Black Heart Procession and Pinback. If you like either of those bands, you?ll hear their influence on this record: Layers of subdued instrumentation and vocals make for some moody indie rock. Older 3MP albums had a more ?proggy? feel to them due to the playing style of Zach Smith IV, their bass player and main vocalist. In fact, he is one of my favorite bass players to watch play. I think Smith tones it back a bit on this album, but it can be hard to tell, since he plays his bass like a guitar. Regardless, this is a solid release.
Lovers - Dark Light (Badman Recording)
Dark Light starts with slightly breathy vocals that are reinforced by a couple more harmonized voices and minimal (synth and drum) instrumentation. There is a sadness to the song that just draws me in and makes me want to listen over and over again. The best tracks on the album follow a similar formula of minimal instrumentation as Berk?s sad but hopeful voice pulls me in.
We Landed On The Moon! - This Will Be One For The Books (sr)
WLotM! deliver some pretty rockin female fronted music. There?s nothing new here, but its done very well. Energetic and fun. The chorus of any track will be a pick me up to your set. -Tan
Shad - TSOL (Blackbox Recordings)
My introduction to this fantastic album came early last week when I popped it in as my soundtrack to work. The rain caused the normally awful 405 traffic to be even worse, but the soul sample of ?...along with the sunshine, there?s gonna be some rain sometime? provided the perfect backdrop. Track 3 is the best track on the album, with Shad highlighting and respecting women in the industry and his life. 5 uses horns and synths as the backdrop for the origin of his name. 12 is probably the most accessible album on the track, with a rockin, anthematic beat. Overall this album has a very bright, positive vibe that draws me back to it again and again.