National Music Reviews

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A Place To Bury Strangers
Worship
Dead Oceans
Street: 06.26
A Place To Bury Strangers = Jesus and Mary Chain + Weekend
This third album from A Place to Bury Strangers was written, mixed and produced entirely by the band. The thing is, the loudest band in New York managed to tame down their sound and polish things up. “Tame” doesn’t mean it’s all soft fuzziness and love ballads for this nostalgic shoegaze outfit. Oliver Ackermann’s reverb-saturated baritone vocals are still at the forefront, but the production is as tight as a pair of spandex shorts showing off every curve of someone’s junk. The machine gun-esque drumbeats erupt with quick, rhythmic fury on album opener “Alone.” The mechanized doom on the title track is catchy while the ear-screeching volume of “Leaving Tomorrow” is head-rippingly sexy. “You Are the One,” “Dissolved” and “Slide” offer a softer side, creating a few moments to catch your breath. –Courtney Blair

Age Sex Occupation
This Side of the Fence
Self-released
Street: 05.29
Age Sex Occupation = Mofro+ G. Love & Special Sauce + a hint of Bon
This Side of the Fence is a bluesy, soulful collection of ditties, hinting at musical inspiration from times gone by. Some of the more upbeat tracks, like “Zombie,” break it up and add a little pop and variety into the overall vintage-y feeling and genre-specific offering, and in turn, gives it the fresh spin needed to separate it from the predecessors who clearly influence these musicians’ work. It is a lovely album, easy to listen to all the way through. One of my favorites, “Lullaby,” is one of those songs that tickles your brain just right, so that you think it’s a cover—something you’ve been listening to and loving your whole life. Job well done, I say, and let’s have some more. –Ischa B.

Baroness
Yellow & Green
Relapse
Street: 07.17
Baroness = Ancient VVisdom + Mastodon + ISIS
A lot of people are not gonna like Yellow & Green. Those people are wrong. Baroness is one of those rare bands that actually evolves with each piece of music they release, incorporating new influences and expanding upon old ones. This gargantuan double album largely leaves behind the style of Baroness’ Southern sludge soul brothers in Mastodon and Kylesa in favor of more melodic structures. The Yellow half of the album isn’t too markedly different from 2009’s excellent Blue Record. Some of the songs are a bit slower, the guitar playing is a bit more intricate and John Dyer Baizley doesn’t scream anymore, but “Take My Bones Away” is among Baroness’ hardest rockers. Where the band might lose some people is on the Green half, which sounds like an unholy fusion of Baroness, Blue Öyster Cult and The Moody Blues, maybe with a little bit of Thin Lizzy. This is a dark rock album—those looking for the crushing riffs and throat shredding vocals of Baroness’ early material will be disappointed, but those who have followed the band on their journey will be completely satisfied. –Ricky Vigil

Bassnectar
Vava Voom
Amorphous
Street: 04.10
Bassnectar = Glitch Mob + Datsik + Pretty Lights
Bassnectar, or in the human world, Lorin Ashton, has always had a unique sound, even though over the years, it has evolved to a point barely recognizable from his early releases. His past two LPs (Cozza Frenzy and Divergent Spectrum) have been much heavier, with a tint of American dubstep, leaving behind the ethereal, wispy, psychedelic feel of his early 2000s releases. The brilliance of Vava Voom is that he has managed to merge the two drastically differing sounds, creating an album that is, not surprisingly, wholly unique and fresh, a welcome addition in the American bass music scene. Even through such a pointed evolution, Ashton has always stuck by his name—that is, creating a nectar out of a bass emphasis—and this LP is his most hypnotic, hard-hitting nectar yet. He’s managed to bridge the gap between IDM-like glitch music and heavy, warped, dubstep-like glitch, and this album will appeal to both new and old Bassnectar fans, as it presents a highly concentrated synthesis of only the best of the past 10 years of Ashton’s music production. –Jessie Wood

Battles
Dross Glop
Warp
Street: 04.16
Dross Glop = Gloss Drop + Four Tet + a blender
This release by the experimental math-rockers is a compilation of a recent series of EPs that featured remixes of last year’s Gloss Drop by some of the biggest names in the business. Included among the list of electro-wizards that lent their time and taste to the project are The Alchemist, The Field, Gang Gang Dance and Hudson Mohawke. While talent remixing talent is usually a recipe for explosive awesome, something got lost in the translation here. It’s just that this isn’t a Battles record, really. Take an amazing album by a band famous for bizarre time signatures, unusual rhythms and riff virtuosity and put a house beat behind it all? The formula misses more often than it hits, but there are a few standouts. The “Rolls Bayce” mix by Mohawke is fantastic, as is the ominous treatment given to “Africastle” by The Alchemist. The record is a worthy pick-up for fans and remix aficionados alike, but it is nothing essential. –Rio Connelly

Blues Control
Valley Tangents
Drag City
Street: 06.19
Blues Control = Gabor Szabo + George Duke + NES soundtracks
Blues Control’s name is a bit generically forgettable and inaccurate compared to their sound. Fortunately, this is a minor detail, and would be more of a problem if the band were not creating music of a high enough quality to make up for it. After the first few minutes of opening track “Love’s a Rondo,” I was hoping that the whole thing would be instrumental, and was pleased to find that this is the case. No further instrumentation or any narration would be necessary. Nothing is overdone. During the first listen, the bass was what caught my attention. It is a valuable part of the band’s sonic dynamic, and in not simply sticking to root notes, often acts as both a rhythmic and melodic element in Blues Control’s compositions. Valley Tangents is something to listen to in its entirety. Considering that it is a rather short EP, this is easy to do. –T.H.

Burning Love
Rotten Thing to Say
Southern Lord
Street: 06.19
Burning Love = Coliseum + Motörhead + Dead Boys
“Three days is a long time for a Catholic girl to die,” bellows vocalist Chris Colohan in “Karla.” Yeah, that’s exactly what the whole album is like. For the Burning Love virgin, this band injects listeners with the hot jism of D-beat hardcore melded with rock n’ roll—“Superstitious Friend” rocks the house with guitar licks n’ leads up and down a pentatonic scale like Alice Cooper on PCP. Compared to Songs for Burning Lovers, their previous full-length, Burning Love draw out how long they stay on certain chords, which lends the release the same thumping quality found in early Ramones songs, such as with “Made Out of Apes,” but is balanced out with the aforementioned lead quality. In “12:31,” the guitars and bass ooze out a sludgy, instrumental dirge. Some might call Burning Love a one-trick pony, but try saying that to Colohan shouting “Broken Glass” at passersby on State Street the next time they play Burt’s. –Alexander Ortega

Cafeteria Dance Fever
Danceology
Hovercraft
Street: 05.29
CDF = Vaselines + Shop Assistants + Sonics
Danceology is a discog of sorts, compiling a slew of Cafeteria Dance Fever singles, hits and ditties (and I mean it, there’s nary a bummer track to boot) from their Portland shores, wrapping up their cocktail of snot-drenched punkadelia, garage-ridden fuzz and twee-pop into one gleaming discoid compilation. Newcomers needn’t worry; acclimation will come swiftly and infectiously as the group discusses drop-dead serious politi-punk issues at length (Rainbows that shoot nunchucks at people, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, decapitations at twist parties), establishments get smashed and the offbeat outta-tune aestehtic worms its way into your mealy noggin slow and steady. Not much to complain about (though the no-fun club will try), and it’s all over in less than a TIVO’ed re-run of Home Improvement, so lose the sour puss, chuck your plastic tray and drop sumthin hawt. Rectangular pizza is a phenomenal culinary unifier. –Dylan Chadwick

Cold Specks     
I Predict A Graceful Expulsion
Mute
Street: 05.22
Cold Specks = Macy Gray + Tom Waits
I was predicting that I wouldn’t like this album—mainly because of the hype—but there is such an undeniable talent in the voice and songs of Al Spx (a stage name, as much as her Ulysses-borrowed band name is) that I stand corrected. Cold Specks self-describe their music as “doom soul,” and if that’s what it should be called, it is rightfully powerful and gorgeous. It is hard to fathom that this much soul is coming from a 24-year-old, but each song engages your attention. Producer Jim Anderson has wisely kept the accompaniment to a similar minimalist style, with the greatest contribution coming from Rob Ellis (PJ Harvey) so Spx’s unique voice stands out front and center. The single, “Winter Solstice,” is excellent, but “Holland” and “Elephant Head” do the job just fine, and “Blank Maps” is about near perfect. –Dean O Hillis

Communist Daughter
Lions & Lambs
Grain Belt Records
Street: 07.10
Communist Daughter = Blitzen Trapper + The Shins
This six-song EP from the Minneapolis group is a strong follow-up to the band’s 2010 debut album, Soundtrack to the End. It’s the first release since front man John Solomon went to rehab to get clean, and that seems to be the overall theme on the album with song titles such as “Ghosts,” “Heart Attack,” and “Don’t Remember Me.” Although there are a few quiet songs such as “City Love,” a soft ballad that shows off the band’s great vocal harmonies, the majority of the songs lean toward a more indie-folk style. The catchy tune “Heart Attack,” for instance, kicks off with some great whistling and is then joined by some saxophones, creating a dark, mellow groove. The EP ends with the song, “Don’t Remember Me,” which seems to sum up the band’s past and future with the line, “Plenty of years, plenty of lives, the best ahead, but a few behind.” –Jory Carroll

Craft Spells
Gallery EP
Captured Tracks
Street: 05.22
Craft Spells = Psychedelic Furs + Jesus and Mary Chain
There is a glut of bands currently mining late-’80s British indie for inspiration, and I’m not mad about it. Craft Spells incorporate a little more New Romantic flavor into their shoegaze, and thus manage to differentiate themselves. To the layman who can’t tell C86 from noise pop, it will probably all be indistinguishable, albeit in a catchy way. If you’re a My Bloody Valentine fanatic who’s already worn out the new remasters, spend some time with this EP—it’s a grower. –Nate Housley

Dawn Golden & Rosy Cross
Blow Remixed EP
Mad Decent
Street: 04.03
DG&RC: BLOW E.P. – Washed Out + Benzi + Xaphoon Jones
FYI, Dawn Golden & Rosy Cross is another moniker for producer Dexter Tortoriello, who has other releases under the moniker HOUSES. FYI, these are remixes of only two songs, playing off of a black/white theme (tracks “Black” and “White Sun” were released on the Blow EP 04.11), but listening to these remixes is a subtle hint at much of what the original songs successfully convey, which is intriguing and annoying at the same time. Arrange’s treatment of “White Sun” sounds like the tearjerker finale of a John Hughes movie, while the Stenchman take of the song is dramatically different, with pulsing urgency and synthetic dissonance. Like any remix album, it’s cool to see other producers’ different versions, but I get the feeling that Tortoliello is generally “remixing” his presentation, and for all of his different names and mixes, it’s really just the same two songs done over, and not with much originality. Still, it’s a solid regurgitation, and the six tracks maintain a dreamy chill state that is very apt to the comfy “safe” side of the Mad Decent roster very tastefully. However, I’m ready for some originals, or for Tortoliello to push outside of his safe house more. –Mary Houdini

Dead Rat Orchestra
The Guga Hunters of Ness
Critical Heights
Street: 07.10
Dead Rat Orchestra = Dirty Three + Grails
Guga is the Gaelic name for a gannet, a game bird legally hunted in Ness, but nowhere else in the UK. The Guga Hunters of Ness is a documentary about hunting season, and the hunters after said birds. The soundtrack that Dead Rat Orchestra have created for it is beautiful. Harmonium drones create a perfect backdrop for banjos, percussion, and various bowed instruments. Opening track, “Joy/Sorrow (Sula Sgeir)” is a good representation of the record’s overall sound. The Guga Hunters of Ness is best listened to on an overcast evening spent outdoors. The album’s recording process took place in a decommissioned lighthouse ship that the band converted into a studio. I want to live in a lighthouse now. Maybe not a ship; then again, if Guga Hunters represents the kind of music that it could potentially inspire, the ocean stink and unsteady footing might be worth it. –T.H.

Delta Moon
Black Cat Oil
Red Parlor Records
Street: 05.22
Delta Moon = Creedence Clearwater Revival + Allman Brothers
The seventh album from Delta Moon is full of bluesy sounds and bottleneck slide guitar, which quickly takes you to the swamplands in the South. The sound may not be as heavy or catchy as that of a band like the Black Keys, but there is some great blues-playing on this album by the band’s guitarists Tom Gray and Mark Johnson. The track “Blues in a Bottle” begins with an eerily similar guitar riff to that of CCR’s “Run Through the Jungle,” and several other songs throughout the album share that same style. However, on the tune “Jukin’,” the band adds a little bit of Texas flavor to their blues, similar to ZZ Top. Overall, this is a good listen for fans of Southern blues, as Delta Moon really shows off their strong guitar chops throughout the entire album. –Jory Carroll

Dent May
Do Things
Paw Tracks
Street: 06.12
Dent May = of Montreal + Brian Wilson
Like of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes, Dent May is from the South, records everything himself, and broadcasts antiseptic psych-funk from a parallel dimension. This is not to say, though, that he fails to imprint his music with a distinct personality. Rather, he distinguishes himself in a bad way, with his melodies coming off as cloying and impersonal. If sluggish Urban Outfitters-approved electro-twee is your thing, though, you may disagree. –Nate Housley

Dot Hacker
Inhibition
ORG Music
Street: 05.01
Dot Hacker = Blonde Redhead + Poe + Mackintosh Braun
I totally love this album. Interestingly, male lead singer Josh Klinghoffer’s vocal execution reminds me of a ton of some of my fave-o female artists, and a couple of people I (excitedly) played the tunes for asked me if it was a male or female vocalist. It’s very cool that the album can have such an ethereal, float-y feeling about it that the beauty of the voice supersedes specifications like gender. Inhibition is thoroughly current, tapping into the modern musical landscape of classic rock instruments mixed in with electronic additions and production. The tunes remind me of a glorious composite of Mars Volta’s frantic riffs, Deftones’ heavier emotional melodies, Jane’s Addiction’s yearning vocals and Caribou’s melodic electronic sensibility … it’s utterly delicious. I’m sure it helps that the members of the band are seasoned musicians (Klinghoffer recently took over on guitar for John Frusciante in Red Hot Chili Peppers), most of whom have worked together for years (all members except the bassist worked as touring musicians backing Gnarls Barkley). Sourcing that intangible chemistry that grows from those relationships, Dot Hacker have created something wonderful, and I hope that their other projects don’t keep them from doing it again … and again …  –Ischa B.

DZ Deathrays
Bloodstreams
Three Quarter
Street: 05.08
DZ Deathrays = Death From Above 1979 + LCD Soundsystem + Acid Tiger
Smooth. Sexy. From the future. DZ Deathrays definitely keep punk dangerous with screechy vocals and off-the-wall frequencies that guitarist Shane Parsons generates with his many pedals, such as in “Debt Death.” The band, however, definitely gets my gangsta lean and my hipster shuffle going, like in “Play Dead Until You’re Dead,” where drummer Simon Ridley’s steady beat with 16th-note strikes on a closed hi-hat provide a crisp base for Parson’s smooth crooning and undulating guitar ring-outs, which build to stomping rock n’ roll with meaty fills on the toms. It’s humpin’ music, baby. “Teenage Kickstarts,” a straightforward rocker, will have you shouting “Kickstarts in your bloodstream! Wah-oh, wah-oh!” before a thick, grooving breakdown. “Trans Am” plays like a Kraftwerk-meets-ABBA song sans the irony right before a secret track that closes out a deftly balanced album. If you like to party, this is for you. –Alexander Ortega

Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros
Here
Vagrant
Street: 05.29
Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros = Alabama Shakes + Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings + Fleet Foxes
This double-digit-sized band’s newest release is a much slower ride compared to their faster-paced debut album, Up From Below, which contained hit singles such as the folk romance classic “Home.” This album plays as a break from explosive beginnings and a greater look at the band’s character. There are frequent mentions of love, heaven and freedom throughout the songs. Female vocalist Jade Castrinos backs frontman Alex Ebert on this album, but her voice howls with gospel glory on her solo song, “Fiya Wata.” I was also pleasantly surprised with the Marley-esque track, “One Love To Another.” If you want a light reggae vibe with soothing marimba tones without feeling like a “rasta-head,” then feast your ears upon this song. If Here is to serve as a precursor to a second album due later this year, then I have one more great thing to look forward to. –Justin Gallegos

Efren
Write a New Song
Slo Pro Records
Street: 06.19
Efren = Drive-By Truckers + Lucero
My biggest problem with this album is the lack of originality, as the majority of songs offer up the same bland style of Americana music. The vocals of Scott Low are similar to just about any other alt-country singer, and the songs don’t really bring anything new to the table in terms of music. The third album from the Georgia band covers the usual topics such as alcohol, women, and guns. In the tune “Write A New Song,” Low sings, “All alone in this house, just me and the dog. Another sip of whiskey, and write a new song.” And in the following song, “If My Heart Don’t Fail Me,” he visits the same ground with the line. “If my heart don’t fail me, then this whiskey probably will.” The heavy, gruff voice of Low bears down on your ears after a while, and the rest of band follows suit, with little change in dynamics from beginning to end of each song. –Jory Carroll

El-P
Cancer 4 Cure
Fat Possum
Street: 05.22
El-P = DJ Shadow + Lifesavas + Cannibal Ox
If you haven’t heard of El-P, quit sleeping. The Company Flow member and Definitive Jux label co-founder has been defining the hip hop world for longer than you’ve been listening. His list of projects reads like an industry best-of, but he hasn’t released a solo record in five years. Cancer 4 Cure is incredibly solid, full of interesting, DJ Shadow-style production and El-P’s tight baritone delivery. An initial impulse to compare the edgy, slightly dark tone of the songs to a lot of what else is going on out there leads to the realization that El-P invented it—he’s got a right to it. Deep, scary bass, squealing guitar snarls and some glitchy clicks define the background to the up-tempo rhymes. He’s at his best when he eschews straight-up boom bap for more interesting production, as on “True Story” and “Oh Hail No.” Perhaps heavier than most are looking for on a hip hop record, El-P is nonetheless original, so show respect. –Rio Connelly

Ember Schrag
The Sewing Room
Edible Onion/Single Girl Married Girl
Street: 07.10
Ember Schrag = Laura Gibson + early Patty Griffin + Mark Kozelek
To write compelling songs and garnish them with nuances of subtle instrumentation takes a delicate balance and skill. Ember Schrag seems to really understand this, and works hard to present her songwriting as big-league caliber, and it’s working. Executing her vocal melodies with a classic timbre that emulates some folk greats—and also some indie darlings on the scene—she’s assembled a wonderful team of musicians to assist her in this endeavor, including Alex McManus (Vic Chesnutt, Lambchop), Amy Denio (Billy Tipton Memorial Sax Quartet, all-around badass) and others of a similar golden caliber. It’s clearly the songs that are on display here, as Schrag’s storytelling is a little tortured and sometimes ugly/beautiful, drawing from themes that are somewhat Biblical in nature, but turning the process into a defining and accessible piece of songwriting craftsmanship, mostly without it being preachy or gaudy. My fave track is “I Ain’t a Prophet.” She is definitely someone to watch. –Mary Houdini

Eric Copeland
Limbo
Underwater Peoples
Street: 07.24
Eric Copeland = Mystic Bummer + Ariel Pink + Boyfruit
Eric Copeland, the impish, manchild-savant and defacto leader of Black Dice, hits all the stops along this 30-minute Fear and Loathing-like trip through the warped and skipping record of his brain. Copeland’s fractured sound palate dips into the rudiments of hip hop, dance and pop until Copeland chops, mangles and desaturates beats and melody into completely fucked sound loops that are miles away from the original point of reference. Copeland’s output, both solo and with Black Dice, has opened the doors to pop music’s rarely visited closets to reveal something dark and weird, yet intentionally hilarious, waiting to be let out. This work has also inspired scores of imitators who capture the zeitgeist of what Copeland does, but with little of the proficiency and complete aural satisfaction of listening to what is essentially a radio becoming self aware only to discover it has ADHD and a drinking problem. –Ryan Hall

ETC!ETC!
Killafornia EP
Party Like Us Records
Street: 05.15
ETC!ETC! = Dillon Francis + Feed Me + AC Slater
Moombahton is the new hot shit in the EDM world, and has taken the LA electro and dubstep scene by storm. Essentially, it is house slowed down to a reggaeton tempo, hovering at around 110 beats per minute (house is typically around 130 bpm). ETC!ETC!, LA’s Jose Guerrero, has begun the process of making a name for himself with the powerhouse 5-track EP. It’s hard and heavy-hitting, with fun, funky beats, without being hard for the sake of hard. The producer has been praised by the likes of Diplo, Craze, and The Bloody Beetroots, so you can be sure that we will be hearing a lot more from Guerrero as he explores the spaces in between electro, dubstep, and moombahton. The EP arrives just in time for summer, perfect for pool party dance sessions and warm nights out in the club, and begs to be the soundtrack to videos showing people going apeshit—quintessentially LA. So it’s fitting that the standout track, “Future Shock,” features LA favorite Whiskey Pete. The track’s visceral, hoppy beat will definitely shock you into realizing that we’re living in the future. –Jessie Wood

Evian Christ
Kings and Them EP
Tri Angle
Street: 02.01
Evian Christ = Clams Casino + Different Sleep + Balam Acab
Kings and Them consists of four remastered tracks taken from the enigmatic producer’s free mixtape released last year. Evian Christ’s incredibly affecting mash-up of hip-hop and haunted drones is one of these projects that seemingly makes no sense on paper (e.g., Tyga and Grouper sampled in the same song), but comes together as a logic-defying artifact. Kings and Them is tied together by the hypnotic way in which Evian Christ, the nom de guerre of Joshua Leary, drops pitch-shifted and endlessly repeated hip-hop hooks with head-banging accuracy over rhythmic, elegiac drones. Simple phrases accumulate new meaning through repetition outside of their context. It is impossible to tell if what you are hearing is idiotic or profound. This is incredibly exciting stuff. –Ryan Hall

Flosstradamus
Jubilation 2.0
Fool’s Gold
Street: 05.08
Flosstradamus = Ludacris + The Partysquad + Big Sean
Juke is back, and with a vengeance on the new Flosstradamus EP, Jubilation 2.0! I’ve never danced so hard so slow before—it was a whole new bootiful experience! The incredible ass stimulant “Luuk Out Gurl,” featuring the talented Kid Sister, is all new and shiny again with a remix done by Sich Mang that made me wanna smoke a blunt whilst shaking my ass in a cemetery—it’s seriously dark but amazing, nonetheless! The tasteful “From the Back,” featuring talented linguist Danny Brown, is featured twice on the album being remixed by JWLS and Lunice. Both remixes made me sweat in places I never knew were possible—it was the best accidental workout ever! My favorite track, “Rollup,” a.k.a. my new theme song, made me wanna smoke a blunt at a strip club! But since that’s illegal, I just put on The Players Club and it sufficed. Jubilation 2.0 is a dream come true for asses worldwide. A definite must-buy for anyone who likes to drop it or make it clap or both, since you’re sure to do both when Flosstradamus’s Jubilation 2.0 is concerned. −Mama Beatz

The Ghost Inside   
Get What You Give
Epitaph
Street: 06.19
The Ghost Inside = Bury Your Dead + Stick To Your Guns + Unearth
This is solid hardcore album with all the familiar elements: stomping drums, beastly breakdowns and the kind of anthem-chanting that gets a crowd of thousands screaming in harmony. There is definitely a fury—an energy in their sound that I haven’t heard from a hardcore band in a long time. I didn’t realize how much I’d missed it. Lyrically, The Ghost Inside don’t fuck around with metaphor or imagery. Vocalist Jonathan Vigil tells you exactly what he wants you to hear with his gut-wrenching screams and tastefully placed clean vocals—singing of strength and the fight of survival over gorgeous guitar melodies that blend so powerfully on songs like “Engine 45” and “Test The Limits.” Straight hardcore takes a minute to grow on me, but this album was definitely worth the extra spins to have it dig under my skin. –Megan Kennedy

Guantanamo Baywatch
Chest Crawl
Dirtnap
Street: 05.22
Guantanamo Baywatch = Trashmen + Huevos Rancheros + The Cramps
This is the second record from Guantanamo Baywatch, and the first on Portland’s Dirtnap Records. The band formed about four years ago in Portland—a standard surf-garage revival band. In the years since then, the duo that was Jason Powell and Chevelle Wiseman added drummer Chris Michael (also in BOOM!) and the trio has made a day of splicing together standard, raw surf music with 50s-style Wildman vocals. Chest Crawl is an incredibly catchy and listenable record. The instrumental tracks like “Barbacoa,” and even the title song, “Chest Crawl,” tap into the vein of mellow, reverb-heavy music that will make surf purists beg for more. The vocal-driven songs, like “Sad Over You” and “Baby Please,” have a much more Screamin’ Jay Hawkins-meets-the-Cramps vibe. There are scores of bands doing surf garage instrumentals these days and a lot of them are doing it better than this, but there are very few bands throwing frantic vocals into the mix, and this where Guantanamo Baywatch really hits their stride. In all, Chest Crawl is a fabulous record. –James Bennett

Hellshovel
Hated by the Sun
Slovenly Recordings
Street: 05.29
Hellshovel = The Animals + Black Lips
If they made spaghetti space Westerns starring Clint Eastwood and directed by Russ Myers, Hellshovel would have written the soundtrack. Hated by the Sun is a straight-up lo-fi acid trip. I’m really hoping Circus Brown finds out about this band so he can spread the joy. Hellshovel takes all the groove and quirk offered by The Animals and crams it into a rolling, almost country rhythm. Not as fast as The Mars Volta’s “Inertiatic Esp,” nor as slow as Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit,” Hellshovel is just right. Bright-sounding guitars set the album’s tone, and the discordant, Jack White-esque vocals only add to the garage-psych sound cultivated by the band. Songs like “Stealing Candy” and “Snowflakes in Russia” are outright homages to the founders of garage rock—crunchy, happy guitar over boyish vocals. Buy it on Bandcamp, or do what I’m doing—wait and see if they’ll come to Utah. –Alex Cragun

HeXen
Being And Nothingness
Pulverised
Street: 07.17
HeXen = Testament + God Forbid + Heathen + Voivod
Enter four-piece thrashers from LA HeXen, playing what I like to call finesse-thrash. It all sounds good; technical merits in hand, progressive in nature, but equally as aggressive and speed-riddled. The big problem is, it doesn’t rub any emotions raw—it just sounds pretty. Much of Being and Nothingness reminds me of all the best parts of North American thrash metal, rehashed. Admittedly, there are some good riffs pumping here, but a good, catchy riff can wind up as nothing without emotion. The vocals behind everything are stagnant, boring stuff that is like that which populates most of metalcore or other proto-heavy-prog trend-hopping bands. Listeners that like jamming stuff that sounds pretty, especially that of newer thrash bands, should eat this album up. For me, the closing “epic,” almost 15-minute track, “Nocturne,” is the best the band has to offer and actually feels like the guys finally have something to say. –Bryer Wharton

Ice Choir   
Afar
Underwater Peoples Records
Street: 07.31
Ice Choir = The Lightning Seeds + Johnny Hates Jazz
It is amazing what someone can produce with a computer in their bedroom these days, and Ice Choir’s debut certainly belies its humble origins by sounding like it was made in an expensive studio. Being the drummer for The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Kurt Feldman certainly has the ’80s lite synth thing down, especially the faux upbeat life-is-great-for-everyone part, but unfortunately, he can’t sing. He sounds like a prepubescent Roland Orzabal struggling to sing “Shout” a capella. Musically, there isn’t much really happening in these songs, and therefore, nothing stands out. The title track is OK, but having a song named after your band’s name is always an unwise move, as are the song titles “A Vision Of Hell, 1996” and “Peacock In the Tall Grass.” It seems that Feldman knows the instruments of the era he’s trying to replicate, but just not its standards. –Dean O Hillis

The Intelligence
Everybody’s Got It Easy But Me
In The Red Records
Street: 06.14
The Intelligence = Thee Headcoats + The Raincoats
It’s been nearly a decade since In The Red’s paragon drummer, Lars Finberg (from The A-Frames and Thee Oh Sees) created The Intelligence. Originally a commonplace garage band, Everybody’s Got It Easy But Me is the work of an evolved creature, which renders itself nothing more than kissing cousins with their original garage roots. To wit, the album opens up with “I Like LA,” which starts with a lo-fi, tween pop prelude and then phases into the album’s post-punk core at the last minute. With the exception of a few oddity tracks, such as “Little Town Flirt” (a soft-tempo doowop/riot grrrl assemblage), the album maintains the band’s increasingly refined post-punk traits. With enough pop sensibilities to be catchy but too few to be radio-friendly automatons, Everybody’s Got It Easy But Me is worth a listen from garage minions and generic rock appreciators alike. –Gregory Gerulat

John Singer Sergeant
Self-titled
Kirtland Records
Street: 04.10
John Singer Sergeant = Ben Kweller + Will Johnson
John Singer Sargeant is the new moniker for John Dufilho of Apples in Stereo. The idea behind this album is similar to Dntel’s album, Dumb Luck: one main artist is the creative force behind every song with individual collaborators brought in for each song. Most songs on the album are pretty good, but none are great. Its biggest flaw is that each song is too different from the last to make for a cohesive album. It comes off more as a compilation or movie soundtrack rather than a proper album. It even lacks a theme instrumentally, and its diversity does it no favors. –Cody Hudson

Jonti
Sine & Moon
Stones Throw
Street: 05.08
Jonti = Prefuse 73 + M83 + Röyksopp + Caribou
This release by South African/Australian producer Jonti is a reworking of his earliest, unreleased tracks. As such, it captures a lot of the spontaneity and raw talent of an artist early in his career. I’ve heard newer material by the multi-instrumentalist, but while it’s as polished and shimmery as anything you’ll find, the songs end up with slightly less personality. Sine & Moon is Jonti showing off his tricks before anybody was watching. Glitchy cuts of seemingly found sounds and sporadic, urban-sounding percussion carry on under gorgeous, synth-heavy soundscapes. There’s a feeling, like on Caribou’s Swim, that this dreamy pop has been filtered through a sun-drenched ocean and is currently sliding out of a cassette deck on some forgotten foreign car stereo. Often layering in his own ethereal voice, or collaborating with other vocalists, Jonti is all about atmosphere and mood. My favorite track is “Red On Green,” which features a great verse by rapper Jonwayne, but the whole album is great. Released only on vinyl and mp3, this is a great record to pick up and add to your playlist for summer. –Rio Connelly

Knife Party
Rage Valley EP
Big Beat
Street: 05.28
Knife Party = Sidney Samson + Bloody Beetroots + Green Velvet
Knife Party, my favorite DJ duo just released a new EP, and the name says it all: rage, rage and more rage. This EP is my new favorite for the year. Rage Valley is incredibly crafted—it blows my mind how good these guys are at producing. Enticing samples, tantalizing synths and bass that could wake up the whole neighborhood, all make appearances on the EP. “Fuck Em” made me dight (dance fight). The strong, violent, sporadic synths, intriguing samples and hypnotizing drum patterns had me banging my head so hard I got it pregnant! It’s like Star Wars met Tron and had a baby in a crack house, that’s how sick and crazy Rage Valley is. My favorite on the EP, “Bonfire,” made my booty clap rasta-style. Knife Party has some serious talent and it shows in their new EP. This is a must have EP for any electro fan! –Mama Beatz

Laid Back
Cosyland
Brother Music
Street: 05.22
Laid Back = Underworld + Brian Eno + Prince
Sit back and get lazy with Cosyland, the 11th release by the legendary Danish electro-pop duo, Laid Back. The duo, Tim Stahl and John Guldberg, build repetitive rhythms and synths into subtle slinky anthems, creating a brilliant hypnotic dream over these five short tracks. The minimal title track gently grooves from ear to ear with sultry, sleepy vocals. The steel drum makes a brief appearance throughout the continuous rumble of “Get Laid Back.” The highlight is discovered at the summit of the EP, “Cocaine Cool (Extended Vol2),” sending you on a flashback to Underworld’s Beaucoup Fish era. For a group who have been making music on and off for 33 years, Laid Back manages to remain refreshing. –Courtney Blair

The Memories
Self-Titled
Underwater Peoples
Street: 04.24
Memories = White Fang + Home Blitz + Nobunny
Memories is the name of the more experimental White Fang counterpart. White Fang is drunken party rock band, with joke songs and no forethought. The Memories seem to be all of the songs that would bum out the punk kids at White Fang shows. They are simple garage pop songs about love, probably recorded in Garageband, but they come across great. Every song ends before you’d like it to, and you’ll definitely find yourself humming along with the “oohs” and “ahhs” and ignoring the gawd awful garage solos. While they retain some of the goofiness of White Fang, it is probably more reminiscent of the unplugged Nobunny album Raw Romance. Definitely check out this jangly, dreamy, garage pop album—it’s totally worth the 19-minute time investment. –Cody Hudson

Menage
Self-titled
Self-released
Street: 10.31.11
Menage = Rise Against + Saliva
Get your zippos out, everyone, Menage has entered the building. Brimming with arena rock and loud-quiet-louder breakdowns, every 15-year-old butt rock enthusiast will have a breakup song this summer. Menage are talented (or well produced), but they’re not my scene. They remind me of local band Royal Bliss, heavy rock without the edge. They sound safe and warm, a great entry-level band for your niece or younger cousin. Most of the songs are about holding on to love or losing love, with a slow coda. Slow codas are what they want to offer, and that’s great, there is an audience for that, but it’s not for me. However, “Better Off This Way,” the last song on the album, wasn’t all that bad. A country song of sorts (minus the overly dramatic vocals), the lap steel guitar saturates the song, and I’m a slut for lap steel. Menage—they need more lap steel. –Alex Cragun

Mike Patton and the Ictus Ensemble   
Laborintus II
Ipecac
Street: 07.03
Mike Patton and the Ictus Ensemble = Fantômas + Italian jazz fusion + Mondo Cane
Mike Patton, King of the Weird, has returned with one of his most interesting (and unfortunately, least accessible) projects to date, working with the Italian Ictus Ensemble to pay tribute to famed Italian composer Luciano Berio and cover his 1965 work Laborintus II, written to celebrate the 700th birthday of Dante Alighieri. Vocally, Patton is spot-on, as always, and his deep reciting of the Italian lyrics sent shivers up my spine. He is complemented by some gorgeous female operatics. Musically, this is crazy jazz fusion at its roots: complicated, unexpected and lacking rhythm. It is absolutely not a terrible performance if you can let it loose inside your head for a while, or if you are a fan of jazz. But if you’re expecting anything like Tomahawk or Faith No More, you will be disappointed. –Megan Kennedy

Mission of Burma
Unsound
Fire
Street: 07.10
Mission of Burma = Alloy Orchestra + Volcano Suns + Shellac
Mission of Burma have always seemed to be about taking musical craft, curiosity and creativity, and stretching it into something unique and often ground-breaking. This latest record taps into many of the strengths of Burma, including their ability to skirt the line between raw, primal and aggressive without sounding clichéd or overwrought. The record sounds like it was recorded in a practice—unpolished, but with a sincerity and purpose that gives the listener the feeling that the journey of the music is much more important than the finished product. There are hooks throughout the record, in the Burma style, but there are also bits of trumpet and generous tape loops and production shocks (brought to you by Shellac’s Bob Weston). Unsound seems to have pushed the band to a great point creatively, and the product of that journey is actually very enjoyable. You are never exactly sure where the next track will lead, but rest assured that you are in very capable hands. It is a musical tightrope, and it is such a thrill to hear it erupt right in front of you. –James Bennett

Moonloop
Deeply from the Earth
Listenable
Street: 07.17
Moonloop = Augury + Opeth + Beyond Creation
At first glance, it seems Moonloop deliver the progressive death metal goods. At its heights, Deeply from the Earth—call it “hippie extreme metal,” if you will—touches on the parts of Opeth’s past that had metal kids pissing their pants. The production here is tight, bass tones clear and heavy—the mighty E-chord chimes in with a heavenly, lofty, crisp lead guitar sound. For what it offers, Moonloop are good at what they do, which is balancing heaviness and melody, and this album has more substance than anything on the Sumerian Records label. However, if you listen and keep listening to the record, you’re going to notice its mediocrity. Initially it’s enticing, but then the riffing seems familiar from the first song to the second to the last—you start thinking you’ve heard it before, and it’s because you have. If you want something heavy with a purpose and superb melodies, go listen to the newest Barren Earth. Save this sucker for the discount bin at Hot Topic. –Bryer Wharton

Mount Eerie
Clear Moon
P.W. Elverum & Sun
Street: 05.22
Mount Eerie = The Microphones + Old Time Relijun
Phil Elverum has been around for a dog’s age, being notably famous for his trademark marriage of humble cooing vocalization with acoustic post-rock textures. His newest release, Clear Moon, doesn’t set itself too far apart from its predecessors. Conceptually, it’s a record about Elverum’s piety for where he lives, but it’s—fortunately—too subtle and convoluted to be considered as the Californication of indie music. As usual, it contains all of Elverum’s calling cards: surrealistic orchestral instrumentation, pitch-shifting dynamics, obscure female hymn singing and suspense-riddled modal structures. Unlike prior works, there’s more richness in production value and more synthesized segments as opposed to simple acoustic rhythms and once-prevalent guitar crunches. This is the first of two albums Mount Eerie has scheduled to release this year, and it’s hard to imagine something better than Clear Moon, so we’ll have to wait and see—bated breath optional. –Gregory Gerulat

Mystery Jets
Radlands
Rough Trade
Street: 06.05
Mystery Jets = Love Language + The Decemberists + Devendra Banhart
It’s always nice to listen to an album from a band you’ve never heard before and dig just about every single song. That’s what this record did for me, as I found little to complain about. “Greatest Hits” is a great opening folk rock number that easily got me singing along to it. However, the band shows off its musical depth on the track “Lost in Austin,” which transitions nicely from a mellow sound to an all-out rock tune with fuzzed-out guitar that leads to the heaviest sound on the entire album. The addition of female vocals on the duet “Take Me Where the Roses Grow” sounds like a tune from She & Him and, again, shows off the strong vocals found on this album. The fourth album from Mystery Jets is a great, mellow record, perfect to crank up outside this summer. –Jory Carroll

Nachtmystium
Silencing Machine
Century Media
Street: 07.31
Nachtmystium = Twilight + Krieg + Leviathan
I can already smell the shit being flung in the direction of this Illinois black metal troupe—black metal purists are a finicky flock. This once-raw U.S. black metal band has been experimenting for years now, and the pedigree of helmsman Blake Judd’s associated bands (as well as contributors to the new record) all lead toward what you would expect this record to be. Silencing Machine is a visceral, harsh listening experience—but it’s also the most “post” black metal the band has ever sounded. There are a plethora of effects layered in electronic tinkering—which is a far cry from the band’s early days—mixed with stuff that would be worshiped by kvlters if it were actually produced raw, but it sounds flawless. The guitars can be tinny and brash or they can be starkly heavy, backed by virulent bass guitars and a drum sound that’s the best I’ve heard in a long, long time. That the experience varies so much while listening to this album is its effective brilliance. Nachtmystium offer a record where attention to every little detail is painstaking, and you’ll love nitpicking every one of those details, even if you hate the album. –Bryer Wharton

Nile
At The Gate Of Sethu
Nuclear Blast
Street: 07.03
Nile = Behemoth + Scarab
+ Vader
At the Gate of Sethu marks the seventh album from this South Carolina-by-way-of-Egypt death metal band, and the band’s almost two-decade existence. When Catacombs… came out in 1998, death metal fans the world over were getting their knickers in knots––mainly because there was nothing like it. At the Gate of Sethu is a safe bet, and what listeners expect. With the way Karl Sanders has honed the guitar sound to become irritatingly painful to listen to, Sethu delivers that “love it” pain. The record is a return to the theatrical (reminds me a lot of Black Seeds of Vengeance), with multiple instruments that Sanders should slap a trademark on, playing things most musicians can’t even pronounce. There’s a story being told here, and unlike other highly comparable bands, Nile isn’t treading water yet. Most of the time, you forget you’re listening to a death metal record and feel like the Egyptian sun is literally pounding your face—this will always be the power of Nile. –Bryer Wharton

oOoOO
Our Love is Hurting Us EP
Tri Angle
Street: 04.30
oOoOO = Creep + White Ring + OMD on downers + Ghosty
Who the fuck comes up with these stupid names for slivers of sub-genres in the electronica world?!? Everything I found in my research about oOoOO (pronounced “oh” apparently) describes him (it’s just one guy) as chillwave, witch house or a pioneer in the drag sound. So what? Well, as a reluctant, aging raver, I guess this is what the kids are into these days. Turns out, it’s an impressive movement for these sensitive old ears, with downtempo hip-hop influences chopped and screwed, slowed waaaaaay the fuck down to literally pull you under—hence, “drag” being an apt description. What was initially eye-rolling to me as a concept turned into a respectfully haunting, mood-enhancing gem, with its sluggish bass dirges (“TryTry”), and glimmery spectral snare rap-stutters (“Springs”). It’s screwed and slowed for the graveyard goth set (“Starr”), and actually better for aging ravers like me, because we have the attention span for it. Recommended for late nights of watching static on TV and drinking red wine, which is what this particular misanthrope will be doing this evening. Now get the fuck off my lawn. –Mary Houdini

Parlovr
Kook Soul
Dine Alone
Street: 5.15
Parlovr = The Black Lips + Handsome Furs
Montreal has always been a puzzlingly fertile breeding ground for many successful musicians. The Franco-indie pop trio, Parlovr, is another band amongst many whom will forever continue to hammer that observation into our skulls. You can find many identifiers in Kook Soul which tie Parlovr to fellow Montrealites such as Wolf Parade and Arcade Fire, but Parlovr’s unique combinations of pop rock with organ-saddled synthrock quickly dismantles any forecasted expectations—starting with “Do You Remember.” This album also has its fair share of wild cards. “Married on a Sunday” bears resemblance to The Faint’s early releases and untrained ears could easily mistake “Now That You’re Gone” as a Smith Westerns leak. Beneath the abundant variation, Kook Soul still maintains its originality. Throw this record on at a party if you want meddlers to stay away from the stereo’s skip button. –Gregory Gerulat

Public Image Ltd.
This is PiL
PiL Official
Street: 05.28
PiL = Sex Pistols + Jah Wobble + Don Letts
Calling this album the “disgraced corpse of punk” might be a little harsh. Give these guys a break. It’s their first studio album in 20 years. They’re out of practice. The album does sort of pick up toward the middle, keeping it from being completely unlistenable. But the opener, “This is PiL,” couldn’t be more embarrassing. “You are now entering a PiL zone,” chants ’77 punk icon John Lydon. Great. Thanks for that, Señor Rotten. “One Drop” is just as bad. Instead of sounding like one of the million reggae songs with the same name, it’s a direct bite of anything on The Clash’s Combat Rock. Now there is a punk who aged gracefully, finishing up life with a bang, not a whimper: Joe fuckin’ Strummer. Lydon should have followed his lead and started a new band with a new name rather than attempting to Frankenstein this bastard version of the PiL brand to his awesome, already-existing discography. If you’re a balls-out PiL fan, this might be worth picking up. Otherwise, stick to The Mescaleros. –Nate Perkins

Redgrave
National Act
Lovitt Records
Street: 06.12
Redgrave = Black Mountain x Heart
Apparently there’s a fine line between blues rock and butt rock. Redgrave flirt with that line pretty heavily; unfortunately, from the butt rock side of it. That’s not a pejorative, just as long as a band isn’t trying to be indie and arena at the same time, like Redgrave. They seem to sum up their attempt to triangulate their sound with the album title. “National Act,” presumably a tongue-in-cheek nod to music reviewers, drowns out its wink-wink with their eager “… but, seriously.” –Nate Housley

Riverboat Gamblers
The Wolf You Feed
Volcom
Street: 05.22
The Riverboat Gamblers = Dead to Me + The Black Lips
I finally feel like I’ve caught on to what The Riverboat Gamblers are going for. The Gamblers still employ their brand of energetic, cathartic and melodic punk, but the guitar distortion is about half of what it was on Underneath the Owl; “Bite My Tongue” comes off as the paradigm of this approach. Once I reached “Gallows Bird,” which is slow and sung with some twang, with honky-tonk piano riddled through the track, I realized that RGB seemingly aim to infuse techniques from the indie neo-garage style that’s in right now. Afterward, though, the band reaches back to their roots with “Blue Ghosts,” a song that sounds like it could be off To the Confusion of Our Enemies. They switch back to the neo-garage fusion with “Heart Conditions,” which allows The Gamblers to transgress into a new form that’s still characteristically RGB. Closer “Eviction Notice” indicates that these guys are carving their niche in contemporary rock n’ roll. –Alexander Ortega

Shout Out Out Out Out
Spanish Moss and Total Loss
Normal Welcome
Street: 07.17
Shout Out Out Out Out = Grimes + Pantha du Prince
Besides a ridiculously long band name (which we assume mimics a chorus effect?), this Canadian band brings a long pedigree of geographic influences to bear on Spanish Moss and Total Loss. For example: Norway’s Datarock is heard in SOOOO’s analog synth and funk cascades. Their pulsating, pulverizing drum loops are nods to Brooklyn’s Bear In Heaven, and then there’s the catchy hooks of Spain’s Delorean—add a smidgen of Mahjongg’s Chi-city computerized sing-along sentiments and an international bisque of badass is served up hot hot hot hot from the bowls of Alberta’s kitchen (courtesy of the chefs of SOOOO). This is some of the best internationally influenced songs that combine the greatest elements of current, electronically produced music. If you’re a fan of the genre and enjoy even one of the above-mentioned influencers, get this treat. –JP

Simone White
Silver Silver
Honest Jons
Street: 05.07
Simone White = Philip Glass + Eleanor Friedberger
In a way, it’s strange to hear the soft, lush voice of Simone White mixed with such dark, apocalyptic sounds on songs like “Big Dreams and the Headlines,” but this album uses that minimalist approach to create some truly beautiful tunes. One of my favorite tracks is the ominous tune “Now the Revolution,” which sounds like something that belongs in the art film Koyaanisqatsi (Look it up on the Internet, kids). Although the spotlight is kept on White’s eloquent voice, the unique, ambient sounds of church bells and string arrangements produce a rather melancholy sound overall. The album ends with the Zooey Deschanel-esque number “Every Little Now and Then,” which puts an optimistic end on an otherwise dark folk album. –Jory Carroll

Smile
A Flash in the Night
Ingrid
Street: 05.28
Smile = Miike Snow + LCD Soundsystem
Started earlier this year, Ingrid is the mysterious Swedish record label and music collective comprised of Lykke Li, Miike Snow and other Swedes of similar musical leanings. Smile, the collaboration between Björn Yttling (of Peter Björn and John fame) and Joakim Åhlund, (of electro-rock group Teddybears), is one of Ingrid’s newest manifestations. Most of the songs on this debut record are instrumental and range from driving, synth and drum machine-heavy dance songs like “Eating Dirt” to the more rock-oriented and moody single, “From Time to Time”—one of the few songs that features vocals and definitely one to check out. Yttling and Åhlund’s other bands do shine through (you can feel the vibe of Teddybears’ “Punkrocker” throughout), but they blend together to form their own Swede sound. A Flash in the Night is a refreshing release of upbeat pop and killer instrumentation—I can’t listen to this record enough, and I can’t wait to see what else Ingrid is conjuring up over there in their secret music lab. Watch the cryptic videos on their website, ingrid.com, and you’ll see what I mean. –Cody Kirkland

Stepdad   
Wildlife Pop
Black Bell Records
Street: 06.12
Stepdad = any house bar band covering the songs of The Partridge Family
Oh, the disposable pop band: stupid name, sometimes catchy tunes, but mostly filler, happy to be in the music world, but probably won’t last as long as the hype that preceded them. There is nothing specifically wrong with Stepdad (originally a duo started by [yawn] someone named ultramark and Ryan McCarthy in Chicago, and now a fivesome with Alex Fives, Nathan K. and Jeremy Malvin added to their lineup) from Grand Rapids [huh?]), as their shtick is pleasant and poppy: “Hey, hey, we’re called Stepdad/And people say we parent arounnnnd,” but that’s about it. Lead single “Must Land Running” highlights part of the problem: their sound is all over the place and unfocused, and their song titles are equally perplexing: with “My Leather, My Fur, My Nails,” and “Starfriends On Earth” being especially cloying. It is also about three tracks too long, but small point, as they’ll probably be huge. Next! –Dean O Hillis

The Toxic Avenger
Angst
Little Owl Recordings
Street: 05.29
The Toxic Avenger = SebastiAn + Danger + M83
It’s hard to believe that this is Simon Delacroix’s first LP, since he’s been releasing banging electro house remixes and original tracks for the past five years. The French producer has obviously taken his time crafting his debut album, and it shows. The 13-track album is captivating from start to finish. It’s great in the way that no electro house LP has been great in a number of years, and it’s fitting that such a great album comes out of the French electro scene, as they have always done electro best. There’s a bit of all the greats in this album—Daft Punk can be heard in the composition and the rhythm-based synths and Justice in the rich, full, foreground synths. It’s obviously hard to stand out in the French electro scene, but Angst does it easily. Delacroix has stayed true to his roots, and obviously, his passion, and it has paid off. With this LP, he catapults into the EDM world, and is seemingly here to stay. –Jessie Wood

Turing Machine
What is the Meaning of the What
Temporary Residence
Street: 05.08
Turing Machine = El Ten Eleven + Trans Am + Polvo
R.I.P Jerry Fuchs. Songs have been written, Facebook post-shout-outs abound, but listening to Fuchs’ contribution to Turing Machine’s third (and Fuchs’ last) album made me bummed out all over again for the tragic loss of an incredible drummer. What is the Meaning… is all Fuchs. His characteristic Kraut “apache” beat, split between acoustic and effects pad, is airtight and locked down, allowing guitarist Justin Cherno’s arpeggios to run wild through a suitcase full of effect pedals. Fuchs rarely changes tempo when dedicated to a groove; Fine’s guitars are abuzz with reverb and are played serrated and angular over a static bass section and retro-futurist synthesizers. This is a new kind of math rock. An algorithm dressed in flesh and growing a handlebar mustache pounding out sweaty, laser-focused beats behind a ridiculously small drum kit. R.I.P. Fuchs. You are missed. –Ryan Hall

The Ty Segall Band
Slaughterhouse
In The Red
Street: 06.26
The Ty Segall Band = The Gories + Thee Oh Sees
This will be Ty Segall’s second release this year (of a supposed three), recorded with touring mates and longtime collaborators Mikal Cronin, Charlie Moothart and Emily Rose Epstein. I personally love when Ty Segall and Mikal Cronin get together (Reverse Shark Attack is one of Segall’s greatest releases), and this album is no exception. Grittier and more aggressive than the last two releases, Slaughterhouse is leagues ahead of Hair. Screaming unintelligible lines over grimy blues riffs, in a way, is very reminiscent of the one good Coachwhips album. Featuring gritty rehashes of old songs like “Oh Mary” (from the album Ty Segall), now called “Mary Ann,” and raucous covers of old standards like Bo Diddley’s “Diddy Wah Diddy,” Slaughterhouse has me excited for the upcoming third release (which will be Segall by himself). –Cody Hudson

Various Artists
Eccentric Soul: Red Black Green Production
Numero
Street: 05.22
Eccentric Soul = Motown Records + Washington D.C. + the mid-1970s
The history of American soul music is peppered with so much talent that every few months, a compilation of vintage regional soul music sees the light of day. This record is certainly one of those: regional, vintage and shake-your-ass-worthy. It seems to have been spawned from a small studio run by an engineer named Robert Hosea Williams—a Beltway insider who’s responsible for some of the best quality recordings to come out of the D.C. area in the mid-1970s. This bulk of this compilation collects work by artists that Williams recorded heavily, including Skip Mahoney & the Casuals, Dyson’s Faces and Father’s Children. There are also a few tracks by less prolific bands, like East Coast Connection, The Promise, and the Summits. In all, this is a great record. If you are a fan of 1970s soul music, then you already know great it is to find slow jams accented by authentic horn sections and multi-layered vocal harmonies. Many of these tracks have that feel. Fans of the Delfonics and the Bar-Kays will enjoy this release. If nothing else, it is good to hear something come out of Washington D.C. that actually has some substance. –James Bennett

Various Artists
Kitsune America
Kitsune
Street: 05.22
Kitsune = French style + North American pop
Kitsune, the hybrid clothing boutique and music beast from France, is opening its doors in NYC, which means it’s time for them to release a compilation commemorating the occasion. The various artists assembled run from the super pop of Frances Rose to the electronic sounds of DWNTWN and the power/girl rock of HeartsRevolution. My favorites are a different stripe than the majority of the tracks; I particularly enjoyed the low-key Childish Gambino “Heartbeat” remix by Them Jeans, and the dance funk of Gigamesh’s “Your Body.” To really get the full import of the Kitsune mission statement, you’ll have to stop by their first location on America’s shores. Get ready for new sights and sounds when the City Of Lights lands on Plymouth Rock. –JP

volcano!
Piñata
The Leaf Label
Street: 06.12
volcano! = Ima Robot + Mindless Self Indulgence
Upon listening to the first track on Piñata, I was under the impression that this band was a danceable post-punk/synthpop hybrid, as if Hot Hot Heat and Passion Pit started a friendship while listening to Pinback. Unfortunately, the first song goes against the grain of the rest of the album. After “Piñata,” the album slowly falls apart. The lead singer becomes increasingly virtuoso and incoherent, to the point of sounding like a seizure-induced Alex Ebert. The guitarists alongside the drummer begin piping out art rock crescendos that end up falling into the ether. The lead singer continues to stray further away from the band’s harmonics into self-absorbent atonal falsettos. This becomes progressively worse as the record proceeds. Piñata is an album you can shamelessly skip, since the only amusement can be found in the irony of becoming depressed by dance-punk. –Gregory Gerulat

White Fang
Positive Feedback
Marriage Records
Street: 08.11
White Fang = Japanther + Ariel Pink
During my listenings to Positive Feedback, I noticed a lot of elements of some good old-fashioned California surf-rock influences, mixed with a lot of garage pop-punk elements. Add to it the fuzz that comes from recording on a cassette tape and a lot of stoner-nonsense, and we get Positive Feedback. It becomes quite apparent that these kids want to have fun, and this album can be used as a sort of anthem for all the lazy, pot-smoking kids who don’t want to go to work, school, or jail, especially made obvious during the song “Spaced Out.” Hailing from Portland, Oregon, these bandmates and lifelong friends would put on a hell of a fun house show. –Brinley Froelich

White Lung
Sorry
Deranged Records
Street: 05.29
White Lung = (Pretty Girls Make Graves x Reaction-era Complete Control) + The Avengers + a dash of Kathleen Hanna
I’ve never heard anything at such a rapid-fire pace—nor this aggressive—that makes me want to dance along as much as Sorry. White Lung hits the bull’s eye as frontwoman Mish Way projects moody and bellicose yet ultra-feminine singing with a nod to riot grrrl vocal techniques atop bouncy, pulsating beats. In “Glue,” Way employs cadences that lead her female bandmates to synergistically match her tone and timbre and create a whopping, sing-along chorus—“You’re a dead horse riding!” Guitarist Kenneth William is no slouch as he coalesces from cacophony to meaty power chords to controlled, guitar-lick verse sections in “Thick Lip,” which are reminiscent of Form Of Rocket, but sped up about 200 percent. This release is mixed impeccably: “Bad Way” exhibits high-pitched guitar leads that meet the bass lines with a sense of fullness. Sorry is my top album of the year so far. –Alexander Ortega

Wintersleep
Hello Hum
Roll Call Records
Street: 06.12
Wintersleep = Grizzly Bear + Wolf Parade
After listening to this album twice, I came to the conclusion that Wintersleep is an uncannily ironic band name, considering that Hello Hum is chockful of sunny pop with jangly and energetic psych-folk overtones. Frontman Paul Murphy’s voice seems like a mosaic of vocal inflections (prominently Michael Stipe from R.E.M. and Spencer Krug from Sunset Rubdown), which proves to be extremely compatible with the album’s hypnotic guitar layering and raucously harmonized choruses. “Rapture” is an excellent yet unique blend of ’90s alternative rock with contemporary indie psych. Some songs dwindle down in cohesiveness at the album’s end. However, “Unzipper” has enough energy and aesthetic appeal to carry Hello Hum on its shoulders if needed. –Gregory Gerulat

Wymond Miles
Under the Pale Moon
Sacred Bones
Street: 06.12
Wymond Miles = The Fresh & Onlys + The Cure + Echo & the Bunnymen
The songs on Under the Pale Moon are markedly different from those on Miles’ Earth Has Doors EP, released earlier this year. While Earth Has Doors often felt like a set of near-dirges—in a very good way—Under the Pale Moon features more “pop” elements from a time when dreary-yet-rhythmic songs about falling in love with ghosts were on music charts next to “Raspberry Beret.” Even with Miles’ baritone vocals and heavily pronounced “t” sounds in words like “beauty,” the album lacks the unnecessary and unfortunate melodrama that would likely be present in a record composed by less capable, more goth hands. The verses on “You and I Are of the Night” are melodically close to something like death doo-wop. The bassline on “The Thirst” could be from Disintegration, and its title on Pornography. Too bad Robert Smith hasn’t released anything close to Under the Pale Moon in years. –T.H.

Xavier Rudd
Spirit Bird
SideOneDummy
Street: 06.08
Xavier Rudd = Jon Hassell + Jack Johnson
Australian musician Xavier Rudd’s Spirit Bird begins with layered dubs of monkeys, birds and didgeridoos, and promises an energetic musical experience. The immediate association is with Sepultura’s shrewd use of Brazilian tribal instruments to establish the pounding but groovy metal riffs of Roots. Rudd’s bass and drums feed the anticipation. Unfortunately, the album soon squanders its fortune. Track one, “Lioness Eye,” never evolves beyond vague brooding. One hopes for something more explosive or curious from “Comfortable In My Skin,” but the song wafts Spirit Bird into currents of banality the album will not escape—heartfelt harmonica, folk guitar, a voice akin to Paul Simon’s and forced rhymes bloated with the milk of eco-feminism all make appearances. Rudd’s instrumental abilities are considerable, but his music waxes tedious and cringe-worthy. Some exposure to post-hippie thought (speculative realism, concept horror, anti-pastoralism) might fix Rudd’s eye on less Oedipal and utopian fantasies, and bend his ear away from lyric voice and towards the wheeze and gasp of the mortal body. But Rudd’s present commercial success will prevent such dark encounters. –Brian Kubarycz

The Young
Dub Egg
Matador
Street: 06.12
The Young = Black Angels + MGMT (Congratulations)
For the most part, each song on this album (the Austin band’s sophomore release) features the same fuzzed-out guitar and psychedelic sounds, but there is some good jamming going on that makes it worthwhile. Midway through the album, your ears get a break from the hazy rock sound with the mellow country song “Only Way Out,” which features some great slide guitar-playing. The six-minute long tune “Dance With the Ramblers” is another good psychedelic track, with some great jamming and cool transitions mixed in. Although there is not a lot of diversity among the songs on the album, there are some good guitar solos throughout that keep things interesting. –Jory Carroll

Zulu Winter
Language
Arts & Crafts
Street: 06.19
Zulu Winter = Arcade Fire + Coldplay
The debut album from the five-piece London group is full of upbeat pop-rock tunes, layered with thick guitars and keyboards. Each song on the album never strays far from one another in the overall sound, but the tight sound of the band keeps things moving along nicely. There are several tunes, such as “We Should Be Swimming” and “Bitter Moon” that blend seamlessly into the next tune, and end up turning into nearly 10-minute long musical voyages. On the tune “Small Pieces,” the band bombards you with heavy-sounding synths along with some dark guitar riffs, and it’s perhaps the gloomiest tune on the album, but adds a nice bit of contrast to the other upbeat songs. You won’t find any blazing guitar solos or anything like that on this record, but it is a strong debut and a good listen for those who like catchy tunes to dance to. –Jory Carroll