Author: Alex Gilvarry

Paperhaus
Self-Titled
Self-Released
Street: 02.10
Paperhaus = 
Max Pain and the Groovies + Tame Impala

From where I stand, most modern psychedelic rock is overly saturated junk born in a dirty garage and unfortunately inflicted on the world around it. Paperhaus skirt most of the negative aspects of modern psych rock, but only just barely, by adding elements of indie rock and a touch of pop sensibility into their songs. Up-tempo numbers like lead track “Cairo” have a playful and dreamy quality that I think gives these guys a wider appeal, but slow burners like the 7½ minute centerpiece “Misery” kind of ruin it for me. No artist should be told what to make—that usually ends with good bands making terrible music—but sometimes musicians need someone looking over their shoulder to help them avoid making shitty songs. Paperhaus have a lot of potential, and some really cool songs, but I don’t think they’re quite there yet. –Alex Gilvarry 

Paperhaus
Self-Titled
Self-Released
Street: 02.10
Paperhaus = 
Max Pain and the Groovies + Tame Impala

From where I stand, most modern psychedelic rock is overly saturated junk born in a dirty garage and unfortunately inflicted on the world around it. Paperhaus skirt most of the negative aspects of modern psych rock, but only just barely, by adding elements of indie rock and a touch of pop sensibility into their songs. Up-tempo numbers like lead track “Cairo” have a playful and dreamy quality that I think gives these guys a wider appeal, but slow burners like the 7½ minute centerpiece “Misery” kind of ruin it for me. No artist should be told what to make—that usually ends with good bands making terrible music—but sometimes musicians need someone looking over their shoulder to help them avoid making shitty songs. Paperhaus have a lot of potential, and some really cool songs, but I don’t think they’re quite there yet. –Alex Gilvarry 

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Avi Buffalo
At Best Cuckold
Sub Pop
Street: 09.09
Avi Buffalo = Smith Westerns + Tame Impala

Avi Zahner-Isenberg wants to rub his dick all over your chest, or at least that’s the message I’ve gotten listening to this album. It’s been four years since Avi Buffalo released their self-titled debut album and, as much as things have changed with this band, not much has changed at all. Musically, Avi Buffalo has seen a significant course correction, for the better, in my opinion. Instead of playing busy pop and riffing on bands like Band of Horses like on the debut, this record is dreamy pop that takes after greats like The Flaming Lips and The Beatles. Unfortunately, despite the strides they’ve made musically, the lyrics on this album leave something to be desired. The lyrical content on their first album was appropriately juvenile for a group just out of high school, but if Avi Buffalo really want to be taken seriously, they might stop writing about boners. –Alex Gilvarry

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His Name Is Alive
Tecuciztecatl
London London
Street: 10.28.14
His Name Is Alive = Guns N’ Roses + Dirty Projectors

Do you like wicked awesome guitar solos for 70 minutes straight and obtuse storylines? Then His Name is Alive’s new album Tecuciztecatl might be your new favorite thing! By virtue of being a rock opera, this album isn’t going to be for everyone—and by virtue of being a 44-minute guitar solo broken up by some pretty bits with mellotron, this album isn’t really for me. The performances on the record seem stuck in the ’70s, and I can’t really understand why anyone under the age of 35 would want to listen to this band. It’s probably me. If you like classic rock, you’ll probably love this album, but I can’t find much cultural relevance in this music. –Alex Gilvarry

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Echoes
The Pursuit
Universal Warning
Street: 03.24
Echoes = Sparta + Fugazi + Mogwai

Echoes seem like a band poised to ride the success of genre-blending hardcore acts like Deafheaven into potential mainstream success. These guys play an ambient kind of sweeping post-hardcore that would fit them quite nicely playing with local favorite Eons or huge national acts like Explosions in the Sky. The textural guitar playing on The Pursuit wraps the underlying hardcore songs in a warm blanket of ambience that takes some of the edge off what would be an otherwise jarring album to a non-hardcore audience. Lacking the tortured screams of vocalist Joshua Thurbin, you might be forgiven for thinking this album was just going to be a fast paced post-rock record. Though they may not be entirely original in their songwriting and musical style, Echoes have created an extremely enjoyable ambient hardcore record that should land them plenty of fans. –Alex Gilvarry

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Sannhet 
Revisionist 
The Flenser
Street: 03.03
Sannhet = Deafheaven + Explosions in the Sky 

Sannhet deserve at least a modicum of success with their new album, and I’m afraid they won’t find it because people are going to assume they’re just trying to ride the wave of possibility left over from the success of Deafheaven’s breakthrough album Sunbather. Such a comparison isn’t completely inaccurate, but it is a little unfair. Sannhet has the requisite post-rock/metal sound to warrant the comparison for sure, but that only pecks at the surface of this album. Sannhet has crafted an amazing, instrumental sound based in metal, but I think they have more in common with post-rock greats like This Will Destroy You than they do with any kind of metal act. This music on this record carries far more emotional weight than your typical blast beat onslaught, and I think any fan of post-rock can find something here to chew on. –Alex Gilvarry 

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This Will Destroy You
Another Language
Suicide Squeeze
Street: 09.12
This Will Destroy You = Mogwai + Tortoise

In a genre that’s not exactly known for its immediacy, Another Language takes its time. At the same time, with songs clocking in around the 4.5-minute mark, these dudes get to the point much quicker than many of their more famous contemporaries. That doesn’t really seem to make sense, but it totally fits. If there were ever a post-rock record that could be considered “pop,” it might be this one. However, there is no way that this could ever get played on the radio with how subtly it moves from one idea to the next. I usually listen to this genre for the big release, but Another Language never quite delivers in the way Sigur Rós might, and I’m glad for it. These consistently changing songs might not necessarily be breaking new ground, but the quality and movement here is enough to keep me coming back for more. –Alex Gilvarry

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Speed the Plough – Now

Speed the Plough – Now

Speed the Plough
Now

Coyote Records
Street: 12.11.15
Speed the Plough = Fleetwood Mac + Jefferson Airplane

Now is what happens when that band that was pretty good in college gets back together. Speed the Plough have been around since 1984, and if you go on their website you can listen to some of the stuff from their 1991 album Wonder Wheel. That material is actually quite good ’80s alternative pop rock, but somewhere along the ensuing 24 years they, like most musicians, lost it. Where their old material has a nice groove and melody, this record plays like a mediocre high school rock band making their first album. Their lyrics are sophomoric, the instrumentals are derivative, and the vocal melodies are clunky and out of place. This kind of thing is pretty fun for the musicians, but the pleasure doesn’t really extend beyond that. Skim Now, but go check out their old stuff from the ’80s and early ’90s. It’s pretty good. –Alex Gilvarry

Savages & Bo Ningen 
Words To The Blind 
Stolen / Pop Noire
Street: 11.20.14
Savages & Bo Ningen = Savages + Perfect Pussy + Tomorrow, in a Year–era The Knife 

If not necessarily the most compelling, Words To The Blind is certainly the most interesting album I’ve ever listened to. Documenting the live performance of collaborating band Savages & Bo Ningen, this 37-minute song is a non-essential curiosity for fans of either band. Opening with both vocalists whispering in languages I do not speak, while slowly bringing in guitars, these bands manage to evoke a sense of mystery and, for me, anxiety that I think would have made this performance something worth seeing. You can find elements of both bands surfacing in the dissonant noise, but nothing seems clearly the work of one or the other—maybe excepting a few minutes with Savages singing in English. This could be a really cool—or maybe terrifying—listen on drugs, but I don’t think anyone is going to make this record a regular part of their music library. –Alex Gilvarry 

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Grass – Naysayer

Grass
Naysayer
Self-Released
Street: 06.17
Grass = Minus the Bear

Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying, “Whatever you are, be a good one,” and I think Grass fully live up to President Lincoln’s advice. Not necessarily because they are a good band—they are—but there is more to it than that. Listening to Naysayer, it’s pretty obvious that these guys listen to, and would like to be, Minus the Bear. If you follow music criticism long enough, you’ll more than likely see bands get ripped apart for sounding too much like some other popular acts—Muse sounding like Radiohead comes to mind—but I don’t think that’s always fair. Grass sound pretty much exactly like Minus the Bear, but that shouldn’t be counted against them. Naysayer is like the musical version of a fan fiction, and the source material is Menos el Oso. Only unlike, say, 50 Shades of Grey, they pull it off really well. –Alex Gilvarry

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Dennis Fuller – Denney Fuller & His Elaborate Elves Create Christmas Magic For All to Hear!

Dennis Fuller – Denney Fuller & His Elaborate Elves Create Christmas Magic For All to Hear!

Dennis Fuller
Denney Fuller & His Elaborate Elves Create Christmas Magic For All to Hear!

Self-Released
Street: 11.26
Dennis Fuller = Sufjan Stevens + Mannheim Steamroller

Does the world need another recorded version of “Away in a Manger?” It’s an age old philosophical question and Dennis Fuller believes he has the answer. Yes. The answer is yes, apparently. This collection of standard Christmas songs was recorded at Salt Lake Community College by what appears to be a group of music majors, and is incredibly reminiscent of Sufjan Stevens modern classic Christmas albums. These tracks are really well done and add a nice subtle twist on some classic tunes. Should be a great stocking stuffer for your grandma. –Alex Gilvarry