Author: Allison Shepard

Daniel Pimentel – Selfish Songs

Daniel Pimentel – Selfish Songs

Daniel Pimentel
Selfish Songs

Self-Released
Street: 06.15
Daniel Pimentel = Modest Mouse x Blitzen Trapper + Ben Gibbard

Opening with various voicemails about overdue library books and deeply personal fights with friends, Selfish Songs offers a detailed look inside Daniel Pimentel’s life right from the get-go. The album continues to follow this pattern with each song exploring different sounds and themes—see folk-rock tendencies on “Wanderlust” versus the soul-searching contemplativeness of “Alleluia” to the piano-pop ditty in “Light Blues.” Normally, I shy away from artists that attempt such a vast variety of sound, but here it actually works. Each song is a natural progression of the one before it, creating a moderate balance across alternating genres. Definitely worth picking up. –Allison Shephard

New God

Firework

Yellow K Records

Street: 07.29

New God = Elliott Smith x Birds of Tokyo + Mac DeMarco

Streaming sounds that are equal parts Appalachian folk, Native American chanting, modern World elements and varying degrees of electronic fuzziness, New God lives up to its dramatic and commanding name. The perfect levels of vocal harmonization are so sublime and angelic that they make The Beach Boys look like amateurs. While the majority of the album is set to a fairly slow pace, “Summer Girl” keeps true to its name by adding a fluffy, upbeat, indie-pop California anthem. Vibe out to the mellow, lo-fi sounds on the title track, “I Know Something About You” and “More” when you’re driving home at night, and lose yourself in a retro, blissed-out musical vortex blurred by light pollution and the hot wind hitting your face. It’s a perfect album for night driving, and you don’t even have to make a playlist.
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Videoing
Treasure House EP
Self-Released
Street: 04.29
Videoing = Animal Collective + Le Tigre / Blondie

Opening with noise guitars and heavy beats, Videoing sucker-punch you with this five-song EP in a wave of electro-industrial sound and don’t let you up until the very end. The opening track, “Under Water,” gives us a brilliantly pseudo-sultry dance song in which lead singer Jen Bradley effectively redefines ‘80s female electro-rock for the post-millennial era with each effect-laden layer. “The Fence” is poppy enough to make it to mainstream media­—its simple, catchy lyrics sound as if Bradley is telepathically channeling Debbie Harry. On the last song, “Audrey Horne,” things finally slow down into a sexy ballad accented with piano and more noisy guitars, highlighted by Bradley’s swoony, lower register vocals. While I’m disappointed that this is only an EP and not a full-length album, I’m content to listen to this repetitively until I can get my hands on their next album. –Allison Shephard

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Dylan Champagne & the Lost Explorers
The Bones EP
MondoTunes
Street: 04.08
Dylan Champagne & the Lost Explorers = Elvis Presley x The Growlers

The first time I heard this album, I fucking hated it. I figured that there was nothing new to be done with the original rock ‘n roll sound. The rock n’ roll and rockabilly sound has been around forever, what could they possibly do to make it innovative? Dylan Champagne and Co. manages to take a fresh perspective on the genre by adding a nice modern indie twist. “Starboard 1972” is fun, catchy and completely Californian with its use of surfer guitars and wavy, urgent vocals. “Alien Kid” is by far the strongest song, which exemplifies the group’s range in their ability to originally replicate the vibe of the ‘50s and ‘60s while adding their own flair to the mix. While it took me a minute to come around to this, I’m so glad I gave it a second chance. –Allison Shephard

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Meg Baird – Don’t Weigh Down the Light
Meg Baird
Don’t Weigh Down the Light

Drag City
Street: 06.23
Meg Baird = Dolores O’Riordan + Mariee Sioux

Combining crisp Celtic vocals with precise, finger-picked guitars, Meg Baird takes us on a highly controlled yet surprisingly fluid journey through feelings of displacement and wandering. Moving from Philadelphia to San Francisco, it is clear that—although meditatively so—Baird has experienced a distinct sense of loss (see “Even the Walls Don’t Want You to Go” and “Past Houses”). Even though the subject matter isn’t particularly uplifting, Don’t Weigh Down the Light never drags or feels too repetitive—each song is perfectly crafted with a soft lightness that keeps it all from getting too humdrum. What’s interesting is that melodies and vocals are often recycled throughout the songs, but as each portion is reused, new elements can be detected. This is perfect for Sunday afternoons and late-night decompressing. –Allison Shephard