Author: Cody Hudson

Snowflake
We All Grow Toward The Sea
The Satellite Union
Street: 12.10.13
Snowflake = The Headphones + Minus The Bear
This album was recorded by recording engineer/producer D. James Goodwin in his spare time between producing albums. He is clearly a talented guy—he plays every instrument featured on the album and has worked as a recording engineer for some recognizable names (Norah Jones, Devo). I guess working with douchebag musicians for a living must be rough since all of the songs have a somber tone. The keyboard and guitar work is beautiful and atmospheric while the percussion is almost industrial. The album is well done, but you probably won’t like it unless you are still into David Bazan. –Cody Hudson
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Deerhunter
Monomania
4AD 
Street: 05.07
Deerhunter = Atlas Sound + Sic Alps
This album is a bit of a change for Deerhunter—a bit less shoegazy and experimental, and a lot more fun. Reminiscent of some of the early Les Savy Fav stuff, each song is a perfect indie-pop song hidden behind layers of fuzz and tape delay. The vocals are layered, and make heavy use of echo, and the guitar lines are simple and raw. The noisy experimental stuff is there, but it really complements the distorted pop songs, a lot like Ty Segall’s album Melted. Some of the songs are less on the bluesy side of garage rock and more dissonant like Women, especially “Leather Jacket II,” where the ugliness is the main draw and what makes the song interesting and memorable. The title track offers a nice break from the dissonance, where everything is gritty and repetitive, but not uninteresting. The album as a whole is awesome—Deerhunter changed their sound again, and it doesn’t disappoint.  –Cody Hudson

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The Entrance Band
Face The Sun
Beyond Beyond is Beyond
Street: 11.19.13
The Entrance Band = The Growlers + Alice in Chains
This album sounds like a ’90s alternative band trying to latch on to the recent rebirth of the psychedelic trend. Maybe it is the thinly veiled (read: shitty) heroin metaphors, or maybe it is the surprisingly sexy female bass player from A Perfect Circle and Zwan, but despite the decent melodies and engaging psychedelic-surf guitars, this album seems dated and uncool. The song “Spider” is clearly about heroin addiction, and at certain points, the vocals are straight out of early ’90s grunge movement. The highlights of the album are the guitarists’ winding psychedelic lines and the backing vocals. –Cody Hudson
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Armed With Legs
Self-Titled
Self-Released
Street: 06.11
Armed With Legs = Kickball + Local Natives
To stand out as a two-piece you have to be creative. You are starting off at a disadvantage, and even if you are damn-decent, at best you will be getting compliments laced with qualifiers: "They sound really good … for a two piece." Armed With Legs use a mixture of oddly timed noodly guitar lines and interesting and inventive percussion to stand out. "Baby Rattlesnakes" reminds me a bit of The Mae Shiâ "Body 1, Bite 1," and uses an oddly breathy a capella as the hook. The percussion is reminiscent of Menomena, though decidedly minimalistic. My main beef with the album is that the vocals are too pretty, lacking in any sort of character. I couldn’t pick his voice out of a group of voice majors. -Cody Hudson

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Thee Oh Sees
Singles Collection Vol. 3
Castle Face Records
Street: 11.26.13
Thee Oh Sees = The Gories + Ty Segall
I was pretty stoked about this release, if only because I finally have a digital version of my favorite song by Thee Oh Sees, “Crushed Grass” (specifically the version off of the Bruise Cruise split 7” with Ty Segall). Another track to check out is the 7:34 version of the two-minute song “Block of Ice” off of the album The Master’s Bedroom Is Worth Spending A Night In. This collection of singles is a treat for any John Dwyer fan, featuring alternate and live versions of a handful of songs featured on previous albums. Due to the disjointed nature of a collection of singles, it might not be the best introduction album for new listeners, but Thee Oh Sees have yet to release anything bad and this is no exception. –Cody Hudson
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The Besnard Lakes
Until in Excess, Imperceptible UFO
Jagjaguwar
Street: 04.02
The Besnard Lakes = Memoryhouse + Telefauna
This album would pair best with a morphine drip. This shoegaze sonata is lush and minimalistic all at once. The chorus for "The Specter" sounds like it came straight from from Veckatimest. Husband and wife Jace Lasek and Olga Gorea command their four piece like a stadium rock orchestra, pumping out an album that is the indie equivalent to The Smashing Pumpkins’ Siamese Dream. None of the songs stand out to me in particular, because the album melts together so perfectly. -Cody Hudson

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Xiu Xiu
Angel Guts: Red Classroom
Polyvinyl
Street: 02.04
Xiu Xiu = This Song Is A Mess But So Am I + Milk:Blood
On this most recent Xiu Xiu release, Jamie Stewart has taken a darker, more gothic approach than on other recent albums. Some apt comparisons might be Bauhaus or Siouxsie And The Banshees. The hook on “Stupid in the Dark” is reminiscent of The Weeknd’s “House Of Balloons – Glass Table Girls,” and makes it the most listenable track by far. If you’re to believe the press release, Stewart has rid himself of his pop affectations, but I disagree. The dark, pulsating, emotional beat that is present throughout the album, in one form or another, has some strong similarities to one of the most successful albums of 2013: Kanye West’s Yeezus, which some say is a return to Stewart’s roots, but is more calculated, more listenable, and more interesting. –Cody Hudson
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The Black Angels
Indigo Meadow
Blue Horizon Ventures
Street: 04.02
The Black Angels = Dead Meadow + Black Mountain
I don’t really understand Salt Lake City’s love for The Black Angels. Phosphene Dream was decent at best and people here were going nuts for it. With Indigo Meadow we see The Black Angels moving away from Psych-rock and toward garage rock. I am a huge fan of garage rock, but there are plenty of bands who do it better than this. From what I can tell, “Don’t Play With Guns” is a preachy gun control anthem, but I still like it a lot since the chorus sounds like something off of Thee Oh Sees’ The Master’s Bedroom is Worth Spending a Night in. There are some catchy songs, and a lot less psychedelia, so it should be something I really like, but it just feels like a step backward. –Cody Hudson

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The Men
Tomorrow’s Hits
Sacred Bones
Street 03.04
The Men = Ryan Adams + White Denim
People never stopped making (what would now be considered) classic rock. Tomorrow’s Hits is a classic rock album at its core, with strong influences from Ted Nugent and Neil Young. With its wailing vocals and persistent, chugging beat “Different Days” sounds like an old B-side from The Walkmen. Each song sounds like it could have been featured on The Big Lebowski soundtrack. It seems that The Men have been moving away from their aggressive roots in favor of piano riffs, harmonicas, and slow, steady guitar solos. It is a step forward. –Cody Hudson

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Shannon and the Clams 
Dreams in the Rat House
Hardly Art
Street: 05.21
Shannon & The Clams = Hunx & His Punx + Nobunny
When Sleep Talk came out two years ago, it managed to blend forced nostalgia with something fresh. Shannon Shaw and Cody Blanchard’s vocals wail over the plucky surf-rock guitar, churning out complex yet familiar melodies. Shannon’s calculated growl makes me feel like like I am at a beach-themed high school formal in the early ‘60s. This time around, there is a bit more of a rockabilly influence, but the sound is still unmistakably theirs. My only complaint is that there are a few points in the album that try for a more raw visceral sound, “Bed Rock” being the best example. It doesn’t sound natural for them, especially after an extra-swoony “Rip Van Winkle”. They maintained enough of what made the last album great, and changed enough to sound interesting and new. ¬–Cody Hudson

 

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