Author: Cody Hudson

Jonathan Rado
Law and Order
Woodsist
Street: 09.03
Jonathan Rado = Tomorrows Tulips + Fresh and Onlys
The opening track “Seven Horses” starts off with an odd, fluid, warbling synth line and morphs into catchy ’60s pop. Because of the simplicity of the lyrics (“If you feel it all, clap your hands”) and the weird synth noise, I thought it was going to be pretty similar to the MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular, but by the second track it had completely changed. The second track is a back and forth duet, that is somewhere between Scott Walker’s “30th Century Man” and a Johnny Cash and June Carter love song. The album progresses with a clear theme, but each track feels unique from the last. All in all, it is a very solid release from this member of Foxygen. –Cody Hudson
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Marijuana Deathsquads
Oh My Sexy Lord
TGNP
Street: 10.15
Marijuana Deathsquads = The Mars Volta + Subtle
This band is a super group of sorts (or so their press releases would have you believe) with the two most notable members being P.O.S. and Ryan Olsen (the guy behind Gayngs). As is the case with a great deal of so-called super groups, this release is pretty masturbatory. With intense, pulsating, electronic jam-band beats and half scream, half rap vocals, it is overall pretty unpleasant to listen to. I think they are trying for a mixture of At The Drive-In and Rage Against The Machine, but it comes out closer to a more contemporary Mindless Self Indulgence. There is not a single high point on this album—the entire thing just reminds me of how shitty The Mars Volta was. –Cody Hudson
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Ovlov
Am
Exploding In Sound Records
Street: 07.02
Ovlov = Dinosaur Jr. + Japandroids
Dust off your Doc Martins, and add Twin Peaks to your instant queue—the 90s are coming back whether you like it or not. Ovlov’s instrumental simplicity is reminiscent of indie-precursors like Pavement or Mclusky. The vocals have a bit of that post-punk whininess and the lyrics are, for the most part, indiscernible, but they do it well. The opening track “Grapes” has a cameo from Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie Dupuis, whose softer backing vocals offer a welcome contrast from the harshness, and provide the perfect introduction to the album. The album seems sincere and doesn’t try too hard to be cool. –Cody Hudson
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Sunwolf
Angel Eyes
El Rey Records
Street: 10.08
Sunwolf = Home Blitz + John Wesley Coleman
These guys clearly set out to make a fun album that doesn’t take itself too seriously. That being said, it probably should have taken itself a little more seriously. The lyrics are cheesy, and the instrumentals would be really well received at a high school house show. There is a lot of simple, cheesy lo-fi out there that is really good, but this album lacks the charm required to turn those weaknesses into strengths. I think the song “Fire Breathing Dragon” is trying to foster some of that charm, but the pomp and swagger in singer Rob Tifford’s voice sounds contrived and uninteresting. –Cody Hudson
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Cuckoo Chaos
Home Recordings, Demos, and Rarities
Lefse Records
Street: 12.18.12
Cuckoo Chaos = M. Ward + Micah P. Hinson + Here We Go Magic
This is one of the best demos and rarities compilations that I have heard. Usually rarities albums are choppy and inconsistent, with each song being recorded at a different time, and there are usually some pretty shitty songs. This feels like a cohesive album with a central theme, but that isn’t to say there aren’t slight variances. “No She Dunton” has an almost flamenco, crooning feel to it, while “The Ballad of What Was” is pretty reminiscent of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, but with a much more sparse intimacy. With its minimalistic instrumentation and lulling sense of sadness, “Letter #3” sounds like something out of a Wes Anderson movie. The jangly piano ballad “Me and Ewe,” while not typical instrumentally (most songs are lo-fi acoustic) epitomizes the sentiment of the album: listless, hopeful, with a longing for the cutesy sentimentality that most people call love.  This was apparently released to help raise funds for an actual album, but I say fuck it, record more songs like this. –Cody Hudson

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Eksi Ekso
Archfiend
Retro Records
Street: 05.17
Eksi Ekso = Minus The Bear + Sparta
Shitty bands love buzzwords, like art-pop and hyper-sexualized; these guys have nothing but buzzwords. I feel like the lead singer was in a Hoobastank tribute band, and this is his attempt to stay relevant. I honestly can’t tell if it is satire. Most songs start out with a shitty synth line that a high school student would come up with after getting really into Muse, and build their way up to an upbeat chorus sung entirely in a poorly executed falsetto. After they feel they have you dancing to their early-2000s indie-rock nightmare, they slow it down and bring in a piano, so that you know that they are serious artists with depth, then they throw in some nifty math-rock guitar lines (à la Minus The Bear) and repeat 10 times.

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Hands

Synesthesia

Kill Rock Stars

Street: 04.30

Hands = Foster The People + Harlem Shakes

This band might end up being way popular, that doesn’t mean they are any good though. Every song is a radio-friendly bright and upbeat pop song. I think they are going for the Passion Pit market, but judging by the failed falsettos in “House of Jars” they are nowhere near ready. If these guys were a local band they would be pretty impressive, but there is just so much better stuff like this out there. The highlight of the album “Lonesome Bodies” would make great filler on a summer road-trip playlist––it has a fairly interesting beat and a synth-line very reminiscent of Passion Pit’s “Little Secrets,” but without the failed falsettos he attempts elsewhere in the album. I wouldn’t recommend this album, but I also wouldn’t make fun of you for listening to it. Cody Hudson


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Xiu Xiu

Nina

Graveface

Street: 12.02.13

Xiu Xiu = This Song Is a Mess But So Am I + Former Ghosts

This is obviously a work of love. This homage to the late, great soulstress Nina Simone is beautiful and stark. I would probably never compliment Jamie Stewart’s vocal ability, but its breathy awkwardness set to the abstract, minimalist pseudo-jazz is fitting. For me, the highlight of the album is the more upbeat and familiar “See Line Woman,” in which Stewart finally raises his voice above a whispering whimper, as the instrumentals seem to slither and screech. I think that jazz is very suiting of Stewart’s vocal style and allows for a more palatable form of abstract expression. –Cody Hudson
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Kid Cudi 

 

Indicud

Republic Records

Street: 04.16

Kid Cudi = Kanye West + Wiz Khalifa 

Not masculine enough for gangsta rap, and not clever enough for backpack rap, Kid Cudi is akin to the middle school kid who discovered schwag, constantly reminding you that he loves weed. He removes all of the self-destructive wonder from drug use that rap, as a construct, has worked so hard to instill. He makes drugs lame, and that is a pretty tough thing to do. This is also Kid Cudi’s first venture in producing, and he has failed miserably: the beats are lackluster and seem to have been haphazardly thrown together. On “Young Lady”, the beats seem completely out of time with the Father John Misty sample and are completely distracting from the song’s ultra-lame chorus. For me, the highlight of the album is the track “Brothers” featuring A$AP Rocky: the beat is interesting and his verse is decent, and the mediocre A$AP verse is better than any other on the album. –Cody Hudson

 

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