Author: Karamea Puriri

Young Galaxy

Ultramarine

Paper Bag Records

Street: 04.23

Young Galaxy = Twin Sister + Kate Bush

When I heard “Pretty Boy,” the first single from Young Galaxy’s fourth release, Ultramarine, I anxiously awaited tuning my ears into the rest of the album. I discovered Young Galaxy through their 2011 record, Shapeshifting, and was immediately hooked on the synth-heavy dance beats the group was creating. Ultramarine is a one off from Young Galaxy’s previous work, and reminds me of something similar to a dream-pop roller coaster. Each track has the potential to take you on that “high off the euphoric bassline” ride, but it’s not quite there. I played and replayed the album, listening to it on my computer, through headphones, in my car, and it didn’t quite hit in the way I had hoped. “Pretty Boy” still has the ability to grab the listener and captivate them enough to make their way through the album. Just before they might fall off the ride,  “Fever” and “What We Want” keep them holding on with delirious, ’80s-inspired basslines. Ultramarine is a bit more light than previous YG albums, which might not be the right feel for Catherine McCandless’ rich voice. By no means is Ultramarine an album I would never listen to, but it’s one I unfortunately don’t have on repeat. –Karamea Puriri

 

Photos:
Temples
Sun Structures
Fat Possum Records
Street: 02.11
Temples = The Beatles + Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Temples falls into a very long line of bands who have traveled down the psych-pop-rock path in an attempt to capture groovy, spaced-out hearts full of love. With a refreshing sound that’s a bit more crisp, they just might be able to do it. When I first heard “Mesmerise,” one of the pre-released singles off the album, I was hooked. The album is a head-bobbing mix of simple, psychedelic melodies paired with Beatle-esque vocals. Although their sound is very similar to Tame Impala, it’s not as mushy, making it easier to connect with each track. With a clear sound, Sun Structures separates Temples from the rest of the blurry, psych-rock bands that have been around lately. With upbeat tracks like “The Golden Throne” and “Test of Time,” it’s hard to not tap your foot to the beat. But don’t let that turn you away—the more mellow tracks like “Move With The Season” and “Sand Dance” are still very mushroom-trip worthy. Sun Structures will quickly capture the attention of those waiting to add a little diversity to their very full high-on-life playlist. If I hadn’t known that this was Temples’ debut album, I could’ve been convinced that this was originally released back in 1967. –Karamea Puriri
Photos:
Tycho
Awake
Ghostly International
Street: 10.14.13
Tycho = El Ten Eleven + Blue Hawaii
It is safe to say that I have been a Tycho fan from the beginning. I have closely followed his work since Past is Prologue, and I was extremely interested to see what his third studio release would bring. Awake pulls similar sounds from both Past is Prologue and Dive, and is very much a Tycho record, but it is more intricate. There is more to connect with. Scott Hansen has made a linear progression from Dive into the sounds of Awake. The first single off the album, “Awake,” immediately proves that with the inclusion of the guitar, something that had been missing in his previous work. Although there was a presence of drums and guitars in his live shows, Hansen hardly used them in recordings. As I move through each song, the line between Awake and Dive becomes blurred, but if you listen closely, the guitar is laced throughout. The album still has that airy Tycho feel, but it is heavier. “Dye” brings my understanding of Tycho’s growth full circle, and I turned on a track from Past is Prologue just to be sure I was hearing it correctly. Hansen has created a blend of organic and digital that isn’t overwhelming to fans of Tycho’s earlier work, but heavy enough that it might even be enjoyed by an indie rock fan. The final three tracks of Awake show how far Hansen has come with not just his understanding of music but his ability to grow and evolve, bringing his listeners along for the ride. “Plains” slowly relaxes the end of the album, while the all-too-familiar Tycho melodies are strummed by a guitar and the song slowly fades out. Successful third albums are hard to come by, but I am glad I have stuck by Tycho this long. –Karamea Puriri
Photos:
Múm
Smilewound
Morr Music
Street: 09.06
Múm = Chromatics + Múm’s Finally We Are No One
When I first turned on Smilewound by Múm, my stomach knotted up and I immediately got anxious and a little nervous for what was about to transpire. I fell in love with Múm one night back in 2004 when I first heard Finally We Are No One. There are subtle hints of Finally We Are No One intertwined through the first single off of Smilewound, “Toothwheels,” and just as they have grown and expanded their sound over the years, those subtle hints come and go throughout the entire album. I was pleasantly surprised to hear the voice of Gyða Valtýsdóttir in a few songs—she is one of the original members who has not been a part of the group in almost 10 years. You hear her quietly on “Underwater Snow,” and fully on “Slow Down,” and her voice immediately takes you back to We Have A Map of the Piano. Gyða’s voice complements the album, adding a bit of familiarity to it. Smilewound is deeper than I remember Múm being. It’s as if they have filled out the small cracks that have been visible over the years and they are finally finding a sound they are comfortable with. From the upbeat sounds that play through “Candlestick,” to the airy rings of “Time to Scream and Shout,” Smilewound is an all encompassing experience. Fans of Múm will appreciate the adventure and expansion of this album, however, it may take a few plays through for new fans to fully understand the ever awe inspiring magic that is Múm. –Karamea Puriri
Photos:

Tim & Adam

Self-Released

Self-Titled

Street: 05.07

Tim & Adam = Memory Cassette + Tennis

Before Tim & Adam, I had never actually listened to either of them. Tim, of The Postmarks and Adam from I Am Stereo came together and created an album that will most likely end up on many a summer mixtapes. The mix of psyche pop synths and both of Tim and Adam’s airy vocals make for perfect tracks to cruise to the lake to, drive to the mountains, or just sit in the backyard with a lemonade and jam out. Recorded on an early-’70s Lowrey organ, there are a lot of new and fun things to hear. And that’s exactly what the album is: fun. This isn’t necessarily one of those albums I would pop in to have a super far-out experience listening to, but it is one to turn on when you just want to be happy. It’s as simple as that. For instance, the tracks “Stuck In My Head” and “What Are We To Do” keep the vibe of the LP uber mellow, while “So Much More,” keeps your foot tapping and the energy around you bright and cheery. The music isn’t complicated, the vocals aren’t overpowering, but for a debut LP, I don’t think that’s a bad thing for these guys. Whether a one-time effort or the beginning of something new, the effort put in was well done. –Karamea Puriri


Photos: