Tag » music reviews
I’ve long suspected that Jamie Stewart, the brains and bleeding heart of Xiu Xiu, could be the third member of Mates of State, exiled from their land of hetero jangle-pop to a rehab center for self-harm. In a similar vein as 2010’s Dear God, I Hate Myself, the band’s new album Always (out now on Polyvinyl) finds Xiu Xiu still wandering the freeways, subsisting on fistfuls of wild kumquats and prescription painkillers. Stewart’s voice ... Read More
Splendor Squalor (out now on Kanine), the second full-length from Brooklyn-based Xray Eyeballs, finds the quartet in a much poppier place than they were on their first effort, Not Nothing. The raw, energetic sound backing O.J. San Felipe’s husky vocals is still present, along with the perfect blend of nostalgia for sounds of the past with a vision decidedly focused on the future. But if Not Nothing felt like a Velvet Undergound–hosted night of garage ... Read More
After an especially traumatic breakup, Islands frontman Nick Thorburn moved from New York to Los Angeles, looking to find solace in a new environment. On Valentine’s Day of last year, Thorburn sat down at a piano and began to play what would become A Sleep & A Forgetting (out now on Anti-), an album in which Thorburn exorcises the demons of his heartbreak, showing both despair and forward-looking optimism. Recorded in just two weeks, the album is less ... Read More
The solitary struggles and internal vacillation that helped Erika Wennerstrom build The Mountain have led her to a grounded place of reflection on the Heartless Bastards' new album Arrow (out now on Partisan). This 10-song LP is a travelogue from the open road that rambles through the rust-colored dirt and expansive landscape of the Southwest. “Marathon,” a meditative prologue, is the warm-up stretch that kicks the journey into gear, rolling into the ... Read More
Gotye’s highly-anticipated third release Making Mirrors (out now on Samples'n'Seconds/Fairfax/Universal Republic) is filled with percussion-driven songs in a wide range of compositional styles. Recorded in a barn down under in remote Australia, Belgian multi-instrumentalist Wouter "Wally" De Backer creates an intricate, expansive sound on what's sure to be a breakout album (FYI: Gotye is pronounced "Gauthier," from the French translation of Wouter). The ... Read More
Let January 31, 2012 be known as the day that it happened: the day that Born to Die (out now on Interscope) finally dropped. After months of furious Internet opining, illegal downloads of leaked tracks, tons of grainy live footage, and one questionable Saturday Night Live performance, we now have an entire record of moody, lilting pop songs with which to rightfully judge Lana Del Rey. So what is the verdict?  It is—wait for it—not that bad. Some ... Read More
Korallreven doesn’t sound like anybody else, but if I had to try, I'd say they're like a lover’s caress on a sunny afternoon with just a little bit of Enya and a touch of Ace of Base. On their full-length debut An Album by Korallreven (out now on Acéphale), the Swedish duo’s unique sound incorporates ominous undertones with optimistic, uplifting soundscapes of epic proportions. Lead vocals are steady and robotic, flanked by choir-like ... Read More
If “Time Travel,” one of the more delightfully sinister tracks on Blouse's self-titled debut, is to be believed, the band has the ability to fluidly travel between present, past, and future. The album (out now on Captured Tracks), which sounds nostalgic and fresh all at once, confirms this assertion. Charlie Hilton’s lead vocals hover somewhere between Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier and Beach House’s Victoria Legrand, while the melodies ... Read More
Despite the title, Brite Futures’ new album Dark Past (out now on Turnout) is anything but gloomy. The Seattle-based band (formerly known as Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head) split from Warner Bros. and have since moved on to indie label Turnout, a move that underlies some songs on the new record. The quintet of Claire England, Shaun Libman, Luke Smith, David Price, and Conor Sisk may have a new name, but they can still bring us an album full of ... Read More
Motherhood seems to have been quite an influential force on Kimya Dawson’s new album Thunder Thighs (out now on her label Great Crap Factory). Many of the songs--as well as the Sesame-Street-on-acid album cover--evoke whimsical sensibilities that wouldn’t be out of place in a hip kindergarten classroom. Dawson’s desire to create music she can share with her now five-year-old daughter reached an apex on 2008’s Alphabutt, a collection of ... Read More
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