Archive for the ‘indie rock’ tag
Los Angeles trio Warpaint will release their self-titled sophomore LP next month. “Biggy” is an ethereal cut from the upcoming album; light, woozy, and vaguely psychedelic, the track is a far cry from the airy post-punk of the previously released “Love Is To Die.” If these two songs are any indication, Warpaint, out January 21 on Rough Trade Records, should be a diverse mix of hazy, elegant sounds.
If Pastel and Pass Out sounds like some weird advice about what to do after you’ve had a few too many, then you’re already on the right track with the new EP from No Joy. The concise three-track collection from the Montreal collective is subdued, melancholy, and totally transportive in vibe, making for one perfectly soundtracked end-of-night (or early morning) come down.
Led by Jasamine White-Gluz and Laura Lloyd, No Joy have been successfully cultivating their shoegaze sound since the band’s 2010 debut, Ghost Blonde, and have only been growing in subtle power since that time. This year’s sophomore effort Wait To Pleasure was rich in melody and full of lush, yet precise, instrumentals, often a rare combination when it comes to shoegaze. Pastel and Pass Out lead single “Last Boss” only proves that these ladies are ready to push the envelope even further; soft and dreamy, the dynamic track is a journey through crunching guitars and rhythmic bass lines, ending with a mysterious ellipsis of a conclusion.
Soon, “Starchild is Dead” surges ahead, a weighty and pretty benchmark between “Last Boss” and final track “Second Spine.” The headbang-worthy middle section of “Starchild is Dead” begs for live performance, sure to be fierce and shreddy the whole way through. With a driving drum beat and gentle background cooing, “Second Spine” concludes on a more pop-influenced note, proving that No Joy’s take on shoegaze is malleable, and never static.
It’s rare that a three-song EP sounds so full, but No Joy achieve true harmony in just twelve minutes on Pastel and Pass Out. Like that soothing glass of cool water after a booze-fueled night of fun, these tracks go down light, easy, and satisfying. Though there’s already a new LP in the works, for now, Pastel and Pass Out fits the bill quite nicely.
There’s just no stopping The Orwells. Chicago’s teen garage rock phenoms are back with yet another new single; “Dirty Sheets” is the speedy follow-up to “Other Voices,” released this summer, and “Who Needs You,” released in September. But while the latter two tracks shared a common theme and vibe (jangly, rebellious, late-summer good times), “Dirty Sheets” seems to mark a sonic transition for the barely-legal band. Still fueled by the combined power of youth and adrenaline, “Dirty Sheets” is also cohesive, mature, and thoroughly promising.
Brooklyn’s Radical Dads put the power back in power trio; they slice, dice, and shred like no other, thanks to their compelling two-guitar (plus drums) combination. The band’s new single, “Creature Out,” follows their strong sophomore effort Rapid Reality, released only this May. If the hazy, melodic-yet-fuzzy nature of this brand new track is any indication, there’s plenty more good stuff on the way.
We’ve been here before: Yezus, Centipede Hz; the deliberately weird and weirdly singular follow up to a career-defining critical and commercial success. It’s not to say that these albums are necessarily worse than their predecessors, but artists and critics alike must be careful of how much credibility we give a release for not sounding like it “should.” In terms of reception, there is probably nowhere to go but down from an album like The Suburbs. And thank god, because unlike The Suburbs, Reflektor is a pretty good album. Pretty good, like, first two seasons of House good.
Arcade Fire have turned from baroque warmth to a distant, cocaine-fueled (I’m not accusing anyone of doing cocaine) snarl, reminiscent of the jagged New York sound that the Talking Heads splayed against world music in the years between Fear of Music and Speaking in Tongues. But where the Talking Heads carved out a niche with the latter album by incorporating more funk and electronica, Arcade Fire do the same exact thing – 30 years later. I really appreciate what they’re going for; Reflektor is seemingly meant to be Arcade Fire’s silliest album, and though comparisons to stadium acts like Springsteen or U2 are not unwarranted, Butler, Chassange and co. seem to understand how goofy and weird their guitar-meets-laptop synthesizers sound actually is.
But the album that should in theory be Arcade Fire’s low key, goofball rock record also seems to be striving to be their most epic release yet. Reflektor is a great big deliberate mess, but that mess sort of screams itself into a kind of uncomfortable anthemic unison. There are hints of the rhythmic dub rock that has infested American indie, most notably on “Flashbulb Eyes”, as well as the haughty Springsteen saturation on “Normal Person”; both seem to basically be the go-to sound for any group of a certain status. Reflektor’s eager mix of studio ambience, sampled dialogue, and overdriven vocals makes it an incredibly frenetic listen. A waveform of this album probably looks more like a stable tube than anything you’ve seem on Soundcloud.
It seems a shame that this is what Arcade Fire have done; I honestly don’t think orchestral indie acts with their particular acidity (at least that expressed on Neon Bible) are particularly well-represented. Again, this is a reaction; a deliberate attempt for the Arcade Fire to put some distance between themselves and their very popular Suburbs album. Much like Centipede Hz, Reflektor has its moments of true emotional solvency, such as Regine Chassagne’s slippery vocals on the beautifully forceful disco-pop choruses of “Joan Of Arc.”
Almost every song on Reflektor has some great moments, but hardly any is a truly great song. If Reflektor is to be taken as the sum of its moments and not of its songs, then fine, but I don’t thinkt hat’s what we’re supposed to be doing. The album’s sound exhibits a notion of aural excellence so directly sampled from decades of bombastic hip-hop and direct input electronica, that it’s kind of hard to stomach claims that Reflektor is Arcade Fire’s “best” sounding album yet.
Hardly as iconic as Funeral, hardly as powerful as Neon Bible, Reflektor is, at the very least, not trying to be either. It isn’t The Suburbs, but it also isn’t a return to form so much as it is a dubious reformatting. I would hate to sound like I’m criticizing a band for not sounding like they used to, but if it’s possible to be weird and experimental on your own grounds (which I think it is for Arcade Fire), then maybe you shouldn’t just go straight for someone else’s idea of experimentation.
When you sink your teeth into the goofy, neo-noir disco shag of “Reflektor”, you’re expecting the album that follows to be an absurd comic lapdance. What you get is like if Strictly Ballroom tried to be the Zeferelli Romeo and Juliette. It’s still cheesy, weird, and incredible, but it’s also great without the added melodramatic “legitimacy”. Arcade Fire probably has too many band members (all of whom seem to play a legitimate role in songwriting) to ever make something as effortlessly meek as Nebraska or 77. They’ve put a massive amount of work into trying to sound small and damaged, but they sounded much more effortless when their music was naturally massive.
AVO is an evolving three-piece indie rock band from Brooklyn, NY. The band’s music is a mash-up of funk, soul and acid rock of the sixties and seventies. AVO creates drama with their unique arraignments and plays on melody and style, but the album somehow seems disjointed and lacks polish. This being the band’s sophomore release one would expect more even from an indie band. AVO’s first record ‘New Concepts in Food’ is a polished, pop-driven album that is pleasing to the ears and has potential for more widespread appeal to a mainstream audience. The album was definitely a concept driven one.Hocus Pocus” src=”http://www.audiocred.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/1003939_385428638249255_810414581_n-300×300.jpg” width=”300″ height=”300″ />
However, on the band’s latest release ‘Hocus Pocus’, concept seems to be more of an afterthought. It sounds more like a garage band practicing for their latest gig. The album itself is marked heavily by drums and bass, and is at times dominated by it. However, the deep, raspy tones and vocals from guitarist Mr. B and bassist Ronnie DF blend together nicely at times. The funk, rock album kicks off with the aptly titled tune “The Hook”.
“The Hook” has a funky, folk sound that conjures up images of Woodstock, Bob Dylan and movies like”Saturday Night Fever” or “Fast Times At Ridgemont High”. Raspy vocals and a riff that catches your attention further highlight the track and it’s a nice kickoff to the album. However, the 15-track album keeps the same pace until you make it to the halfway mark and that’s where things get a little more interesting. One of those gems is”Savior Tooth”.
“Savior Tooth”, is a fun, funky up-tempo pop song, vocals are more polished and the blend of electric guitar and drums work together rather than fight against each other like some of the previous tracks. The sound is reminiscent of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and work well for radio. Other standout tracks on the album that deserve a listen include “You Are What You Are”,”Rely On Carothers” and”Cop In A Booth”.
AVO’s nascent focus seems to be more gaining the listener’s attention with crafty song titles and or quirky tongue in cheek references than producing a concise and clean album with grit. Wake up, AVO: The foundation is laid and with some polish AVO has potential.
For anyone who found the simple pop perfection of Best Coast’s 2010 debut, Crazy For You, utterly irresistible, the past few years have been quite the bummer. As it turns out, the same can be said for Bethany Cosentino herself. On Best Coast’s brand new seven-track EP, Fade Away, Cosentino and accomplice Bobb Bruno circle back to their more basic, charming roots; still, there’s a newfound attitude that’s darker, angrier, and far more honest than anything they’ve ever produced before. Like most twenty-somethings (this one included), growing up means a lot more than weed, the beach, and kittens plastered adorably onto album covers. Of course, there is that, but also hopes, fears, anxiety, depression, doubts, sleepless nights, and everything else Best Coast covers so gracefully on Fade Away.
Along a spectrum that includes both the bedroom lo-fi appeal of Crazy For You and the glossy studio sheen of 2012’s The Only Place, Fade Away falls somewhere in the middle. “People they change/And love it fades/My brain, it’s grey/From all the things I take,” Cosentino sings on the EP’s title track, which already is a sharp departure from the happy, sunny love songs of the 26-year-old’s back catalogue. Alas, with age comes responsibility, and Cosentino has faced her fair share of heartbreak, heartache, and self-reflection; at least, if the rest of the EP is any indication.
The title Fade Away makes sense for Best Coast’s latest effort, which includes bubblegum sounds that don’t ever verge on too-sweet radio territory. Much of this has to do with Bobb Bruno’s ever-scratchy guitar work, but also Cosentino’s mature, introspective songwriting; words that any young woman will easily relate to. “The nights are getting longer, the pain is getting stronger,” she gripes on “Fear Of My Idenity.” Later, she says “I don’t recognize who I see in the morning” on the aptly-named “Who Have I Become?”
“Baby I’m Crying” is a standout track; a winsome, country-inspired guitar ballad that rips and jangles between Cosentino’s open wounds. “My life has come and gone so fast/I can’t remember much from the past,” she claims, which sounds silly for a young woman of 26. Then again, we’ve all been there– or are there right now (cough cough)– which makes each track on Fade Away all the more real, raw, and satisfying.
As its name implies, The Men recorded their brand new EP, Campfire Songs, while sitting around an actual campfire; and no, the Brooklyn quintet didn’t burn down anyone’s loft in the process. Last year, The Men journeyed upstate to the mountainous Catskills, where their recent LP New Moon was created in one fell swoop. Plus, while holed away in that country cabin, far away from the likes of the Starr Law Group and the MPAA, The Men decided to kill two birds with one stone. Not only did they come away with the twelve impressive tracks of New Moon, but also the five crackling little gems that make up Campfire Songs.
Those who remember the different, down-home approach The Men took on New Moon will find there are no real surprises on Campfire Songs. Still, the band’s recent sounds aren’t familiar to fans of their earlier, noisier, scuzzier releases. Campfire Songs is five gentle, homespun tracks; not so much an indication of where they’ve been or where they’re going, but where The Men are right now.
The first two tracks on Campfire Songs, “I Saw Her Face” and “The Seeds,” are New Moon tracks, re-worked as rough, raw, live cuts. Vocals are pure and distant, guitars are pretty and melodic, and shaky beats offer respite from the band’s usually fierce rhythm section. Around the campfire, these polished tracks dissolve effortlessly into warm, carefree, mountain jam sessions; you can almost feel the drifting embers on your skin.
The new offerings on Campfire Songs are even more appealing, particularly the spacious, soothing, almost psychedelic “Turn Your Color.” The EP’s final moments are easy, breezy, and buoyant, as The Men’s between-track chatter and free vocals add a lively accent their driving acoustics. Maybe Campfire Songs isn’t best suited for listening anywhere other than a cabin in the woods, but even so, The Men do their very best to bring you there, jamming right beside them in the fire’s glow.