MIce Parade - candela
the joy formidable - wolf's law
It seems like just yesterday that the Welsh alt-rock juggernaut The Joy Formidable made a big splash with their full length debut, "The Big Roar." Time flies, and the trio certainly have no intentions of resting on their laurels, as evidenced by the strength of their heavily anticipated follow-up effort, "Wolf's Law." Wider in scope than its powerful predecessor, "Wolf's Law" finds the group expanding their horizons even further than before and subsequently dipping into unchartered waters.
While the band could have taken the easy way out and hired a big rock producer to squeeze out the inevitable hits, The Joy Formidable have taken the path less travelled and produced their second affair on their own. The results are an album that doesn't feel the slightest bit restrained or compromised. "Wolf's Law" plays to the strength of each band member and as such, carries such a variety of material that there's something for just about everyone.
The album opens with the hard-hitting instant favorite, "This Ladder Is Ours." In this one song, The Joy Formidable renew their mission statement of delivering big, epic choruses with even bigger riffs and a blazing rhythm section. Later album tracks such as "Cholla" and the Zeppelin-esque "Maw Maw Song" rock just as hard as their "Big Roar" counterparts while adding a new dimension. Mellower cuts such as the folksy "Silent Treatment" and album closer "Turnaround" show off front-lady Ritzy Bryan's more vulnerable side with compositions that serve to let her voice sit at the forefront rather than competing for airtime with her band-mates as well as her own guitar. Quirky and up-beat rockers such as "Little Blimp" and the absolutely addictive "Bats" spring up throughout the album to remind us of why the band were so compelling in the first place. Somehow they were able to rock massive arenas in 2011 opening for Foo Fighters, which is an accomplishment for such a young group. To that end, The Joy Formidable doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon.
While it may not be as instantly gratifying as its predecessor, "Wolf's Law" is certainly an album that rewards repeat listening. Not every song is an instant hit (there are plenty of those scattered about, to be sure) but each one has something unique to offer, showing immense growth from a band who probably could have hit instant radio-gold by simply recording "The Big Roar Pt. II: Electric Boogaloo." Truly a band to be on the lookout for, The Joy Formidable are likely to bring joy to their listeners while simultaneously proving to be a formidable opponent to like-minded groups everywhere.
the ruby suns - christopher
NOctuary - The holydrug couple
Hailing from Santiago, Chile's burgeoning psych scene, The Holydrug Couple specialize in music that will take you on an inner space journey while still providing great hooks and melodies to latch onto. Similar in some respects to Tame Impala's modern update of psychedelic-era Beatles, but awash in Spacemen 3 or Psychic Ills-type droning atmospherics and swirling keyboard, giving it a uniquely dreamy sound that you can either drift away to or bob your head and hum along to.
Highlights for me include opener "Counting Sailboats," which cruises along on a propulsive, repeating Krautrock-style rhythm, with droning organ and reverb-drenched vocals combining to create a euphoric, hypnotized feeling that's pretty much maintained throughout the entire album. The noodling, shimmering guitar and languid vocals of the epic "Out of Sight" produces a "floaty" feeling that I wasn't ready to come down from. Good thing the mostly instrumental "Paisley" brought me back there pretty quickly with its intertwining guitar melodies and fluid drumming.
Every song here, while each has a different vibe, produces an overall feeling of serene bliss, making 'Noctuary' a perfect album to get lost in waves of spaced-out guitars and soaring keyboards. Considering this album almost flew under my radar, I'm just thankful to have run across it, and can't wait to hear where The Holydrug Couple go next.
So let me get this straight? You're going to take bits of early Rolling Stones, The Kinks circa Village Green, the more melodic side of the Velvet Underground, and put it into a blender with a scoop of Belle of Sebastian, a sprinkle of girl-group motown, with a dollop of Jonathan Richman, and you're going to BLEND THIS REALLY WELL, while putting your own spin on it?
And this record is going to be called WE ARE THE 21ST CENTURY AMBASSADORS OF PEACE & MAGIC?
Uh, yes please.
This might be the first indie rock album title ever that I ever agreed with. If this is the future of indie rock, we're heading in a pretty awesome direction. Biting hooks, call-and-response, 60's clap along, snarkily sharp lyrics, snap, sugar, and groove. These songs actually have melodies. And there's not a bad one in the bunch. Besides the aforementioned artists, there are echoes of Supergrass, T-Rex, The Last Shadow Puppets, Pete Doherty, The Cramps--basically, everything fine and nice. But they're not content being copy cats--this band has cut a short and sweet record that leaves quite an impression. This band is tight, and knows what they're doing.
Worth every penny. Thank you Foxygen!
This is a collection of Califone's first EPs. It holds two of the most beautiful songs Rutili has written; "Silvermine Pictures" and "Electric Fence". "Electric Fence" features booming drums accompanied by different sound fragments, and it works to wonderful effect. These two are worth the purchase alone, but you'll find other very good songs on it.
If you're into some of these artists; Sparklehorse, Kingsbury Manx, Deerhunter, Jim White, Grandaddy or Lambchop, then this should go down like a cold one after a hard days work eating peanuts in the desert.
toro y moi - anything in return
first, i gotta say...i love "causers of this", the first toro y moi album; it's near-perfect. i have heard everything since, but nothing has moved me as much.
THIS could have been it; the music is ridiculous (in a good way), brilliant really. so here's my thing: if bundick teamed up with a REAL singer, toro y moi would be a force to be reckoned with. as it it, the album is listenable, the music is wonderful. vibey, modern, colorful. sort-of a more r&b-flavored cousin of luke vibert (Wagon Christ).
the production is great. it's pop music but substantial (there's a joke somewhere in that phrase...). it's just...the vocals, they add a 'demo' quality to everything; a finished record with a reference vocal...for the real vocalist to replace.
so 4 stars, because, limitations notwithstanding, it's worth having, i mean, it FEELS great. and that's what i expect, first and foremost, from a 'pop' album...
boss hog - boss hog
John Spencer's side band with his wife, I believe...I haven't been able to dislike anything the man has touched, be it Pussy Galore, The Blues Explosion, or this.Bleeds through your speakers and hits you over the head with a shovel full of feedback drenched power chords and overamped squiggly solos. Plus, a few songs for Gen-X lovebirds: an Ike and Tina cover, and "I Idolize You". First record Ive heard to use a Telex printer as an instrument. Funky, noisy, full of testosterone. His wife is meaner than you. A combustion engine full of hard rock, and other such florid metaphors.
MOuntains - centralia
Centralia is a spacious, explorative album that contains waves of nostalgia and beauty. Hypnotic swells of synths, strings and guitar plague the album. This is headphone music. Close your eyes, put on your headphones and listen.
new order - lost sirens
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