by: Paul McEldowney
Dum Dum Girls - Only In Dreams - Sub Pop
Standing out from the herd of all-girl garage fuzz pop acts, Dum Dum Girls' strongest suit is their confidence and transparency. Singer/song-writer Dee Dee does not hide her voice behind the stylistic and artistic ennui that is walls of reverb and fuzz pedals, and every aspect of her garage pop is deliberate and structured in the positive. Her newest record Only In Dreams only reminds us this, as the album put at the forefront her vocal capabilities and knack for effortlessly writing classic pop song after pop song.
St. Vincent - Strange Mercy - 4AD
Artsy fartsy playful abstract orchestral avant-pop that is pretty out of this world in terms of vocal and instrumental musicianship, melodic sensibilities and song arrangement. Going from Getty Address type gospels to Hounds Of Love new wave spiritual trips, Strange Mercy is as arty, mystical and proggy as it is fun, confident, original and engage-able. Her voice just makes me melt.
Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost - True Panther Sounds
Church choir and all, lovelorn glammy sassy pants, Girls, slows it down with a more sentimental, careful, mature and structurally ornate release than their debut Album. While Father, Son, Holy Ghost is stylistically all over the place going from slow dance to power pop to proggy solo sections and all places in between, the album's strong points are its thematic tightness and lyricism. This sense of artistic control means an almost immediate and effortless emotional engagement in a way that is hypnotizing and cathartic. Very beautiful record.
Neon Indian - Era Extraña - Mom + Pop
Glamorous melting sunglasses-at-night synth heavy bass driven dance-pop with unrivaled warbliness suited for a deep sort of nihlistic sea sickness. Building off his minimal club party starter Psychic Chasms, Era Extraña is more shimmer and retro-futuristic a la Ford and Lopatin and Com Truise, using pop music to explore anachronistic nostalgia. Definite booty bumper.
Laura Marling - A Creature I Don't Know - Ribbon
Whimsical, precious, minimal and emotionally raw singer-songwriter country-folk from a former member of Noah And The Whale. Marling gained some degree of popularity from her previous two critically acclaimed albums and her work with folk superstars Mumford and Sons.
Wild Flag - Wild Flag - Merge
Poppy art-punk super group featuring Carrie Brownstein (Sleater Kinney), Rebecca Cole (The Minders), Mark Timony (Autoclave, Helium), and Janet Weiss (Sleater Kinney). Needless to say, their debut is an anti-nostalgic forward-thinking celebratory collection of positive high energy anthemic pop goldies.
Megafaun - Megafaun - Hometapes
Rootsy Southern psychedelic americana type folk with CSN sugar sweet harmonies and an experimental approach to song writing as their self-titled goes from Jazz freakout to orchestral flutters. A very comfortable, old fashion and familiar sounding album, I can taste the Whole Foods' chewing sticks already.
Weekend - Red - Slumberland
Refreshing cold industrial dream pop that is not just the recycled 50's/60's style aesthetics and melodies that has been homogenizing indie pop as of late. More Big Black and Joy Division than Phil Spector and early 90's indie pop. The production is harsh, rough and mechanical, but the melodies are like a cherub's bum, maintaining a melancholic cuteness and pure pop form fun.
Tammar - Visits - Suicide Squeeze
Hazy melancholic even-tempoed celestial kraut-punk that is as punk as the Pet Shop Boys could ever be. That being said, they're more on the sensitive side rather than the abrasive side, and their use of repetition, restrain, Neu style drumming, and ethereal blend of synth and guitar soundscapes make for a hypnotizing and captivating time.