by: Paul McEldowney
Grouper - AIA - (Kranky)
Previously unavailable on CD, this week we have a reissue of Grouper's Dream Loss/Alien Observer double album from last year . Her most beautiful and immersive album to date, this is what every day without the sun sounds like. The sound is so monolithic and patient that it is even hallucinatory. I watched BBC's Blue Planet, and the episode ended with momma gray whale and her cub migrating for the winter. However, killer whales intercepted their path and separated the two, eating the baby gray whale after hours of fighting. It was one of the most heartbreaking and life affirming things I've watched. More than what I imagine the music that gray whales make when they migrate north, Grouper's new double album reflects moving on beyond this devastating point. Even separated from her cub, the momma gray whale continues her journey north. I can only imagine what she was feeling, and I know Grouper's album is helping me and her to keep on truckin'.
Aaron Dilloway - Modern Jester - (Hanson)
'Every second of this recording contains subliminal messages'. Maybe that's why the album is so listenable. For being manipulated tape loops, the divide between pop and noise becomes blurrier and more impenetrable. Hints is what Dilloway has always been good at giving winky faces and nudges and all. Listening to this highlights an active interpretive process that I am not entirely sure of.
Best Coast - The Only Place - (Mexican Summer)
Time to get real. Best Coast. Cover is a california bear hugging california. Bobb Bruno got a haircut. Bethany thanks her cat Snacks. Less superficially, Best Coast realize there's more to life than beach fun. This album is way more melancholic and country-ish, but retains all of the hooks and melodies that made their debut so much fun to listen to. Also, her voice sounds pretty amazing, and there is less reverb, which shows off their knack for songwriting and confidence in their musicianship. Also, the Best Coast station ID is still the best one at the station.
Advance Base - A Shut-In's Prayer - (Caldo Verde)
Owen Ashworth is confident that the things going on in your life are not bumming you out enough. After the 'breakup' of Casiotone For the Painfully Alone (which was a sort of meta-sadness act in itself), Ashworth returns under his new name, Advance Base, with a new album of sappy hits and rhodes piano. I mean there aren't any more casios, but the album is still called 'A Shut-In's Prayer', which should tell you that his thematic focus is only epsilon away from where he was a few years ago. That being said, just like CFTPA, Advance Base cuts deep in chilling honesty and baritone warmth.
Lower Dens - Nootropics - (Ribbon)
Jana Hunter and the Dens return with a slam dunk of an album. Nootropics continues their brand of lovely haze-folk, except with more proggy krautrock undertones, utilizing more propulsion, repetition, and electronic based instruments. It even gets a little industrial. Who would have thought? At the same time, their sound remains super organic and earthy. Yum. They sound like they are celebrating an egg hatching in a forest.
Woods/Amps For Christ - Woods/Amps For Christ - (Shrimper)
Neat collaboration between Woods and Amps for Christ! It's on the fritz battery drained medieval pastoral pow wow prog folk frog polka. I've always wanted to go to a ye olde renaissance faire and dress up. I can listen to this and just close my eyes, and imagine that I am in a better place.
Here We Go Magic - A Different Ship - (Secretly Canadian)
New anti-downer groove heavy krauty indie rock with sights on the stars. There are a lot of magical things in the world. Having friends. Playing with a dog. Funny videos. And most of all, Here We Go Magic.
Alabama Shakes - Boys & Girls - (ATO)
Hooting and hollering straight talking arsenic barn burning country tinged garagey soul rock with vocals that sounds like he mistook gasoline for alcohol. I recently heard of cases of kids cutting Purel with salt into a strong alcoholic shot and getting really really sick. It could be that too.
Ramona Falls - Prophet - (Barsuk)
Early Y2k style hand clap based theatrical indie rock featuring a member of Menomena. Sounds like a cloud with birds performing an opera in a hopeful tone. Not really too sure if birds can fly that high.
Blasted Canyons - 2nd Place - (Castle Face)
The second album from these slum sludge grime riffing party animals. Just like their debut, 2nd Place is spazzy perfect skull melting garage pop, except now there is a more post-punk gothy influence. There's always a time to be serious, guys.
Humans - Traps - (Hybridity)
Patient, restrained and subtle spaced out electro pop that has more common with IDM than those Hard festivals that you see all those people from your high school go to.
Marriages - Kitsune - (Sargeant House)
New world order influenced grim and mystic post-rocky wall of fuzz psych jams from members of Red Sparrows.
Felix - Oh Holy Molar - (Kranky)
Whimsical calm and moving meadows piano based singer songwriter pop. It's like a landscape gif image that looks so pretty and is forever saved in your to-reblog folder.
The Maccabees - Given To The Wild - (Fiction)
I wonder who birthed indie rock. Or maybe it birthed itself. The prime mover unmoved. Here's new atmospheric soulful indie rock from UK based The Maccabees.
S. Carey - Hoyas - (Jagjaguwar)
Every nice cloudy day you've ever seen filtered through a vocoder by Bon Iver's snazzy drummer.
Reptar - Body Faucet – (Vagrant)
Pina Colada out of body experience in a lizard paradise. Stuck in your head no-bad-days tropical pop.
Cold Specks - Winter Solstice EP - Mute)
Raspy winter-in-spring groundhog ignorant orchestral soul-folk that just gives me shivers just thinking about it.
Suckers - Candy Salad - French Kiss)
Dense golden melodies indie pop that fills in every crack with honey sweet vocal harmonies and synthesizer shredding.