by: Paul McEldowney
YACHT - Shangri-La (DFA)
Really celebrating the cult potential of their music, YACHT's Shangri-La is a series of dancehall power-psalms. As always, Yacht is super explicit and preachy, and the new album sounds like a natural musical extension of See Mystery Lights as each song is a new age booty bumping ritualistic pledge of allegiance. Maybe like the Village People of 21st century electro-pop in the way it encourages people to spiritually come together, but probably not. There's a weird dubstep moment. The perfect Summer album.
Memory Tapes - Player Piano (Carpark)
Building off his debut Seek Magic, Player Piano is a tighter dreamy synth-pop karaoke night in the vein of David Bowie, Human League and Madonna, complete with supra-sincere wispy vocals, live drums, and rays of sunshine. The perfect Summer album.
Thee Oh Sees - Castlemania (In The Red)
Moving on from the wild immense garage punk that Thee Oh Sees have been known for, Castlemania leans towards a more laid back yet discordant psych pop. The vocals sound really cool on this album; They are upfront and there are moments where Dwyer sounds like he's attempting Tuvan throat singing. Sing along galore. The perfect Summer album.
Psychedelic Horseshit - Laced (Fatcat)
A Favorite of 2011! Continuing to explore the extent to which music production and song writing virtues can match a band name, Psychelelic Horseshit return with a burned-out structureless dubby pseudo-pop safari, adopting the heavy use of atonal battery-drained drum machines and synthesizers. Bleeps and Bloops. Ironically, it's all as catchy as it is self-destructive. As self-awaringly obnoxious and unpredictable as ever, this band remains to be one of the most interesting pop bands around. The perfect Summer album.
This Will Destroy You - Tunnel Blanket (Suicide Squeeze)
TWDY Return with a more aggressive and foreboding sound, preparing for the rapture that was supposed to happen earlier this year. Way more cinematic and immense than their mellower first two releases. Abandon hope all ye who enter here. The perfect Summer album.
Pure X - Pleasure (Acephale)
Formerly known as Pure Ecstasy; Pure X is like a psychedelic fuzzy slow version of Galaxie 500. Going beyond this redundancy, this band takes an anti-tempo attitude to newer heights, as the speed at which they change their band name surpasses the cadence of a given song. At the same time, they are far from boring and the hazy reverbed out vocal melodies and warbly muted guitars make the album more like a collection of the most numbing beach lullabies you'll ever hear. Probably the most apt band name for what they do if you cancel out a possible trance/electro construal. The perfect Summer album.
Kids On A Crime Spree (We Love You So Bad) - Slumberland
Naive teenage love garage pop hit after hit with blankets of cuddly fuzz a la Jesus and Mary Chain. Feeling more like compensation rather than an attempt at irony in such song titles as Trumpets of Death, Dead Ripe, and It's In My Blood, this band is cute to the core, and from their vocal melody to their guitar hooks, it's all with an air of post-pubescent angst. Really, who are they kidding trying to act all tough? The perfect Summer album.
Las Kellies - Kellies (Fire)
Fun fun fun all-girl minimal dubby and tropical post-punk from Argentina. I wish they could play at every party everywhere. The perfect Summer album.
V/A - PDX POP NOW 2011
Compilation celebrating the independent arts in Portland and Portland's annual music festival PDX POP NOW. Hits from the likes of Grouper, Lovers, Guantanamo Baywatch, Langhorne slim, and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. The perfect Summer album.