by: Paul McEldowney
Broken Water - Tempest – (Hardly Art)
Just as Brian Wilson's Smile has the mythical status of being one of the greatest 'lost' albums, Broken Water's newest Tempest sounds like it could have been the greatest umbrella required perpetual June gloom catacombic 'lost' classic sludge grunge albums. It's pacific northwest anti-laundry anorak guitar driven grey sky caffeinated drudgery. Last night, there was a lunar eclipse that reached its peak at 4 in the morning. After coming home from seeing the now confusing and quasi-oppressive Beach Boys, I watched an episode of Twin Peaks as preparation for the anti-lunarial spectacle. However, come time of peak, the sky was completely covered in muddy cloud-busted mess, preventing anyone in the immediate Irvine area from locating the moon. Discouraged, I came back inside and a friend of mine also closely surveying the sky told me that there was an portion of the sky that had just suddenly blackened, marking what I think is a great experience in the periphery. Tempest is not only immediately identifiable for its imagined familiarity, but its also peripherally and risidually effecting, leaving you consumed by its sneaky foot-dragging immensity.
Liars - WIXIW – (Mute)
Probably one of the most, if not the most interesting, challenging bands of the past 10 years comes out with a new album that trades the dissonance and meanness of their past few releases to a more restrained, delicate in a 'Drum's Not Dead' form electronics heavy sound, once again playing with the expectations of anyone who's ever heard any of their songs. While I argue this no-field scientific overtly 'techno' album is formally consistent with their arguably sonically inconsistent and endlessly varied catalog, WIXIW's, pronounced 'Wish You', major promise lies in enacting a pulsating chain of cause and effect that is naturally and excitingly unpredictable and polarizing.
Sigur Ros - Valtari – (XL)
This band is always difficult for me to write about. Being very into them in high school, lurking message boards, and downloading bootlegs off SoulSeek, I am not the most impartial judge to decide on the artistic and aesthetic merits of this album. At the same time I don't want to reduce this blurb to a simple, 'you just got to feel the music man.' I can't help but feel already attached to it in a bizarre sentimental way, and maybe some will identify with that? The feeling is pretty universal I think. At any rate, its immediately classic climax-trope-free 'you're a silo' melancholic and nostalgic post-rock that has yet to caracaturize itself as many bands of its type have.
Japandroids - Celebration Rock – (Polyvinyl)
Appropriately narcissistic end-of-the-year anthemic anti-reggae-fest post-pop-punk duo returns with songs that sound like every good guitar riff and every cheesy guitar riff self-awaringly mashed into each other via faster-than-speed-of-light neutrino large Haldron cannon. Perfect for anyone's upcoming graduation party or fun time.
Daughn Gibson - All Hell – (White Denim)
Hunky and hunky-dory baritoned saloon player piano ready alternative universe psychy doo-wop sung by an in-spirit replicant Elvis. To emphasize, his voice is like every Gabriel's horn pitch-shifted-octave-down sub-woofer compromising rap effect backed by some of the most beautiful and perfectly paced dreamscapes.
Tallest Man On Earth - There's No Leaving Now – (Dead Oceans)
Beard-friendly altitude that matches the attitude timeless story-telling raspy and whispy tippy toe baby folk.
Jaill - Traps – (Sub Pop)
Monopoly can be a naturally frustrating antagonistic game as there are many opportunities for the game not to work in your favor. Getting stuck in jail is never fun, and it always seems to be a matter of chance, as every player engages in the same selfish morally questionable power mongering tactics. Luckily there are four ways to get out that you can look up on your own. However, Jaill's new album should hint to you that it will not be an easy escape. In fact, the album is really catchy. In fact, it's classic golden melodies unconditionally loving non-competitive power pop.
Friends - Manifest! – (Fat Possum)
Platonic charming dreamy new-wave and souley genre ignoring imaginative dance pop with benefits.