by: Adrian Garcia
Pretty & Nice – Golden Rules For Golden People – (Equal Vision/Rory)
Pretty & Nice offers up fast-paced pop-rock songs with an evident mid-2000s indie rock influence. There’s never a dull moment and the vocals are in a constant battle with frantic guitars and driving drums and they all come out on top. The songs all have electronic elements – a pitch shifter here, drum machine there, which really brings the myriad of melodies and rhythms in them together.
Reptile Youth – Fear [Single] – (hfn)
With its layers of sustained crunchy guitar, funky basslines, and shimmering synth, “Fear” is just asking to be remixed and reinterpreted. The howling vocals effortlessly settle into the different sonic environments created by each remix artist.
Still Corners – Strange Pleasures – (Sub Pop)
Strange Pleasures is pervaded with Greg Hughes’ cascading synthesizers, carefully mapped-out drum machines, and Tessa Murray’s tender voice. It all comes together to create an ethereal daze that oddly, you can’t help but want to dance to.
Hanni El Khatib – Head in the Dirt – (Innovative Leisure)
The soundtrack to Garageland – this album rocks. Crunchy guitars meet raw, rugged vocals produced by Dan Auerbach in this 33-minute wild night out in Nashville/supersonic motorcycle ride on the open road. Some songs incorporate occasional dub (Nobody Move), rhythm and blues (Save Me), and jazz (Low), making this album quite diverse, but nonetheless an album that still rocks.
Os Mutantes – Fool Metal Jack – (Krian)
This is definitely a wacky album. Needless to say, it’s awesome. Heavy bass, floating guitar, and too many other instruments to list make up Fool Metal Jack, which is pleasant and tender at times (To Make it Beautiful), and wildly frenzied at others (Look Out). Os Mutantes take you on a psychedelic journey through time and space that leads you right to hallucinatory drugs with the last track, Valse LSD. Have fun.
Wolf People – Fain – (Jagjaguwar)
The guitars are mesmerizing and leave you transfixed. Fain is mysterious and ominous guitar rock. Indulge yourself in the epic seven-minute jams (When the Fire is Dead, Hesperus, Theif), but only if you think you can handle the fuzzed-out odyssey that Wolf People embark on.
Guided By Voices – English Little League – (Guided By Voices INC.)
English Little League is an appropriately simple collection of a whopping 17 songs, each with great songwriting and jaggy vocals. It’s not often that distorted guitars sound this sweet (Biographer Seahorse, Sir Garlic Breath, Send To Celeste).