by: Kyle Olson, KUCI Music Director
I had a lovely break. I didn’t get (literally) 500 emails a day, or have to call promo companies on my way to work. But now the promo companies are at my e-door, again. And the crates of mail I get from the post office are growing in number. Hey, Kyle’s baseline anxiety, did you have a good time while you were at a slightly lower level? Good. Time to go back to work.
Explosions in the Sky – All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone (Temporary Residence)
These dudes own guitars, and they want to play you long-ish, post-rock songs with them. To me, this feels like a solid step forward for these guys. Before, in my humblest of opinions, the songs were really stagnant. They felt like a poor man’s Mogwai. This feels like they have more dynamics, and greater range, and doesn’t bore the living hell out of me. I endorse this product. Imagine me giving you a thumbs up, and when I smile, there’s that little gleam. And it makes the gleam sound. Also, please be sure that, when you picture me doing these things, I am wearing pants. We’ve had some problems with imaginary pants-less Kyles recently.
Alela Diane – The Pirate’s Gospel (Holocene)
I had the opportunity to see this lovely lass open for the almighty Akron/Family in December with several other KUCI DJs, and she sort of blew me away. I listen to so much music where they have no vocal talent, and I find that so endearing. I totally forgot what it was like to hear someone who could REALLY SING. Ms. Diane plays a sort of twang-folk that sounds like Hem meets Joanna Newsom. This CD doesn’t do her live show justice, but that is more a comment on the immense quality of her live show, as opposed to some shortcoming of this album. It’s simple and beautiful. Like a cake. Also, tell me if this sounds good: if I were to make a caramel/chocolate cheesecake with peanut butter M&Ms in it, would you eat it? It sounds like…way too much. And, that’s sort of the idea.
Buildings Breeding – Buildings Breeding (Mushpot)
Comin’ straight out of Davis, crazy mofo named..Chris Larson. This is some straight up old school indie-pop. Sort of Field Mice style, but like...less twee-emo poster-kid. Hell, there’s a song on here called “Emmawood” for heaven’s sake. Boy/girl tag-team harmony vocals. Slow, lackadaisical melodies, and basically, totally awesome tunage. I am going to start trying to bring back words like “tunage”. I am also bringing back the term “boss”, and I will start saying “No weezing the ju-uice” like, all the time.
Tom Brosseau – Grand Forks (Loveless)
Dude, when you name your album after your hometown that was flooded, leaving you homeless, you BETTER write an album that gives huge nods to stuff like depression-era folk and Woody Guthrie. I mean, Christ. That’s basically the plot to “O Brother Where Art Thou 2”. This is totally boss, dooders.
Ghost – In Stormy Nights (Drag City)
This may end up in Experimental when I’m thinking more clearly, but I’m totally biting it for now. You cats like Japanese psychedelia? I know you do. Folksy guitars, droning soundscapes, weird chanting, noise, etc. This is the key, kids. Ghost are the keymasters. Are you the gatekeepers? We’re trying to raise Zuul, here, kids. Zuul!
Fred Thomas – Sink Like a Symphony (Orleone)
So, the little one-sheet likened it unto Neutral Milk Hotel and the Microphones. The part of me that likes those bands got a little excited. The hipster part of me wanted to fling it across the room for daring to compare itself to those bands. But, when I popped it in, it had the occasional droniness, emotion, and arrhythmia of the Microphones. It also had the crackling energy and pop sensibility of Neutral Milk Hotel. I had to agree. Don’t let me tell you that this is halfway as good as either of those bands, but if you like those bands, you may want to check this out. This dude clearly likes those bands, too. I like those bands, too. We have so much in common! We should totally hook up!
The Postmarks – The Postmarks (Unfiltered)
They’re called the Postmarks and have song titles like “Looks Like Rain”, “Summers Never Seem to Last”, and “Weather the Weather”. What do YOU think they sound like? (Answer: dreamy oldschool pop). I really wish I could have written that upside down like the puzzles in Highlights magazine.
Sloan – Never Hear the End of It (Yep Roc)
There probably wouldn’t be any New Pornographers if not for THIS Canadian band. Plus, if you really like these guys, you’re in luck. There are 30 freaking songs on this thing. That’s way more than 12. That’s a fact.