by: Sam Farzin, KUCI Music Director
High Places - High Places [Thrill Jockey]
Water-logged future noise with light as the lightest lead whispy female vox as guiding light. Accessible inaccessibility that recontextualizes the ethnic as the universal.
Parts & Labor - Receivers [Jagjaguwar]
God this band is so exciting. I'm listening to the opening track on this right now and it totally rips. This is the new arena rock, if arena rock was played in basements, if arena rock incorporated found sounds submitted by fans, if arena rock felt real and true and actually life-changing.
PS. Playing at UCI on November 4.
The Tough Alliance - A New Chance [Modular]
This is in RPM. I'm generally not too into stuff on Modular (I hate fun) but I like this a lot, I think so far at least. Electronic and unabashedly dance music from (every week, at least once) Sweden. There is nothing tough here. I mean. They probably dance tough.
caUSE Co-MOTION! - "It's Time!" [Slumberland]
Not a single track on this jangly-as-shit album is over 2 minutes long. These are treble-heavy pop songs recorded lo-fi without sacrificing the hi-fi. Fun fun fun in the sun.
Benoit Pioulard - Temper [Kranky]
Sometimes weird, heavily layered, manipulated, varied, precise instrumentation with pretty neat lyrics. Sometimes ambient sometimes shoegazy (same thing!?). "Benoit Pioulard" is a pseudonym.
Gang Gang Dance - Saint Dymphna [The Social Registry]
This band's sound is totally based around cheesy keyboards reapprorpriated as nebulous sounds that transcend 'keyboard.' And drums! And shrieking! It's good though, also.
Guitar - Honeysky [Clairecords]
We got two albums by this band this week (both on Clairecords). I'll add the other one next week. This is totally Cocteau Twinsy. A German dude plays most of the music and a Japanese dudette does most of the singing. It is exceedingly "pretty." You basically know what you are getting yourself into here. It's good though, also.
Autodrone - Strike A Match [Clairecords]
Clairecords puts out almost entirely shoegazy stuff. This record starts off with a scorcher that is totally like a my bloody valentine song. Does that mean I am hating? No. I like it.
Emiliana Torrini - Me And Armini [Rough Trade]
This took me by surprise. I put it on to take a quick listen but found myself listening to almost the entire album without realizing it. Varied songs with varied instrumentations, but all very much...50s? But the European 50s. Sort of? The album is totally a winner because of Emiliana Torrini's voice. I am writing a bad blurb here but trust me this is pretty fantastic. Somewhat unique music + very unique and provocative female vox = winner. Plus it's on Rough Trade.
Annuals - Such Fun [Canvasback/Terpsikhore]
This is that good kind of indie-orchestral-rock. Earnest and honest. Plus the cover art is pretty.
Telepathe - Chrome's On It EP [I Am Sound]
This is in RPM. This a band I had heard a lot about but had been fairly unimpressed by the one single I had heard. This EP is better. It features two pretty solid weirdo-almost-kraut-gone-hippity-hop-electronica tracks sort of based around those cheesy crunk hip-hop percussive noises (again totally recontextualized) and a ton of remixes by solid dudes. Like the Mae Shi.
Various Artists - Awake My Soul/Help Me Sing [Awake]
This is a two discer. "Awake My Soul" "is the first feature documentary about Sacred Harp singing, a haunting form of a cappella, shape note hymn singing with deep roots in the American south. Shape note singing has survived over 200 years tucked away from notice in the rural deep south, where in old country churches, singers break open 'The Sacred Harp', a 160 year old shape note hymnal which has preserved these fiercely beautiful songs which are some of the oldest in America." The first disc is recordings of Sacred Harp singing. The second is other musicians tackling "the Sacred Harp." This is in the new releases section but I do not know where it will end up because genres are meaningless. Or are they?
Ezra Furman & The Harpoons - Inside The Human Body [Minty Fresh]
If Jeffrey Lewis slowed down a teensy bit, he might be a little like Ezra Furman. Introspective sing-talk-songs that skew Lou Reed and Bob Dylan. LAZY JOURNALISM!
Let's Go Guantanamo - Slip Away EP [Rainbow Destroyer]
If you dug that Death By Panda release, here is Mr. D-B-P playing drums in a different context--a synthy-rock band. It's catchy and fresh. The drumming is good.