by: Matt Buga
Music Go Music- Expressions [Secretly Canadian]
Maybe stuff like this should be referred to as pop excess. Not ironic over-production, but this kind of highly energetic multi-faceted gem of disco, rock n roll, Queen, and Abba. Driven by energetic melodies and powerful female vocals, with enough head nods to the aforementioned groups (maybe ELO too) but not approaching levels of retro eye-rollin'.
Mission of Burma- The Sound The Speed The Light [Matador]
A new release from these classic 80s post-punkers! A good mix of more fast rocking ones and slower -but not really slow- mellower ones with more nuanced guitar riffs.
Jail Weddings- Inconvenient Dreams [Tru-Vow Records]
Post-Starvations group in case you've ever been a fan of em' like myself. A little country guitar pop jangling plus some 50s pop influences. Twisted but charming love-songs (i.e. Cheat on your new lover with me) half fronted with energetic yelping vocals backed with female choruses, while the other half are fronted with female vocals.
The Clientele- Bonfires on the Health [Merge]
Relaxing, a little reminiscent 60s pop ala Zombies in here. Very mellow guitar work whose complexity adds to it charm. Legitimately well written and pretty. This is one of those albums that comes in and is really good but hard for me to describe. Not hard to describe like its an indescribable sound, but its really good and don't know how to convince you to listen to it with a blurb.
Califone- All My Friends Are Funeral Singers [Dead Oceans]
A folk-y country-y piece with a fresh song-writing and production style. Emphasis on fresh, ain't just another alt-country folk album. Just a slight bit of experimentation, but not anywhere enough to really turn anyone away. The acoustic guitar on this sounds really fantastic, as earthy and real as an acoustic guitar can sound while still being totally melodic.
Pains of Being Pure At Heart- Higher Than the Stars [Slumberland]
Quality throwback to early jangly indie pop and shoegaze. Kind enough to include a FCC-safe version of the title track, awwwwwwww. Also, a Saint Etienne Visits Lord Spank Remix of the title track too! Awwwww.
No Age- Losing Feeling [Sub Pop]
A hazy little poppy ep! Lots of distortion, half with a faster tempo (last track is a rad fierce shoegaze track!), and two mellower drum-free tracks.
Six Organs of Admittance- Luminous Light [Drag City]
First album by SOOA in two years. Expansive psych-folk [not to sell this album short by genre-izing it] from Ben Chasny of Comets on Fire, as well as a guest guitarist/song writer on Current 93's 2006 album. Acoustic guitar leads the way, but also contains well-executed support from backing instruments such as flute, tabla, viola (the violist from Sunn 0)))'s latest!), and more continue Six Organs' discography of good music.
Karl Blau- Zebra [K Records]
K Records classic dude playing whimsical and solid indie rock. Sort of a baritone vocalist, good keyboard tones, catchy, mellow, unique. Just good, mang.
The Shaky Hands- Let It Die [Kill Rock Stars]
Good ol' rock n roll! Similar to early Kings of Leon, but also has a good alternation of rocknrollers next to more mellow ballads of equal and/or greater quality depending on your preferences.
The Dutchess and The Duke- Sunset/Sunrise [Hardly Art]
Boy Girl vocal folk group with a hardcore fan here at KUCI. Sentimental and solid and soon coming to a UCI near you!
Body Splash- Alien Time Ripps [Self-released]
Lo-fi-sci-fi psychedelic drone/rock outta Sacramento. Not really sticking to any singular style or sound, the first two have a little Eastern influence whether it'd be the tabla being used or the scales played on the keyboard, while the last three shift and sound a little more like psychedelic Sega Genesis music. The last track in particular stands out the most, its its sort of like Spacemen 3 meets the 16-bit videogame era with this whole weird pseudo-spoken word thing.