by: Tan Doan
Seahold Electric ? Before I Disappoint You Again EP (Calgary Records)
Those who know me know I have a soft spot for shoegaze and another soft spot for dark, brooding music, so bands like Austin's I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness score double brownie points in my book. Years ago, The Swells were a promising band with shoegaze and dream pop leanings in the ATX music scene. After they released the very good The Waymarked Ways, I lost track of them. Fast forward a few years and some tragedy, they've reformed as Seaholm Electric. They sound a little more grown up, and a little darker. There are effects on everything. Reverbed and delayed guitars layer for the clich? ?wall of sound.?
Solex vs Cristina Martinez & Jon Spencer ? Amsterdam Throwdown, Kingstreet Showdown (Bronzerat)
Despite distance, Dutch artist Solex has joined forces with Christina Martinez and Jon Spencer (whos sounds can be best described as punk blues. Their former bands: Boss Hog, Pussy Galore, The Blues Explosion) to create a very fun record here. Solex puts samples together to make funky, and dancable songs while Cristina and Jon infuse their own character without ever becoming too overbearing. Check out the monkey song, Aapie. If you like this type of collaborative project, also check out R.L. Burnside's A Bothered Mind in the blues section.
Holy F*ck ? Latin (XL)
A solid rhythmic foundation provides a head bobbing and sometimes boogieable beat as keys, feedback, and other effects weave in and out of each piece. Largely due to the guidance of the rhythm section, the album falls more on the pop side of the fence, rather than noise. If you enjoyed the F*ck Buttons Tarot Sport, or repetitive, but engaging riffage (like Maserati's Inventions...), this album is for you. Check out #2,3,5,6.
Horray For Earth ? Momo EP (Dovecote)
Horray For Earth have put out a pretty good synth pop album here. The opening and closing tracks are definitely the strongest. Surrounded By Your Friends is simple, optimistic, and catchy.
The New Pornographers ? Together (Matador)
The best way I've found to describe this ?indie rock super group? to others has always been a little demeaning to me. AC Newman and Dan Bejar write pop songs, simple as that, they just do it oh so well. Take (generally) up beat and happy hooks, add them to Neko Case's vocals, and its pretty hard to go wrong. Throw in a bevy of guests, such as St. Vincent, some of the Dap-Kings, and Will Sheff (Okkervil River) and you have an album that indie kids will fawn over.
The Dear and Departed ? Chapters EP (Equal Vision)
This OC band (by way of England) have a sound that comes from the early 00's, what the kids call ?emo? these days. But this isn't a bad thing at all. Yes, I loved the rawness of the late 90's Rainer Maria and Braid, but I always held Jimmy Eat World close due to their solid production and pop hooks. They should have broken long before The Middle. TDD have stayed under the radar, much like JEW did, which is a shame. Chapters has a broad appeal due to its 80's influenced guitars (check out tracks 1, 3), hooks, and solid song writing. In short, if you like pop punk with some awesome reverbed/delayed guitars, you should check this one out.
The Syllable Section ? Linear Views (Self Released)
The SS are a two man band. With those limitations in mind, they've put together a decent record that kind of meanders at times, but over all is enjoyable, experimental pop. At times, it reminds me of Rob Crows older, solo stuff. Definitely worth exploring, and since all the songs are short, you can fit them in anywhere!
Tobacco ? Maniac Meat (Anticon)
This is a dance record. Throw in some psychedelia along with the pop, and Beck (on tracks 2 and 9) and this is what you get. Its well produced with lots of vintage synths, fuzzed out basses, and manipulated vocals. Within these confines, the album is all over the place, if that makes any sense. Mostly, these are short and fun (some are dark) tracks to party with. If you like this, check out Tobacco's other band, Black Moth Super Rainbow.
CocoRosie - Grey Oceans (Subpop)