by: Tan Doan
Faded Paper Figures - New Medium (Shorthand Records)
New Medium is a catchy indie-pop record that heavily incorporates electronics. Comparing them to The Postal Service is inevitable, though the beats are simpler. Most of the tracks are upbeat, with the exception of Rewind, When The Book Ends and Changed, though Changed remains shimmery. Currently the band is bi-coastal, but they formed in Irvine, and won UCI's Songwriting contest in 2008.
The Real Mckenzies - Shine Not Burn (Fat Wreck Records)
Scottish punk band from Canada. I can't understand a word that's sung, so it must be legit! Do I hear a bagpipe? LEGIT!
In all seriousness, this is a solid, fun, immediately gratifying, and infectious record for your next whiskey party, or whatever party.
Tender Trap - Dansette Dansette (Slumberland)
Tender Trap have put out a garage/indie/twee pop. Hell, isn't the name "Tender Trap" a twee giveaway? The vocals are backed by some good choral harmonies and fuzzy guitars.
Ceschi - The One Man Band Broke Up (Fake Four)
The One Man Band Broke Up sounds pretty good as background music, with lots of non-mainstream elements, such as guitars, strings, etc, over beats. Generally the music is slow, as is the singing. Occasionally, there are some rapid fire lyrics that offer some good contrast. If you delve into the lyrics, the album quickly turns super dark and depressing. In short, it's a concept album about road to the the suicide of an artist named Julius. Non safe-harbor shows will have to avoid this one though, as I think every track drops something I, if not O. If you you do have a safe harbor show though, try out the title track, Half Mast, Fallen Famous, Hang Man, or Bad Jokes.