Twin Shadow Finds His Pop Sound on Eclipse

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George Lewis, Jr., the singer and songwriter behind Twin Shadow, doesn’t want to be trapped under the weight of genre. This is obvious from his flat-out admissions in interviews about the direction of his third full length release, Eclipse, but it’s even more clear from the radio-friendly lineup of tracks that made the final cut after months generating material in his new hometown of L.A. This, coupled with the sudden move away from heavyweight independent label 4AD to media-giant Warner Bros., tells us that if Lewis wants to make pop music, he’ll make pop music, pigeon-holes be damned. {Read More on Treblezine…}


Purity Ring’s Sound Goes Bigger on “Another Eternity”


If any question loomed about the overall direction Purity Ring would go on their sophomore release, it gets answered pretty quickly on “Heartsigh,” the opener onAnother Eternity. It’s bolder, brighter and beefier than anything on 2012′s Shrines, and Megan James and Corin Roddick’s playful, often introspective electro-pop has transitioned into a vast, aural landscape that manages to be upbeat and energetic, more fun than ominous. The sort of quiet, somber musical channels that were explored onShrines in tracks like “Obedear” and “Shuck” are missing. And the eerie, sometimes uncomfortable wordplay that has been a staple of James’ lyrical ventures are either more sanitized or simply gone in favor of less complex, more digestible bits. {Read more on Treblezine…}

Father John Misty Sings the Hell Out of Being in Love


Father John Misty is at his best when juxtaposing irreverent lyrics with the sublime beauty of a slow ’60s jam or a sunny, upbeat number, both found on his sophomore album, I Love You Honeybear. Gorgeous, swirling melodies and horn-infused tracks are jarring in their not-so-subtle, oft ribald subject matters. But this is nothing new for Tillman, who slipped under the Father John Misty moniker after he left Fleet Foxes. When Josh Tillman speaks about his art and the craft of the Father John Misty persona, you quickly realize if anything is true, it’s that the man is clever, eloquent, and possibly too bright to take for granted. {Read more on Treblezine…}

Stars Light Up The Night With an Homage to the Club Scene

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Stars’ newest album No One Is Lost opens with one of their favorite tricks: a sound clip from their musical vaults. They’ve probably got an entire database designed for just this thing. Some clips are powerful statements, like the one that opened 2005’s Set Yourself On Fire, which was written by singer Torquil Campbell and recorded by his father (“When there is nothing left to burn, you’ve got to set yourself on fire”), while some seem to be from films or TV shows. “From the Night,” the opening song to No One Is Lost, and one of their best songs to date, features ambient street sounds and what sounds like a group of speakers conversing in French. {Read More}

Karen O Crushes On Her First Solo Album

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Karen O is nothing if not unpredictable. As lead vocalist for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs — a band that delivers songs with deliberate throat-punches as well as having written some of the best love songs ever, she uses her voice like a whip — backed by musical arrangements as loud and thunderous as ten thousand horses. On her first solo album,Crush Songs, she strips away the landscape of the big instrumentation featured on her group productions and gives us songs about being unfulfilled and lonely in a lo-fi, half-finished demo-tape kind of way. {Read More}

New Pornographers Pull No Punches with “Brill Bruisers”

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New Pornographers frontman A.C. Newman said before the release of the band’s sixth album, Brill Bruisers, that he  “feel[s] more confident about this record than [he’s] ever felt about anything before.” He’s also called it a “celebration record,” and has explained how he’s got nothing in his life dragging him down and that his art reflects this. The thing is that all of the albums AC Newman’s indie supergroup have released are pretty much fantastic, from Mass Romantic to Challengers, on up to the similarly solid Together. But there’s a palpable sense of something extra this time around, considering how alive and glittery Brill Bruisers is. Even the tracks guided by the more meditative and poetic Dan Bejar — also of Destroyer — leap from the speaker at a jackrabbit pace. It’s just a shame that summer is almost over — this album, much like the Pornos’ best, is custom fit for a beachgoing blowout. {Read More}

JJ Changes Their Name Slightly, But Not How Good They Are

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V is full of the polished sounds that have made JJ’s previous albums stunning opuses built on catchy instrumental loops and layered vocals. Tracks like “All White Everything,” “Full,” and “I” are so heavy they threaten to collapse inward, creating a musical singularity. They’re beautiful. Perhaps too beautiful. That contrasts starkly with the production decision to not tune Kastlander’s vocals. There are moments when she falters at the cusp of the proper note, and there’s something ironically angelic about it, because why does an artist decide to show their imperfections over the easy conceal? It’s baffling and attractive to hear this human vulnerability within the context of Benon’s and Kastlander’s slick production. The messy vocals—they’re right at home in the unkempt wilderness of the guitar/vocal track like  2‘s “Me & Dean.” That makes sense. This puzzling production decision on V is strangely alluring and respectable. Somehow it casts them as even more compelling artists. {Read More}

Autumnal Notes on Newest Bear in Heaven



Bear in Heaven slip into Time Is Over One Day Old this August with the timely track “Autumn” as though in anticipation of that twilit, in-between season. Forget sun-soaked summer records — the group’s most recent offering is all over that ethereal, half-light slow descent into winter. It fits. The kind of music they make — sweeping, epic numbers whose proper fit would seem to be over the opening montage of a Hollywood film — is introspective and loaded with the sorts of instrumental and vocal combinations that tear down the walls that separate reality from fantasy. {read more}

Alvvays Rock Some Sweet Summer Sounds


Summer is more than half over, but that doesn’t mean there’s no time to discover a fitting summer soundtrack. For next year maybe. Or to round off this one before autumn and winter set in. Either way, Canadian indie rock band Alvvays will still sound good, even in winter. They hail from colder climes — Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton — and somehow have ended up producing music that feels as bright and garish as an afternoon being blinded by the sand and crusted in salt-water like a boiled shrimp. There’s something strangely pleasant about that, no? {read more}

Wye Oak: Album of the Week on Treblezine

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The new Wye Oak is perfect! Here’s a teaser from my review over at Treblezine:

“Tracks like ‘Before,’ ‘Shriek,’ and ‘Sick Talk’ effervesce in pleasant waves of synths and drum loops. Wasner’s vocals carry sunlight and hope as she muses about being reborn and emerging from a dream brand new. Shriek is the brighter side, the payoff. It’s the antithesis of Civilian, where the themes and tones were shadowy and dark, constructed of half-light and driving guitars and drums, all of it designed around the concept of suppressed emotion, blunted desire and regret.” [Read More…]