Mini-Beats – November 2010 – Edition 31

Dax RiggsSay Goodnight To The World (2010, Fat Possum) ♥♥½
-Dax’s progressive (?) journey to his latest solo album has much in common with Jay Reatard’s path, having started out fronting thrash metal band Acid Bath and currently channeling that energy in a more subdued, bluesy folk manner-
KarkwaLes chemins de verre (2010, Audiogram) ♥♥♥½
Karkwa’s 4th proper full-length ended up winning them Canada’s esteemed Polaris Prize in 2010 but it came and went without a peep as this falls on the French-Canadian side of their musical spectrum, meaning the lyrics are all sung in French; nevertheless this is a beautiful and diverse, indie-pop record that is held back only by the fact I have no idea what they’re singing about…-
Darren HanlonI Will Love You At All (2010, Yep Roc) ♥♥♥
-can’t say I’ve ever been more than a mild fan of Darren’s story-telling, mang-and-a-guitar style but this ended up being a palatable group of charming tunes with the occasional sign of depth and diversity – see the barrage of drums that magically appear in ‘Houses’…more of this next time, plz-
FopsYeth Yeth Yeth (2010, Monotreme) ♥♥½
-a side project featuring the vocalist from Thee More Shallows; memorable moments are a bit sparse here, meandering electronic indie rock that reminded me of Paper Chase without all the excess energy-
A Sunny Day In GlasgowAutumn, Again (2010, self-released) ♥♥♥½
-this displays the qualities and sounds of its predecessor but lacks the musical footprint Ashes Grammar left behind in 2009; regardless, there is much joy to be gleaned from this as well as a chuckle (if you dissect the song titles); available as a free download or burgundy colored 12″ here
Belle and SebastianWrite About Love (2010, Matador) ♥♥♥
-this is back to basics for B&S as it breaks free from recent brushes with superstardom and instead finds itself heavily steeped in 70’s radio and, of course, indie/twee-pop cliches; sure to please old fans-
Dark Dark DarkWild Go (2010, Supply and Demand Music) ♥♥♥½
-gothic folk centered around piano and accordion and Nona Marie Invie’s powerful, trance-inducing vocals; RIYL Zola Jesus
Michael ParallaxMountain (2010, self-released) ♥♥♥½
-an epic, synth-heavy, sample-laden beast of an album that is not only spiritual and enveloping in nature but also freely available to download here
Radical FaceTouch The Sky EP (2010, self-released) ♥♥♥♥
-apparently this is just a teaser for a themed, behemoth 3-album opus…can’t wait; aka Electric President, Patients RIYL Cloud Cult
DaughtersDaughters (2010, Hydra Head) ♥♥♥½
-blasts of grimy, but somehow melodic noise-core with vocals that will immediately make you miss David Yow; RIYL Jesus Lizard, Big Black
Daniel G. Harmann & The Trouble StartsRisk (2010, Burning Building) ♥♥♥
-as far as i know this is my first foray into Daniel’s music and it yielded mixed results; some tracks meander about in a Death Cab sorta way and others work their way up to the clouds via fragile, melancholic crescendos that make you feel like your heart is going to burst (see the aptly titled ‘Estrella’)…more of the latter please-
Icarus HimselfMexico EP (2010, Science Of Sound) ♥♥♥
-folk-pop with keys, drum machines and indie swagger from the former leader of National Beekeepers Society
Ra Ra RiotThe Orchard (2010, Barsuk) ♥♥½
-we get it, this isn’t Rhumb Line but the fact of the matter is it’s not nearly as sonically dense or rewarding…it feels like a cheap imitation of the recent 80’s revivalism with several songs bordering on the side of ultra-cheesy or plagiarism (see the Vampire Weekend-like ‘Massachusetts’)-
Kristin HershCrooked (2010, CASH) ♥♥♥
-can’t say that I’ve done much swooning since Hersh’s debut solo LP, Hips and Makers, but Crooked is definitely worth a listen if you like your female singer-songwriters to flex a minimalistic, darker side; RIYL Shannon Wright, Nina Nastasia
Blonde RedheadPenny Sparkle (2010, 4AD) ♥♥½
-gone is the signature dissonant indie-rock sound of BR in the 90’s; its since been replaced with a dreamier, if not harmless, variety of trip-hop that I enjoy slightly more than the critically acclaimed Misery Is A Butterfly
Candy ClawsHidden Lands (2010, twosyllable) ♥♥
-ever imagined what it would sound like to drown in a sea of exotic tropical fish?-
Dan ManganNice, Nice, Very Nice (2009, Arts & Crafts) ♥♥♥♥½
-this is as solid as a pop-folk-Americana album can be these days with skin-piercing hooks and melodies around every bend as well as engaging lyrics; RIYL the first couple of Josh Rouse albums, Tom McRae
Everyone EverywhereEveryone Everywhere (2010, Tiny Engines) ♥♥♥♥
-this could serve as an integral part of the imminent return of that mid-to-late 90’s-style emo that really mattered as opposed to watered-down, over-produced dreck of the last 5+ years…sign me up; RIYL Piebald, Knapsack, Promise Ring
PomegranatesOne Of Us (2010, Afternoon) ♥♥♥
-there were moments of beauty and sparsely mixed interludes but this just blended into the background, even after 3 full listens; this is vastly different from the high-energy indie rock of the last album-

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