Mini-Beats – November 2009 – Edition 7

The Rural Alberta AdvantageHometowns (2009, Saddle Creek) ♥♥♥♥
-outstanding storytelling folk-core; guys sounds A LOT like Jeff Mangum as does the music at times; imagine a less pompous, less annoying Decemberists/Colin Meloy (sorry, fans)-
Le LoupFamily (2009) ♥♥♥♥
-a natural progression from their debut; banjo-centric folk not unlike Akron/Family, add a dash of bro-fi-
Noah and The WhaleFirst Days Of Spring (2009,) ♥♥♥½
-tales of woe and heartbreak presented like he’s an Oldham-
The Other PlanetsHoliday for Vacationers! (2008, Attention Spaniel) ♥♥
-eclectic, skronky weirdo jams; RIYL Ween, King Missile (without the fun….)-
Bombazine BlackHere Their Dreams (2008, Youthful Chaos) ♥♥♥
-slowcore with a bunch of crispy clean guitar sounds; worth a listen or two-
Goonies Never Say DieIn A Forest Without Trees (2009, Deep Elm) ♥♥½
-instrumental post-rock that reminded me a little of Tristeza or Appleseed Cast; strong focus on the piano-
PolvoIn Prism (2009, Merge) ♥♥½
-8 tracks of early 90’s-inspired indie rock; i understand their importance to the math rock movement years ago but this is almost a cherry-red wine stain on Merge’s good name-
PhishJoy (2009, Jemp) ♥♥
-yep, the very same Phish we’ve all either come to love or hate; sadly not even a song about a drugged-up ocelot could bump this up into ‘worth a listen’…-
Birds & BatteriesNature Vs. Nature (2008, self-released) ♥♥♥
-a little bit of indietronica, a little bit of pedal steel; RIYL Aqueduct-
SlaraffenlandWe’re On Your Side (2009, Hometapes) ♥♥
-hookless mope-rock from Denmark; not their best work-
6 Day RiotHave A Plan (2009, Tantrum) ♥♥♥½
-female-fronted pop that sometimes has a Vampire Weekend-slash-vaudevillian feel to it; vocals remind me a lot of Tanya Donnelly; this one surprised me a little-
Oh My GodThe Night Undoes The Work Of The Day (2009, Split Red) ♥♥½
-these guys still deploy that signature crunchy organ sound but things have become a little too glossy around these edges to stand out: RIYL The Argument-
Brown Recluse (Sings)Soft Skin EP (2008, Tequila Sunrise) ♥♥♥
-smooth, classy indie-pop leaning towards the Belle and Sebastian side of the genre; local Philly act-
RusticaliaRusticalia (2008, self-released) ♥½
-Jesse Osmun’s heart is in the right place but his brand of backporch folk is seriously marred by his less-than-pleasing vocals-
The Adventures Of LokiThe Adventures Of Loki (2009, Maitre-D) ♥♥♥½
-rowdy angular indie rock with healthy doses of punk energy and hooks to boot-
Ghost BuffaloThe Magician (200,) ♥♥
-darker pop-punk; vocalist reminds me of Elizabeth Elmore of Sarge; features members of Planes Mistaken For Stars-
New BrutalismActual Record (2009, Rejuvenation) ♥♥♥½
-more of that bad-ass down-tuned aluminum guitar sound; these guys are the Rage Against The Machine of the indie world…without all the self-righteous De La Rochan fist-pumping-
The DrumsSummertime! EP (2009, Twentyseven) ♥♥♥♥
-6 short, simple blasts of summertime fun; even the toughest of hearts will want to cut a rug-
First Aid KitForgot Id EP (2004, self-released) ♥♥♥½
-angular hardcore emo noises not unlike At The Drive In and early Thursday; definitely not the Swedish folk duo of the same name….-
Mount VernonWe Can Look Up (1998, self-released)
-terrible hippie-wank project from members of Deyarmond Edison and Justin from Bon Iver; i’m trying to forget this ever existed…-
The BeatingsLate Season Kids (2009, Midriff) ♥♥½
-they’ve maintained the sense of urgency and guitar chops a la Built To Spill that appeared on earlier releases but this release suffers due to a lack of memorable songs-
The ShiversIn The Morning (2009, State Capital) ♥♥♥½
-rating based on the strength of the two excellent opening tracks alone; I prefer the Velvets-inspired side of these guys with Keith handling the vocals-
The Reigning SoundLove and Curses (2009, In The Red) ♥♥♥
-garage rock revivalists who channel the naught-forgotten spirit of the Stones; you can always expect a good-to-great release from Greg Cartwright and the gang-
The Sour NotesReceived In Bitterness EP (2009, self-released) ♥♥♥
-dreamy pop-rock with bunches of melody; next effort should put a little more emphasis on the songwriting and lyrics; i got an odd Fountains Of Wayne vibe on a few of these songs….-
Justin VernonSelf Record (2005, self-released) ♥♥½
-mostly straight-forward folk album with the occasional gothic Americana twist; at 80 minutes this one is a little bit overbearing-
The Very BestWarm Heart Of Africa (2009, Green Owl) ♥♥♥
-Afrikaan-influenced effort that will lazily draw comparisons to Vampire Weekend but this is far more organic, electronic and danceable…but not as impactful-
Murder MysteryAre You Ready For The Heartache Cause Here It Comes (2007, self-released) ♥♥
-this treads dangerously close to bar-band status…-
The Mountain MoversWe Walked In Hell And There Is Life After Death (2006, Safety Meeting) ♥♥
-had high hopes for both Mountain Movers discs based off of their artwork and a few short e-blurbs but this ended up being hookless psyche-pop-
The Big PinkA Brief History of Love (2009, 4AD) ♥♥♥½
-another British indie-electro-pop band splashing water here in the US with a barrage of mostly awesome singles-
Hallelujah The HillsColonial Drones (2009, Misra) ♥♥♥
-sophomore effort is a bit moodier and more psyche-influenced than the S/T debut; got better after second listen so consider this one a grower-
DrummerFeel Good Together (2009, Audio Eagle) ♥♥♥½
-a few drummers get together and create an album…and it’s good…imagine that…-
Molina & JohnsonMolina & Johnson (2009, Secretly Canadian) ♥♥♥½
-a match made in heaven makes for a rather dark, brooding brew-

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