Mini-Beats – December 2009 – Edition 10

BoxwoodThe Secret Life Of Rocks (2006, Pollen) ♥½
-mostly acoustic bedroom-pop with terribly whiny, melodramatic vocals; gave it a shot because it’s on the same label as the great Subterraneans album-
Elusive ParallelogramsAnd Everything Changes (2009, Rainbow Quartz) ♥♥♥
-an eclectic mix of fuzzy lo-fi garage cuts, 70’s power-pop and melodies galore; what you’ve come to expect from Rainbow Quartz-
Dark Dark DarkThe Snow Magic (2008, Supply and Demand) ♥♥½
-Eastern European gypsy folk influenced thing loosely-strummed guitar, accordion, banjo etc.; i usually gobble this stuff up but the actual songs were lacking-
The Novel IdeasThe Sky Is A Field (2009, self-released) ♥♥½
-boy/girl vocals tapping into the story-telling Decemberists thing-
Chriss SutherlandWorried Love (2009, self-released) ♥♥½
-mopey folk that bears a good bit of resemblance to Neil Young
Systems OfficerUnderslept (2009, Temporary Residence) ♥♥♥
-you know the deal – Rob Crow fronts band, makes no less than decent music-
Dave Rawlings MachineA Friend Of A Friend (2009, Acony) ♥♥½
-country folk/old-timey songwriter performing songs by such notable acts as Conor Oberst and Ryan Adams
Sharon Van EttenBecause I Was In Love (2009, Language Of Stone) ♥♥♥½
-Sharon weaves her tales of love lost with a beautifully warm and relaxing coo; RIYL Alela Diane, Cat Power
Strangers Family BandStrangers Family Band EP (2009, self-released)
-see upcoming front-page review-
Tin Star OrphansYonder (2009, Sparks) ♥♥♥½
-ecelectic mix of back-porch folk that turns up the volume as well on a few tracks; includes a clever rendition of ‘Plastic Jesus’-
DiscoveryDiscovery LP (2009,  XL) ♥♥♥
-heavily sampled bro-fi sunshine pop featuring a member of Vampire Weekend; has its moments including a cover of the Jackson 5’s ‘I Want You Back’-
Kurt Von StettenHistory EP (2009, Static Motor) ♥♥♥½
-mid-fi poppy garage tunes not unlike Jay Reatard but not as slammin’; keep an eye on this joe-
The MantlesThe Mantles (2009, Siltbreeze) ♥♥♥
-aggro-pop with hints of all the great 80’s post-punk acts; takes a little time to grow on you since there’s not much variance between the songs-
James PantsSeven Seals (2009, Stones Throw) ♥♥♥
-electropop with more samples than you can shake a stick at; quite hit or miss-
The Flaming LipsEmbryonic (2009, Warner) ♥♥
-whatever Wayne Coyne and the guys are on about here…I’m not understanding; there were a few moments where big, smashing drums were employed like the good ol’ days but the fun ends there-
DeastroKeeper’s (2008, Ghostly) ♥♥♥½
-compilation album of shimmery, electronic indie-pop (duh, it’s on Ghostly….); a few songs here were sheer bliss-
AudiotransparentChekhov Guns (2009, Katzwijm) ♥♥♥
-Dutch indie that carries the same feel and pace of Say Hi To Your Mom but less catchy; start with Nevland (a much more memorable beast of an album)-
Micachu (& The Shapes)Jewellery (2009, Rough Trade) ♥½
-sounds like spoons on furniture and dying animals; caveat emptor-
The AntlersHospice (2009, FrenchKiss) ♥♥♥♥
-i got a very heavy Jeff Buckley/The Walkmen vibe here; dreamy, emotive indie stuff commonly mistaken for slowcore but it’s really just awesome-core-
Daniel And The LionHandmade EP (2009, self-released) ♥♥♥½
-sad, acoustic/piano based pop songs with a little bit of sheen; RIYL Ray Lamontagne
David BazanCurse Your Branches (2009, Barsuk) ♥♥
-David may still flex lyrical prowess but the accompanying music seems to keep getting cheesier…in like a bad 80’s kinda way-
Open Work Stocking
Diademia (2009, Fluttery) ♥♥½
-mellow electronic stuff that really didn’t go anywhere-
Apollo GhostsHastings Sunrise (2009, self-released) ♥♥♥
-short concise pop songs that are as varied as they are melodic-
The DecemberistsHazards Of Love (2009, Capitol)
-terrible and annoying; in their defense I’ve never met a ‘rock’ opera that i liked-
Libbie LintonBird Wings In The Bleak (2009, Metrowake) ♥♥♥
-folk sung and played in a traditional old-timey manner but modern enough to appeal to the kids-
Binary Marketing ShowPattern (2009, The 8088 Record Collective) ♥♥♥♥
-a clever mix of weirdo-pop, sunshine fixes and tribal beats; never heard anything like it before-
AarkticaIn Sea (2009, Silber) ♥♥♥
-long gone are the days where females ruled the vocal duties, i miss them; this effort is mostly instrumental and sometimes haunting and powerful-
SloanHit & Run EP (2009, Murderecords) ♥♥♥½
-5 very promising songs that hopefully hint at the sound they exhibit on their upcoming full-length-
Camera ObscuraMy Maudlin Career (2009, 4AD) ♥♥♥½
-not as instantly catchy and memorable as past releases but there are moments like the two brilliant openers-

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