Mini-Beats – March 2011 – Edition 38

Beach FossilsWhat A Pleasure EP (2011, Captured Tracks) ♥♥♥
-mega-jangly springtime pop that finds Dustin crisping up production a little instead of hiding behind the wall-of-4track-sound on his debut LP-
British Sea PowerValhalla Dancehall (2011, Rough Trade) ♥♥♥½
-I’ve never really given an entire BSP album a fair shake since none of the ‘singles’ since The Decline struck me as anything special but Valhalla treated me to a sprawling exercise in variety with mostly positive results most especially when they display poise and restraint on the dreamier pop numbers; I can see how some would decry ‘identity crisis’ but I expect this to improve with each future listen; RIYL David Bowie, Catherine Wheel, Spacehog (yep…)-
Teenage PanzerkorpsGerman Reggae (2011, Holidays) ♥♥♥½
-what just happened here…oh, TPK just pummeled your cubicle with a blast of reverb-drenched, dark-wave punk; there’s ties to the Jewelled Antler collective in these ranks but you’d never know it-
The DiggsCtr-Alt-Del (2008, self-released) ♥♥♥♥
-if, like me, you loved all those emo-core bands of the 90’s that focused on grand, atmospheric passages and tension instead of relationship heartbreak and acoustic guitars…this will tickle you pink; this is much different from their debut EP and LP but no less essential; the band is now sadly defunct; RIYL Elliott, Sunny Day Real Estate
Hands and KneesWholesome (2011, self-released) ♥♥♥
-animated indie-pop troupe from Mass that opened up this LP strong but it flattened out quickly-
YuckYuck (2011, Fat Possum) ♥♥♥
-(Julie Christie) the rumors were true…this taps into the Dinosaur Jr./Yo La Tengo/Elliott Smith vein and draws way more blood than typically acceptable-
Eastern Conference ChampionsAkustiks (2010, Rockhampton) ♥♥♥½
-LA by-way-of Bucks County, PA collective cranking out hook-laden folk-pop and, at this point, most notable for their contribution to the Twilight:Eclipse OST; regardless, there’s no denying the foot-tappin’ rhythms and frontman Joshua Ostrander’s anomalous vocals-
Natural Snow BuildingsWaves Of The Random Sea (2011, Blackest Rainbow) ♥♥♥♥
-devastatingly beautiful ambient folk that should find itself on every self-respecting music lover’s year-end list-
The Baseball ProjectVol. 2: High and Inside (2011, Yep Roc) ♥♥
-I love baseball and all but these serve up little outside of nostalgic musings…most songs sound terribly forced with little no hooks to help embed them into your head-
MogwaiHardcore Will Never Die, But You Will (2011, Sub Pop) ♥♥♥
-read a lot of positive reviews of this coming in but I walked away feeling less than impressed with Hardcore as there weren’t any explosive/wow moments; still by far the loudest live band I’ve ever experienced-
The Lava ChildrenThe Lava Children EP (2009, Graveface) ♥♥♥
-a hit or miss affair with some really diverse psychedelic garage jams but Sherri West’s vocals occasionally sent my ears packing; thumbs up for the swirly pink-and-sea-green vinyl; RIYL Reading Rainbow, Cibo Matto
Cotton JonesSit Beside Your Vegetables EP (2011, Suicide Squeeze) ♥♥♥½
-a short, 4-song extension of the rustic, Appalachian folk explored on last year’s LP-
CreepoidHorse Heaven (2011, Ian) ♥♥♥½
-very promising local Philly act that spans the realm of dark, reverb-driven, sometimes lush dream-pop with mixed male/female vocals-
Aurelio MartinezLaru Beya (2011, Sub Pop) ♥♥♥
-known to most simply as ‘Aurelio’, he specializes in Garifuna soul native to Central America, notably Honduras where Aurelio is actually an elected member of the Honduran National Congress-

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