Mini-Beats – April 2011 – Edition 41

Hammer No More The FingersBlack Shark (2011, Churchkey) ♥♥♥
-angular, but incredibly melodic, 90’s influenced college-rock from Chapel Hill area; RIYL The French Kicks, Jawbox (mostly due to J Robbins’ production)-
Lia IcesNecima (2008, Rare Book Room) ♥♥♥½
-not as emotionally riveting or musically diverse as her latest but her virtuous coo make this an essential listen for fans of Alela Diane or Sharon Van Etten
Shipping NewsOne Less Heartless To Fear (2010, Karate Body) ♥♥♥½
-there was a time when SN would simply play their instruments and lock into a groove but their first new material in 5 years features a wider variety of sounds; the A-side of this LP pounded hard like your favorite Shellac album while the B-side simmered down and played out like June Of 44, band member Jeff Mueller’s old digs; recorded live in Japan and Louisville-
StarfuckerReptilians (2011, Polyvinyl) ♥♥♥½
-they may not be able to settle on a name for more than a few months but they do know how to throw together an album’s worth of infectious, upbeat synth-pop; feel free to use this as a litmus test to determine whether or not you possess a heartbeat; RIYL MGMT, Cut Copy
Talons’Songs For Boats (2011, Own) ♥♥♥
-the Akron, OH based Talons’ (not the above-average noisy post-rock outfit from the UK) present to you warm, twinkling slow-core and well, twelve songs about boats that (unfortunately?) don’t include profanity, SNL skits or rumpshakin’; RIYL Low
All Get OutAll Get Out EP (2008, self-released) ♥♥♥½
-dceptively good pop/rock sounds based around simple melodies and guitar/bass/keys/drums from South Kakolaki; not as solid as their eseential Daytrotter sessions but promising nonetheless-
East River PipeWe Live In Rented Rooms (2011, Merge) ♥♥½
-one of the few Sarah/Merge artists that have never yielded much by way of lasting impressions; it would seem Cornog has always reached for magnetic fields but always come up short-
MaritimeHuman Hearts (2011, Dangerbird) ♥♥♥½
-the first release for the gang in over 4 years and Davey continues to establish a formidable legacy beyond life in The Promise Ring with another above-average collection of infectious indie-pop nuggets; RIYL Phoenix, Ra Ra Riot
tUnE-yArDsw h o k i l l (2011, 4AD) ♥♥♥♥
-whine, complain, spell this however the hell you want – it’s miles better than her debut, easily one of my favorite albums of the year and I am stoked to see her in a few weeks!-
Class ActressJournal Of Ardency EP (2010, Terrible) ♥♥♥½
-a couple of really danceable electro-pop hitz to feast on here from former(?) singer-songwriter Elizabeth Harper (maybe most notable for her inclusion on the Dig For Fire Pixies tribute); you need this for the few upsides alone-
Last Days Of AprilGooey (2010, Bad Taste) ♥♥½
-those of pining for Angel Youth II can pretty much take a pass on this though I can see the power-pop crowd getting into this a little (which can be said of their last 3 release…); RIYL Matthew Sweet (but not nearly as sweet…)-
Sarah JaffeEven Born Again (2007, self-released) ♥♥♥½
-this brief but worthwhile EP gives us a glimpse of the potential that Sarah carried into last year’s captivating Suburban Nature
Os MutantesHaih…or Amortecedor (2009, Anti) ♥♥
-I couldn’t for the life of me understand why I put off listening to this for so long considering how much I love their untouchable late 60’s records but I wish I kept it buried in my listening queue forever; there’s not a whole lot to wrap your mind around here but misguided attempts at cabaret and showtunes; I’m a little bent out of shape about this-
The Lonely ForestArrows (2011, Trans) ♥♥♥½
-infectious pop/rock outfit from WA probably most known for recently touring with Joy Formidable and being the first band signed to Chris Walla’s label; I’d recommend catching these guys live as the studio album only does them so much justice; RIYL Harvey Danger, The Argument
Architecture In HelsinkiMoment Bends (2011, Modular) ♥♥
-not sure what happened to this band but the lyrics and corny 80’s vibe sound really cheesy and generic, gone is all the playful experimentation that made the first few LP’s essential classics-
Fleet FoxesHelplessness Blues (2011, Sub Pop) ♥♥♥♥
-contrary to some critiques I’ve read, Robin’s arrangements here are just as interesting and stimulating as the debut; this hasn’t quite grown on me like Fleet Foxes yet but I suspect it will after time; one of this year’s best, for sure-
Craft SpellsIdle Labor (2011, Captured Tracks) ♥♥♥♥
-get this if you love the Drums or any number of the New Order inspired bands of recent memory; there’s also a sprinkle or two of tropicalia and a few older tracks have been cleaned up (arguably for the worse) like the uninhibited joy that is You Should Close The Door, my ringtone for the past year and a half; RIYL Drums, Kisses, chill broments-
Julianna BarwickThe Magic Place (2011, Asthmatic Kitty) ♥♥♥
-Julianna uses her voice as an instrument and while there are moments of sheer, angelic beauty here The Magic Place has one minor flaw, that being a lack of variety; I suspect a few more listens would draw out more appreciation for this-

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