Mini-Beats – May 2011 – Edition 42

Voxhaul BroadcastTiming Is Everything (2011, self-released) ♥♥♥
-serviceable indie rock ‘n roll from LA that has bright moments (like the outstanding opener) but no attributes to help make it stand out in this crowded field; RIYL Spoon, Morning Benders
P.O.S.Never Better (2009, Rhymesayers) ♥♥♥
-the quality of rhymes far outweigh the beats here (standard for the midwest hip-hop genre…) which is fine but Never is saved by the cuts featuring the whole of Doomtree & Astronautalis
Mars ClassroomThe New Theory Of Everything (2011, Happy Jack) ♥♥½
-the first Pollard release of 2011 that’s left me a little wanting; you’d never be able to tell that this project features members of Pell Mell & Volcano Sun since The New Theory is indisputably Bob-flavored-
PanditEternity Spin (2011, Waaga) ♥♥♥
-big fan of the spacy, ambient landscapes where Lance’s dreamy vocals are audible and clear (like ‘Pack Your Bags’ and ‘Kodiak’) but I was rather indifferent to the washed-out, chillwavin’ numbers-
The Pains Of Being Pure At HeartBelong (2011, Slumberland) ♥♥½
-something about this follow-up to their acclaimed debut that left a bad taste in my mouth; I gave this a full 3 listens and it seems the melodies and infectious energy has been sapped out of their sound so to say I was left wanting is an understatement, especially knowing what they’re capable of…-
Timber TimbreCreep On Creepin’ On (2011, Arts & Crafts) ♥♥♥
-Canada’s finest (only?) swamp-blues-soul outfit returns with a dark, sinister effort that will surely catch the attention of the True Blood writing staff; RIYL Dead Man’s Bones
Art BrutBrilliant! Tragic! (2011, Cooking Vinyl) ♥♥♥½
-here there be shades of the band’s rambunctious, Fall-worship beginnings of which I couldn’t get enough of; boundless hilarity ensues on cuts like Axel Rose and Clever Clever Jazz; RIYL The Pixies
GenerationalsActor-Caster (2011, Park The Van) ♥♥♥½
-I found as much pleasure in this as I did their admirable debut; its pretty evident the band decided to experiment a little but the grooves are still there in healthy amounts; RIYL Spoon, Say Hi To Your Mom
Eat Your Birthday CakeEnemies (2011, self-released) ♥♥♥½
-local Philly gang reprazentin’ the indie rock with 8 tracks of chill  with emphasis on swirling keys and fuzz; Marc’s vocals are a dead ringer for Jason Lytle…it’s uncanny; available as a free download from their BΔNDCΔMΡ; RIYL Grandaddy, Cloud Cult
The Mountain GoatsAll Eternals Deck (2011, Merge) ♥♥½
-while John is still undeniably one of the greatest storytellers of this era it’s safe to say that I’ve very much outgrown the music on his hi-fi releases; for someone as outspoken about music as he is I’m expecting some different directions/twists/turns with his own output, couple this with the fact I will never spend another cent to see him play live I’m hereby calling our relationship ‘damaged with only a slight possibility of repair’-
Dream DiaryYou Are The Beat (2011, Kanine) ♥♥½
-equal parts 80’s dance, jangle-pop, and twee…sounds great but there’s no variation between one song and the next so an EP likely would have done better as far as winning me over goes; RIYL Field Mice, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
The LuyasToo Beautiful To Work (2011, Dead Oceans) ♥♥½
-eccentric indie from Montreal collective; features guest spots from Owen Pallett and Arcade Fire (who else?); Jesse Stein’s vocals are the foundation of this album but the songs themselves failed to make a lasting impression; RIYL Deerhoof
Ghost HeartThe Tunnel (2011, Friction) ♥♥♥
-a decent attempt at bridging the gap between tribal indie-pop and the current wave of chill; highlights include the opening 3 tracks but things get a little soft and uninteresting after this…a 7″ or EP would have been ace; RIYL Akron/Family
Matthew FriedbergerMeet Me In Miramas (2011, Thrill Jockey) ♥♥♥
-I’ve never really latched onto The Fiery Furnaces so it came as a surprise that I actually liked what Matthew is doing here; the only noticeable downside is this is more or less one 40-minute jam as the percussion, tempo and subject matter rarely altered course-
MillionYoungReplicants (2011, Old Flame) ♥♥♥½
-Mike Diaz basically picked up where he left off with the gorgeous Sunndreamm EP a few years ago though one could argue that this is a bit more lush and groove-laden; this served me well on a couple of long commutes to work-
FishboyClassic Creeps (2011, Happy Happy Birthday To Me) ♥♥♥♥
-my only prior experience with Denton’s Fishboy was ’07’s Albatross which featured several infectious/manic indie-pop odes of joy(?); this is no different except it was accompanied by a read-along comic and all the characters involved have their destines entwine before the end (the Magnolia of the music world?); see Mark’s front-page review; RIYL Heligoats/Troubled Hubble, Tullycraft
Singing AdamsEverybody Friends Now (2011, Records Records) ♥♥♥
-this side-project (though I think the Broken Family Band has officially been laid to rest..) features relationship woes and tempered bile throated about in Steven Adams’ typical drawl-and-legkick fashion; I don’t know if its due to the lack of BFB members helping out or not but this fell a little short of expectations-
Thao & MirahThao & Mirah (2011, Kill Rock Stars) ♥♥♥½
-Merrill’s presence is strongly felt here with all the muted/alt percussion and nods to Afrikaan beats and jazz skronk; not terribly familiar with either Thao Nguyen or Mirah’s solo stuff but I know enough to say this is quite an impressive marriage of talents…-
Four QuartetsThe Paragon Of Animals (2011, Wooden Step) ♥♥
-pretty convincing evidence that Elliot Smith is, in fact, not dead but merely vacationing in the UK-
The RaveonettesRaven In Your Grave (2011, Vice) ♥♥♥
-the Specter wall-of-sound formula remains the same but this batch of songs lacks the punch (and controversy) of the previous 3 albums; still one of the most consistent bands in recent memory-
BibioMind Bokeh (2011, Warp) ♥♥♥
-warm, inviting, sample-and-synth electronic music from this UK producer with certainly no lack of diversity or ideas but it failed to embed itself into that nook of my brain where the pressing need to hear something again lies…-


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