Mini-Beats – June 2011 – Edition 44

LiturgyAesthethica (2011, Thrill Jockey) ♥♥♥½
:there’s no shortage of can-crushing beats and syncopation to satisfy the typical black metal crowd though the ‘pleasant’ thoughts used to create the music and the controversial interviews held with certain band members will certainly not appeal to Viking dark-lords and necrophiliacs; I could have lived without the interludes (like the 8-bit noodling of Helix Skull) and, well, the vocals in general….they’re paranormal, for sure: (buy vinyl)
BelongCommon Era (2011, Kranky) ♥♥♥
:can’t compare this to their heralded debut as I haven’t heard it yet but Common follows a simple, singular formula of naked shoe-gaze with post-punk leanings and ample ambience; I can get behind a few tracks but the album as a whole was a little messy: (buy vinyl)
Cold CaveCherish The Light Years (2011, Matador) ♥♥½
:I was somewhat disappointed in this new direction, aside from the anthemic opening track (one of the best singles of the year thus far) this was mostly cheesy 80’s rehash and way below average lyrics; kinda assumed a move to Brooklyn would’ve yielded better results..: (buy vinyl)
Blue Water White DeathBlue Water White Death (2011, Graveface) ♥♥♥♥
:expect the art-damaged pop(?) that we’ve all come to love/hate from Jamie Stewart and inject Jonathan Meiburg’s (Shearwater, Okkervil River) influence on the arrangements and this ended up seeing an unlikely marriage yielding quite the unhyped gem; dark and eerie, sparse and beautiful, essential!: (buy vinyl)
LowC’mon (2011, Sub Pop) ♥♥♥♥
:considering I’ve been a huge supporter of Alan, Mimi and Zak’s evolution since the early 90’s it means a lot to declare this their most powerful and endearing release since ’01’s Things We Lost In The Fire; Low consistently find ways to keep minimalism interesting while maintaining their integrity: (buy vinyl)
SharksThe Joys Of Living 2008-2010 (2011, Rise) ♥♥♥½
:had a chance to see these lads open up for Chuck Ragan and they thoroughly impressed; this is a collection of singles and whatnot culled into an LP steeped in 70’s & 80’s mod/punk revivalism: (buy vinyl)
GrailsDeep Politics (2011, Temporary Residence) ♥♥½
:pimped by several normally reliable sources but for the second album in a row (includes last year’s Black Tar 4) I walked away from a Grails LP with little to no positive impression…after 3 full (car ride) listens; the song structures and instrumentation are just flat and uninspiring when compared to earlier releases like Take Refuge or Burning; sadly, this diluted genre requires artists to stay on top of their game and broaden their palettes and, with that, Deep failed to satiate: (buy vinyl)
Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears Scandalous (2011, Lost Highway) ♥♥½
:by all accounts I should love this…it’s hi-energy nü-soul with sweat gland explosions and gyrating hips and Lost Highway is typically a reliable source for this brand but neither this or any past release of BJL’s has revealed any lasting power: (buy vinyl)
Dark MeanDark Mean (2011, self-released) ♥♥♥½
:this proper full-length combines the band’s first 2 excellent (but critically ignored) EP’s plus a few newer tracks; one of the better alterna-pop acts hailing from Canada right now and I hope they find the time to tour my neck of the woods soon:
Tim CohenTim Cohen’s Magic Trick (2011, Captured Tracks) ♥♥♥½
:tres busy frontman for Fresh & Onlys and handfuls of other projects puts together a swell collection of lite psyche-pop nuggets; I preferred this to anything his main gig has put out; RIYL White Fence, Jens Lekman: (buy vinyl)
Eternal SummersPrisoner EP (2011, Forest Family) ♥♥♥
:this picks up where last year’s Silver left off, brief, Spectorized pop songs that bounce to and fro except for my favorite track on the EP, ‘Pure Affection’ which reminded me of one of those slow, laid-back Sonic Youth numbers: (buy vinyl)
31knotsTrump Harm (2011, Polyvinyl) ♥♥♥
:there were some rough enough moments on here but nothing like their blisteringly good pre-Polyvinyl halcyon days: (buy vinyl)
High Tension WiresWelcome New Machine (2011, Dirtnap) ♥♥♥♥
:with Dirtnap it’s already been pre-determined that infectious, high-energy garage-pop is in order here; I’d have to say this is probably one of the signature albums from the genre’s recent history as it sinks its claws into your head and never really lets up; RIYL Marked Men, Jay Reatard, Mind Spiders: (buy vinyl)
Swim PartyThere Is Too Much Wood In My Coffin EP (2011, self-released) ♥♥♥
:if I had not bothered to look I would have just assumed these lads were from Scotland and not San Diego…regardless this does sort of have the feel of the last few Frightened Rabbit albums, edgy, mid-tempo indie rock with emotional ups and downs; RIYL Wintersleep, Jim Yoshii Pile-Up:
Touchy MobAtlantic Back EP (2011, self-released) ♥♥♥½
:real promising mix-mash of chill, folktronic sounds with almost dubstep-like beats from Berlin; some serious grooves found within and lo! free on his Bandcamp (along with all of his other output that I intend on listening to):

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