Mini-Beats – October 2010

The Lesser Birds Of ParadiseThe Scenery (2008, Tight Ship) ♥♥½
-mopey acoustic-folk that finds the band a little too far removed from the clever songwriting found on earlier releases-
El Sueno De La Casa PropiaHistorial de Caidas (2010, Pueblo Nuevo) ♥♥♥
-promising netlabel release from this Chilean electronic/glitch popsmith; this will appeal to fans of the more polished side of the chillwave movement-
Woody WhateverSystem Off (2009, self-released) ♥♥♥♥
-a fine collection of 2-minute mid-fi pop songs; Erik’s best record since 2003’s When I Lost I Left!-
Sun Kil MoonAdmiral Fell Promises (2010, Caldo Verde) ♥♥♥½
-you pretty much know what you’re going to get with a Mark Kozelek release under any of the monikers he hides behind; the classical/flamenco guitar interludes/intros/outros on this LP are a welcome addition to his otherwise simple approach-
Chatham County LineWildwood (2010, Yep Roc) ♥♥♥
-twangy, traditional Americana that is as formulaic as it is soothing and organic RIYL Son Volt, Ryan Adams, Fruit Bats
Eternal SummersSilver (2010, Kanine) ♥♥♥½
-formed from the nutrient-rich Magic Twig collective, this boy/girl guitar/drums duo bangs out short, simple, dreamlike bursts of noise with sticking power; RIYL Galaxie 500, early Breeders
The GlobesSinter Songs EP (2010, self-released) ♥♥½
-no doubt these guys are influenced by some of their Pacific Northwest peers like Menomena/Lackthereof but there’s still some things to tighten up here before giving it the nod-
Valley MakerValley Maker (2010, self-released) ♥♥♥♥
-Austin Crane has taken one of the most controversial literary works (Genesis) and set it to words in such a hauntingly powerful manner; Amy Godwin’s goosebump-inducing vocals can’t be overlooked here as well; easily one of the most solid (yet simple) releases of the year and available as a pay-what-you-want download here RIYL Palace Music, Papa M
Robocop KrausBlunders and Mistakes (2007, Anti) ♥♥½
-it would seem the crash-and-bang post-hardcore/punk of their earlier career has been traded in for something much less interesting; still one of my favorite German bands regardless-
Matt CostaMobile Chateau (2010, Brushfire) ♥♥♥½
-Matt has found himself a new signature sound that funnels all that is good with the 60’s; a much-improved step up from the ho-hum Unfamiliar Faces
At DuskSmall Light (2009, self-released) ♥♥♥
-left-of-center folk that can better be described as the Dodos’ less polished, younger brother-
At The SpineVita (2008, Global Seepej) ♥♥
-uneventful coulda-but-not-maybe-shoulda local college rock-
Zola JesusStridulum (2010, Sacred Bones) ♥♥♥
-80’s-influenced darkwave that has somehow breached the genre’s limiting barrier and thrust itself into the indie scene; I was excited at first after hearing ‘Sea Talk’ but little else wowed me as much; still worth a few listens-
Sufjan StevensThe Age Of Adz (2010, Asthmatic Kitty)
-see front page review-
Franklin For ShortSwell (2008, Beehouse) ♥♥♥½
-simple, melodic power-pop/rock that isn’t breaking down any new barriers but it is filled with hooks galore which makes it just swell in my book….-
AnagramThe Lights Went Out (2006, self-released) ♥♥♥½
-sophomore effort from this San Fran husband/wife duo consisting of varied dream-pop with a harder edge on a few tracks; takes a few listens for the goodness to surface but well worth the wait-
FuturebirdsHampton’s Lullaby (2010, Autumn Tone) ♥♥♥♥
-sprawling Americana with hints of Built To Spill and Neil Young when they jam out; most of these songs reach epic status almost effortlessly; think of the expansive prairie where Kings Of Leon could be roaming instead of playing their vapid arena rock to the masses…-
EfrenAlways A Bleeder (2010, Slo Pro) ♥♥½
-mellow psyche-folk hailing from Athens that might appeal to fans of Jason Molina or Patterson Hood
House Of BreadSuperhuman Tomb (2010, self-released) ♥♥♥½
-electronic haze of melodic noise that consistently meshes into into a pleasant experience-
These United StatesWhat Lasts (2010, United Interests) ♥♥½
-this is another in a long line of not-nearly-folk, not-nearly-country acts that has recently made ripples on the scene; sadly I think this falls short as it lacks any kind of real punch or grit-
Sufjan StevensAll Delighted People EP (2010, Asthmatic Kitty) ♥♥♥♥
-i am betting there will forever be disagreements over which Sufjan ’10 album deserves higher acclaim; this LP gets my vote if for nothing but the choral sweetness of ‘From The Mouth Of Gabriel’ and ‘Djohariah’, the sprawling ode to single mothers and his younger sister (whose name happens to be the song’s title)-
GrouploveGrouplove EP (2010, self-released) ♥♥♥½
-very basic but undoubtedly hook-laden tunes with oohs-aahs and handclaps; the vocalist reminds me of Colin Meloy and the band themselves could pass for a less serious version of the Decemberists or even the New Pornographers; you’ll definitely be hearing this name around in the near future-
unouomedudeMarsh EP (2010, self-released) ♥♥♥
-15 minutes of lo-fi pop centered around repetition and big hair; available as a free download here
CastevetThe Echo and The Light (2010, Tiny Engines) ♥♥♥½
-Chicago collective that specializes in modern emo/post-hardcore rock with angular guitars, tense open spaces and throat shredding vocals; impressive if not common-

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