Mini-Beats – January 2011

Four TetThere Is Love In You (2010, Domino) ♥♥♥♥
-a texturally warm and organic IDM surprise that will likely serve as Kieran’s best since 2001’s Pause
Alright Alright – You Are One Of Us Now (2010, Hive-Mind) ♥♥♥½
-a welcome combination of playful power-pop and glam; RIYL Spacehog, Dogs Die In Hot Cars
Antony & The JohnsonsSwanlights (2010, Rough Trade) ♥♥♥♥
-I’m definitely in the camp that feels this is his most impactful work yet even though it lacks the homoerotic ‘Fistful Of Love’ punch of efforts past; it was also nice to hear the loosely-strung Björk paired up for a duet-
Only ThievesHeartless Romantics (2011, self-released) ♥♥♥½
-a special blend of punk energy, classic indie rock and a touch of Midwestern saloon fighting; RIYL recent Against Me!, Delta Spirit, Bruce Springsteen
Wolf PeopleSteeple (2010, Jagjaguwar) ♥♥♥♥
-70’s-influenced psyche of the highest order, think Tame Impala minus the fuzz plus a ton of historical and geographical references; RIYL Okkervil River/Shearwater, Hobbit-core?-
AnikaAnika (2010, Stones Throw) ♥♥½
-a messy gathering of deconstructed pop, no-wave and dub; not even a Portishead member in the ranks could save this outside of the infectious, Tarantino-esque ‘Yang Yang’-
Dana FalconberryHalletts (2010, self-released) ♥♥♥
-while this ended up being a pleasant listen it failed to deliver on the promise of her undeniably special Daytrotter session from last year-
Ola PodridaOla Podrida (2007, Plug Research) ♥♥♥♥
-David Wingo’s former haunt included scoring movies and it shows in this beautifully arranged folk LP that knows when to lower the volume and when to crank the amps for effect; didn’t think he could top 2009’s Belly Of The Lion (one of my faves of ’09) but he did-
Darren Hayman & The Secondary ModernEssex Arms (2010, Fortuna Pop!) ♥♥♥½
-Darren continues his reign as one of today’s premier songwriters (with or without his main gig Hefner); Essex features an equal amount of folk anglophilia, comic-book nerd musings and straight-up rockers (like the closing ‘Nothing You Can Do About It’)-
Dawn Golden & The Rosy CrossBlow EP (2010, self-released) ♥♥♥
-it was tough shaking off any comparison to that 90’s one-off group Primitive Radio Gods; fans of the more linear, all-cards-on-the-table side of chill-wave will be all up on this; RIYL A Sunny Day In Glasgow
Kid CanaveralShouting At Wildlife (2010, self-released) ♥♥♥½
-this is an attractive collection of mid-tempo indie-pop/twee-folk tunes; lazy comparison would be Frightened Rabbit due to their inherent Scottishness but a few of the slower, dreamier tracks had me thinking Band Of Horses
TelekinesisParallel Seismic Conspiracies EP (2010, Merge) ♥♥♥♥
-I wasn’t as keen on the debut as most critics were but if this all-too-short EP of hyper, smart-pop is any sign of things to come look out; GBV fans look out for the cover of Game Of Pricks here, doesn’t stray too far from the original but fits nicely between all the originals; RIYL Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
The Brother KiteIsolation (2010, Clairecords) ♥♥½
-I’ve been a fan of the wistful poppy shoegaze found on the first couple BK albums but this time around they find themselves not only reaching for the grandiose but failing to get there-
TristenEager For Your Love EP (2010, American Myth) ♥♥♥½
-adorable songstress from Nashville who will definitely become a force to be reckoned with over the next few years if this EP is any indication; RIYL Neko Case, Lissie
Your YouthAloha EP (2010, Gigantic Music) ♥♥♥
-these Brooklynites marry hyper sloppy-punk (The Thermals) with giddy nerdyness (Weezer/Nerfherder) and achieve mostly positive results-
Matthew and The AtlasTo The North EP (2010, self-released) ♥♥♥½
-modern salt-of-the-earth Appalachia folk centered around Matthew Hegarty’s wonderfully raspy vocals; RIYL Mumford & Sons, Phosphorescent
Boy & BearWith Emperor Antarctica EP (2010, Island) ♥♥♥
-lots of oooh’s and aaah’s and harmonies hailing from down under; these guys toured with Mumford & Sons and signed to Universal so that’s probably indicative of their potential for future bigness/suckage-
Bardo PondBardo Pond (2010, Fire) ♥♥½
-it’s a mixed bag for these local pioneers of explored sound with too little of the more explosive tracks prevalent on past releases; I can see this growing on me, however…-
The Backyard CommitteeThe Backyard Committee (2010, self-released) ♥♥♥
-collective from the burgeoning New Haven, CT scene that calls upon the 90’s indie giants and adds a rustic twang; features the main dude from the now-departed superfallingstars who happened to release one of my favorite albums of ’04; available as a free download here

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