Mini-Beats – November 2009

The Rural Alberta AdvantageHometowns (2009, Saddle Creek) ♥♥♥♥
-outstanding storytelling folk-core; guys sounds A LOT like Jeff Mangum as does the music at times; imagine a less pompous, less annoying Decemberists/Colin Meloy (sorry, fans)-
Le LoupFamily (2009) ♥♥♥♥
-a natural progression from their debut; banjo-centric folk not unlike Akron/Family, add a dash of bro-fi-
Noah and The WhaleFirst Days Of Spring (2009,) ♥♥♥½
-tales of woe and heartbreak presented like he’s an Oldham-
The Other PlanetsHoliday for Vacationers! (2008, Attention Spaniel) ♥♥
-eclectic, skronky weirdo jams; RIYL Ween, King Missile (without the fun….)-
Bombazine BlackHere Their Dreams (2008, Youthful Chaos) ♥♥♥
-slowcore with a bunch of crispy clean guitar sounds; worth a listen or two-
Goonies Never Say DieIn A Forest Without Trees (2009, Deep Elm) ♥♥½
-instrumental post-rock that reminded me a little of Tristeza or Appleseed Cast; strong focus on the piano-
PolvoIn Prism (2009, Merge) ♥♥½
-8 tracks of early 90’s-inspired indie rock; i understand their importance to the math rock movement years ago but this is almost a cherry-red wine stain on Merge’s good name-
PhishJoy (2009, Jemp) ♥♥
-yep, the very same Phish we’ve all either come to love or hate; sadly not even a song about a drugged-up ocelot could bump this up into ‘worth a listen’…-
Birds & BatteriesNature Vs. Nature (2008, self-released) ♥♥♥
-a little bit of indietronica, a little bit of pedal steel; RIYL Aqueduct-
SlaraffenlandWe’re On Your Side (2009, Hometapes) ♥♥
-hookless mope-rock from Denmark; not their best work-
6 Day RiotHave A Plan (2009, Tantrum) ♥♥♥½
-female-fronted pop that sometimes has a Vampire Weekend-slash-vaudevillian feel to it; vocals remind me a lot of Tanya Donnelly; this one surprised me a little-
Oh My GodThe Night Undoes The Work Of The Day (2009, Split Red) ♥♥½
-these guys still deploy that signature crunchy organ sound but things have become a little too glossy around these edges to stand out: RIYL The Argument-
Brown Recluse (Sings)Soft Skin EP (2008, Tequila Sunrise) ♥♥♥
-smooth, classy indie-pop leaning towards the Belle and Sebastian side of the genre; local Philly act-
RusticaliaRusticalia (2008, self-released) ♥½
-Jesse Osmun’s heart is in the right place but his brand of backporch folk is seriously marred by his less-than-pleasing vocals-
The Adventures Of LokiThe Adventures Of Loki (2009, Maitre-D) ♥♥♥½
-rowdy angular indie rock with healthy doses of punk energy and hooks to boot-
Ghost BuffaloThe Magician (200,) ♥♥
-darker pop-punk; vocalist reminds me of Elizabeth Elmore of Sarge; features members of Planes Mistaken For Stars-
New BrutalismActual Record (2009, Rejuvenation) ♥♥♥½
-more of that bad-ass down-tuned aluminum guitar sound; these guys are the Rage Against The Machine of the indie world…without all the self-righteous De La Rochan fist-pumping-
The DrumsSummertime! EP (2009, Twentyseven) ♥♥♥♥
-6 short, simple blasts of summertime fun; even the toughest of hearts will want to cut a rug-
First Aid KitForgot Id EP (2004, self-released) ♥♥♥½
-angular hardcore emo noises not unlike At The Drive In and early Thursday; definitely not the Swedish folk duo of the same name….-
Mount VernonWe Can Look Up (1998, self-released)
-terrible hippie-wank project from members of Deyarmond Edison and Justin from Bon Iver; i’m trying to forget this ever existed…-
The BeatingsLate Season Kids (2009, Midriff) ♥♥½
-they’ve maintained the sense of urgency and guitar chops a la Built To Spill that appeared on earlier releases but this release suffers due to a lack of memorable songs-
The ShiversIn The Morning (2009, State Capital) ♥♥♥½
-rating based on the strength of the two excellent opening tracks alone; I prefer the Velvets-inspired side of these guys with Keith handling the vocals-
The Reigning SoundLove and Curses (2009, In The Red) ♥♥♥
-garage rock revivalists who channel the naught-forgotten spirit of the Stones; you can always expect a good-to-great release from Greg Cartwright and the gang-
The Sour NotesReceived In Bitterness EP (2009, self-released) ♥♥♥
-dreamy pop-rock with bunches of melody; next effort should put a little more emphasis on the songwriting and lyrics; i got an odd Fountains Of Wayne vibe on a few of these songs….-
Justin VernonSelf Record (2005, self-released) ♥♥½
-mostly straight-forward folk album with the occasional gothic Americana twist; at 80 minutes this one is a little bit overbearing-
The Very BestWarm Heart Of Africa (2009, Green Owl) ♥♥♥
-Afrikaan-influenced effort that will lazily draw comparisons to Vampire Weekend but this is far more organic, electronic and danceable…but not as impactful-
Murder MysteryAre You Ready For The Heartache Cause Here It Comes (2007, self-released) ♥♥
-this treads dangerously close to bar-band status…-
The Mountain MoversWe Walked In Hell And There Is Life After Death (2006, Safety Meeting) ♥♥
-had high hopes for both Mountain Movers discs based off of their artwork and a few short e-blurbs but this ended up being hookless psyche-pop-
The Big PinkA Brief History of Love (2009, 4AD) ♥♥♥½
-another British indie-electro-pop band splashing water here in the US with a barrage of mostly awesome singles-
Hallelujah The HillsColonial Drones (2009, Misra) ♥♥♥
-sophomore effort is a bit moodier and more psyche-influenced than the S/T debut; got better after second listen so consider this one a grower-
DrummerFeel Good Together (2009, Audio Eagle) ♥♥♥½
-a few drummers get together and create an album…and it’s good…imagine that…-
Molina & JohnsonMolina & Johnson (2009, Secretly Canadian) ♥♥♥½
-a match made in heaven makes for a rather dark, brooding brew-
Auld Lang SyneMidnight Folly (2009, Viper Bite) ♥♥♥
-a difficult release to pigeonhole; little bit slowcore, little bit hippie jamming, little bit o’ beard-core-
Burbank CartelWithout Translation (2008, Former Airline) ♥♥♥½
-melodic indie rock that’s rough around the edges at just the right moments; a noticeable improvement from their debut; RIYL Wrens-
Alela DianeAlela & Alina EP (2009, Rough Trade) ♥♥♥
-another decent effort from the new Native American indie goddess; the contribution from Alina Hardin is hardly noticed-
Bear In HeavenBeast Rest Forth Mouth (2009, self-released) ♥♥♥
-blippy dreampop/nugaze sounds that emitted a slight disco vibe on more than one occasion-
Times New VikingBorn Again Revisited (2009, Matador) ♥♥
-lo-fi garage-rock that calls upon the ethics of GBV; however, I just can’t get into these guys for some reason; found this to be slightly better than their last but not much so-
Trappers CabinBlue Sky, Black Bear (2006, self-released) ♥♥½
-plays out like a Cloud Cult album…only more rootsy and countrified and less polished-
House and ParishOne, One-Thousand EP (2007, Arena Rock) ♥♥♥
-features ex-members of Promise Ring and Texas Is The Reason; capable indie-rock that attempts to cross genres but comes up just a bit short-
Halloween AlaskaChampagne Downtown (2009, ESD) ♥♥♥
-imagine Paul Gonzenbach from Jim Yoshii Pile-Up fronting the last few Death Cab albums-
ChetChelsea Silver, Please Come Home (2009, Absolutely Kosher) ♥♥♥½
-skewed folk that borders on the glorious at times; need to burrow back through their catalog-
Brimstone Solar Radiation BandSmorgasbord (2009, Karisma) ♥♥½
-i keep giving every new record a listen but i need to come to terms with the fact that there will only ever be 1-2 good songs on any of their albums-
Mayer HawthorneA Strange Arrangement (2009, Stone Throw) ♥♥♥♥
-very solid mining of 60’s Motown and soul; a notch better than Jamie Lidell & co.-
Norfolk & WesternDinero Severo (2009, self-released) ♥♥½
-nothing all too engaging coming out of this camp anymore-
Kurt VileChildish Prodigy (2009, Matador) ♥♥♥
-heard lots of good things about this album; i assume its a grower; RIYL lo-fi garage-lite anthems-
Yea Big & Kid StaticThe Future’s Looking Grim (2009, JiB Door) ♥♥½
-nerd-core with a more rugged approach than the MC Lars & Chris’ of the world-
Built To SpillThere Is No Enemy (2009, Warner) ♥♥
-dull and uninspired ‘indie’ rock; these guys need to rethink their strategy-
Early Day MinersTreatment (2009, Secretly Canadian) ♥♥
-EDM have gotten progressively less interesting with each passing release-
Tenebrous LiarLast Stand (2008, TV) ♥♥♥
-brooding Americana (bordering on the cosmic variety) with more emphasis on doom and misery than twang; RIYL Shellac (without the big drums)-
Sonny & The SunsetsTomorrow Is Alright (2009, Soft Abuse) ♥♥♥
-wanted to like this more than I did based off the few opening tracks but the album kinda fizzled away-
Taxi TaxiStill Standing At Your Door (2009, Fierce Panda) ♥♥♥
-Swedish twins performing mellow indie-folk; more on the gloomy side of the fence-
Swimming In SpeakersSwimming In Speakers EP (2009, self-released) ♥♥♥½
-very impressive debut EP; female-fronted electro-indie with a ton of melody-
Tallest TreesTallest Trees (2009, self-released) ♥♥♥♥
-not sure if this is an official release but it is at least a collection 0f 8 awesome happy psyche-pop tunes with a smallish bro-fi element-
Over The WallThe Rise And Fall Of Over The Wall (2009, Motive Sounds) ♥♥♥½
-a quick, 4-song, hook-laden EP from these psyche-pop lovin’ Brits-
Tom MalmquistSmoke and Dial (Art By Accident) (2009, Amigo) ♥♥
-folk type thing that bordered on AOR more times than not-

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