Mini-Beats – May 2010

Maps & AtlasesYou And Me And The Mountain EP (2008, Sargent House) ♥♥♥
-i’ve got issues with these vocals but clearly the musicianship is whats on display here; on a side-note, they pounded live-
Maps & AtlasesTrees, Swallows, Houses EP (2007, self-released) ♥♥♥
-Chicago-based outfit that wears the city’s past on its sleeve proudly with all their noodly guitar work and serious-business time signatures; considerably more mathematical than their most recent EP-
CaribouSwim (2010, Merge) ♥♥♥½
-there’s no stopping the train Dan Snaith has been on since changing his name-
Twin SisterColor Your Life (2010, self-released) ♥♥♥
-these guys blew up in the span of a few weeks on the internets; this contains the excellent All Around And Away We Go track-
Josiah WolfJet Lag (2010, Anticon) ♥♥
-current member of Why? and brother to Yoni puts together a collection of unremarkable airy, collage-pop-
State BirdHoly Spirits EP (2010, The Record Machine) ♥♥♥
-SB continue to tackle advanced real-life problems but wrap it up in a pretty indie-pop sheen-
Avi BuffaloAvi Buffalo (2010, Sub Pop) ♥♥♥
-so the story goes – a group of wily, sex-crazed teenagers melt their Built To Spill and Shins records into a puddle and fling it onto a canvas and call it their own-
Communist DaughterSoundtrack To The End (2010, Grain Belt) ♥♥♥
-can’t ignore a band that lifts its name from a Neutral Milk Hotel song; you can expect mellow indie-pop that draws from the same tempos and structure as Matt Pond PA
I Need Sleep – Fun Tunnel EP (2010, self-released) ♥♥
-aside from the title track and the 72 seconds of BOOMPCHUG! you aren’t missing much here; available as afree download here
Trouble Books – Gathered Tones (2010, Own) ♥♥½
-if you’re at all familiar with TB you’ll instantly recognize their signature warm glow of electronics and sparse, airy vocals; this batch seemed a little incomplete compared to earlier works-
Yukon BlondeYukon Blonde (2010, Bumstead Recording Company) ♥♥♥½
-10 tracks of that modern ‘power-folk’ sound – I feel like i’ve heard all of these songs before….; RIYL The Love Language, Local Natives
Nathaniel RateliffIn Memory of Loss (2010, Rounder) ♥♥♥½
-Nathaniel distanced himself from his former gig, The Wheel, and put together a solid batch of cigarette-stained, ghost town lullabies; RIYL Tom McRae, Ray Lamontagne, Richard Buckner
WintersleepNew Inheritors (2010, Independent) ♥♥♥
-the guys are getting a little too soft around the edges on a few of these songs; plenty of hooks and Paul Murhpy’s instantly recognizable vocal delivery make this worthy of a few listens regardless-
65daysofstaticWe Were Exploding Anyway (2010, Hassle) ♥♥
-a fine example of a band changing up its sound when nothing was wrong to begin with…and failing miserably-
The DrumsBest Friend EP (2010, Moshi Moshi) ♥♥½
-Best Friend is an ace track off the new album but the other 2 offerings here are slower, less effective numbers-
Frog EyesPaul’s Tomb: A Triumph (2010, Dead Oceans) ♥♥½
-i’ve never been able to ‘get’ James Mercer’s music and this didn’t do much to change that-
Jamie LidellCompass (2010, Warp) ♥♥♥
-Jamie’s often described as ‘blue-eyed soul’ though there’s much more than that going on here; this one’s a grower-
The Kingsbury ManxLet You Down (2001, Overcoat) ♥♥♥½
-the Manx have failed to let me down as I work back through their catalog chocful of breezy, spacious folk-
Chew LipsUnicorn (2010, Family) ♥♥♥
-synth-heavy dance-pop that ain’t gonna hurt nobody; Eight and Slick would have made a fantastic single but as it stands this is merely ‘ok’-
So CowSo Cow (2009, Tic Tac Totally) ♥♥♥
-a compilation of manic twee-pop blips of energy from Ireland; RIYL Boyracer / Tullycraft / Hussalonia
SnowglobeLittle More Lived In (2010, Makeshift) ♥♥♥
-a far cry from their indie-pop masterpiece debut but still a improvement from the Me & You debacle-
My EducationSunrise (2010, Strange Attractors) ♥♥♥½
-a chillier, more haunting ride than what I remember of their earlier releases; a few tracks here invoked flashbacks of Dirty Three’s Horse Stories
Dum Dum GirlsI Will Be (2010, Sub Pop) ♥♥♥½
-exciting mid-tempo noise pop; if the sound of The Breeders filtered through Phil Spector’s eyes appeals to you…-
Drink Up ButtercupBorn And Thrown On A Hook (2010, YepRoc) ♥♥♥½
-eclectic pop to say the least; these local Philly rats reminded me of the vaudevillian side of The Beatles with a few tracks resembling that oft-loved modern-day chillwave sound; betters with each listen-
Light PollutionApparitions (2010, Carpark) ♥♥♥
-lite psyche dreampop in the same vein as the latest Beach House release but it tends to dissolve into background music at times-
KeepawayBaby Style EP (2010, self-released) ♥♥♥½
-ya know, its like wood nymphs dancing about a forest and singing and shit-
SnowdenSlow Soft Syrup EP (2010, Jade Tree) ♥♥♥♥
-fans preferring their spacious, dreamy debut EP over the angular and meaty Anti Anti will be pleased with this stopgap EP; i totally wasn’t expecting something this mellow and subdued but I’m all over it-
Trans AmThing (2010, Thrill Jockey) ♥♥♥
-you already know what you’re in for here – electronic pulses of noise, guitar wankery, vocoder-
Sarah JaffeSuburban Nature (2010, Kirtland) ♥♥♥♥
-likely one of the most impressive new female vocalists I’ve heard in quite some time; this stretches from soulful pop (Neko Case) to lo-fi musings (Cat Power meets NMH?) – very nice!-
Damien JuradoSaint Bartlett (2010, Secretly Canadian) ♥♥½
-this album sees Damien working with Richard Swift for the first time but it still ends up being one of his more pedestrian efforts for sure-
William FitzsimmonsDerivatives (2010, Mercer Street) ♥♥½
-Sufjan called, he’d like his pants….and banjo returned to him post-haste-
WeakerthansLive At The Burton Cummings Theatre (2010, Epitaph) ♥♥♥½
-most of your favorites are played here; i just wished there was a little more vigor and playfulness behind these songs…seemed a little bland-
Secret CitiesPink Graffiti (2010, Western Vinyl) ♥♥♥½
-dream-pop with swirling ambience and androgynous vocals; probably one of my favorite releases from North Dakota….ever-
Sharon Jones & The Dap KingsI Learned The Hard Way (2010, Daptone) ♥♥♥
-bookended by a rugcuttin’ boogie and a soulful ballad but little else impressed on this release-
Broken Social SceneForgiveness Rock Record (2010, Arts & Crafts) ♥♥♥♥
-around every corner there’s an undeniably exquisite hook that you didn’t find on their S/T; sure to contend for album of the year-
MGMTOracular Spectacular (2008, Columbia) ♥♥♥♥
-this rating is based on the sole strength of the way above-average singles (Kids, Electric Feel, Time To Pretend); it doesn’t come without its fair share of filler, however-
Dr. DogShame, Shame (2010, Anti) ♥♥♥
-it seems these guys are comfortable with a more polished sound that will gain them new fans; couldn’t happen to a better bunch of lads-
The New PornographersTogether (2010, Matador) ♥♥♥½
-I wasn’t ever really a huge fan of the Pornos like I was its predecessor (Zumpano) but this album grew on me into the third listen…so give it some time-
Here We Go MagicPigeons (2010, Secretly Canadian) ♥♥♥
-‘Collector‘ raised my expectations for this album to an incredible, nearly unachievable level-
Gogol BordelloTrans-Continental Hustle (2010, American) ♥♥
-Eugene’s heart is always in the right place but this album suffers from really poor production, the vocals are mixed terribly and a few of these tracks come off unusually lifeless….; hopefully this isn’t ‘the end’-
OOIOOGold and Green (2000, Polystar) ♥♥♥½
-Japanese found-sound noise-niks create diverse collage of melodic avant-garde weirdness; thx RYM-
The DearsEnd Of A Hollywood Bedtime Story (2000, self-released) ♥♥½
-trusted sources continue to tell me I need to love these Canadian indie staples but it always ends up getting lost on me-
MountainhoodYear Of The Mountain (2008, Reverb Worship) ♥♥½
-fragile, fractured folk songs; RIYL the idea of Jeremy Enigk recorded on a boombox-

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *