Mini-Beats – July 2010

BoasBoas (2010, self-released) ♥♥♥
-not a whole lot of information out there on the member(s) of the band but this will appeal to fans of melodic IDM, shoegaze or Mantles-inspired chillwave-
Oberhofero0Oo0Oo EP (2010, self-released) ♥♥♥♥
-not sure how official this release is but there’s enough lo-fi pop perfection on here to force it onto everyone’s year-end list; oh, and it’s free
CaribouTour CD 2010 (2010, self-released) ♥♥♥♥
-rumor had it that Dan Snaith’s tour cd’s were nothing short of super awesome; I’m a believer-
FUR / Coyote Clean UpLacksadaisical EP (2010, Waaga) ♥♥♥
-mostly chill beats not unlike Washed Out; not much difference between the two contributors-
FaustFaust is Last (2010, Klangbad) ♥♥½
-those expecting the krautrock leanings of their early career will surely be disappointed; that’s not to say this is without its artistic merit – just a bit more warped weirdness kinda like the last Scott Walker album-
The SadiesDarker Circles (2010, YepRoc) ♥♥♥
-this got a little better with each subsequent spin; there’s plenty of alt. country variety here but it won’t be ranked up there with John Doe & Co.’s best-
Mayhew The TraitorDeathwish (2008, Thinker Thought) ♥♥
-i downloaded this based on a review that claimed it to be ‘dark, Gothic Americana’ but it’s hardly any of those and mostly uninteresting-
Sam QuinnThe Fake That Sunk A Thousand Ships (2010, Ramseur) ♥♥♥
-loved Sam’s work with Jill Andrews as the Everybodyfields but while there are a few good songs here there isn’t much to latch onto even after a few listens-
A Thousand Times YesHeart Beats (2006, self-released) ♥♥♥
-slightly more aggressive than their previous album; the tag-team boy/girl interplay still exists making adding a bit of fun; RIYL The Anniversary
Wolf ParadeExpo 86 (2010, Sub Pop) ♥♥♥
-highly anticipated after hearing the first two singles but these lycanthropes may be losing their edge; creative twists and turns have been replaced with predictability-
Honey For PetziNicholson + RMX for HFP (2006, Gentlemen) ♥♥♥½
-this continues along a natural progression of their previous work; fans of noodly guitar work and melodic instrumental mathcore rejoice and thank these Swissmen; RIYL Don Caballero / Dianogah
The BooksThe Way Out (2010, Temporary Residence) ♥♥♥½
-the purveyors of the folktronica genre and warm, textured sound collages and samples have notched another winner in their catalog-
Justin RutledgeThe Early Widows (2010, Six Shooter) ♥♥½
-Americana (from Canada) that focuses on fragile balladry; couple tracks include gospel choir backing to mix things up; RIYL Tom McRae
The MantlesPink Information (2010, Mexican Summer) ♥♥
-not too much to see here if you were hoping for more of the S/T LP; sold exclusively on Record Store Day-
The MicrophonesThe Glow Pt. 2 (3LP Remaster) (2007, K) ♥♥♥♥½
-my first experience with the full LP of bonus tracks/outtakes/b-sides from this period and it does little to add to the original recording-
LinfinityMartian’s Bloom (2010, American Myth) ♥♥½
-if you treasure the thought of DeVotchKa fronted by Antony Hegarty (Antony & The Johnsons) then you might glean some honey from this comb; the bad news is this batch of tunes leaves little more than a faint impression after a few listens-
The LiminanasI’m Dead 7″ (2010, Hozac) ♥♥♥½
-excellent throwback sound that channels the Specter wall-of-sound through 60’s psyche-pop a la Os Mutantes; bring on the full-length-
GrailsBlack Tar Prophecies Vol. 4 (2010, Important) ♥♥
-a very tame (read: dull) effort for a band that usually keeps the post-rock real; hopefully not a sign of things to come…-
The AcornNo Ghost (2010, Paper Bag) ♥♥½
-if you were hoping for exploratory indie-folk sounds similar to ‘The Flood’ etc. from the excellent Glory Hope Mountain you’re going to leave this one as disappointed as I was; as harmless as it was unfulfilling-
CarrotsSo Many Failures You Call Success (2005, Grabaciones Del Mar) ♥♥♥♥
-a compilation of ‘hits’ from this seriously overlooked collective from Spain; equal parts E6 psyche-pop and power-pop and jangle-
Tame ImpalaInnerspeaker (2010, Modular) ♥♥♥♥
-fuzzy, swirling garage-psyche-pop awesomeness with big drums and Beatles-like vocals; excellent start to finish; RIYL Dungen
WavvesWavvves (2009, Fat Possum) ♥♥♥
-there are a couple of melodies within all this mess to hang onto which makes it better than the clusterfucked, but slightly interesting debut-
Monster Eiffel TowerUnder The Wake (2008, self-released) ♥♥♥½
-not as ass-shakingly immediate as the previously reviewed EP but you can feel where the inspiration came from with this debut LP-
MasonicLive Like A Millionaire (2010, self-released) ♥♥♥
-my last encounter with this female-fronted pop outfit from Texas was their debut almost 10 years ago; i felt compelled to rate this much lower but it began to ooze charm after repeated listens; RIYL Cardigans or Belly
Kurt VileGod Is Saying This To You (2009, Mexican Summer) ♥♥♥
-LP/cassette sold as a promo for Record Store Day 2010; 25 minutes of half-baked, mostly-ambient noodlings that have become part of Kurt’s signature sound it would seem-
Dave FischoffWinston Park (1998, Secretly Canadian) ♥♥
-sparse, fragile lo-fi convictions that do little to hold my attention for more than a few seconds at a time; Dave breathes every note as if something profound is about to present itself but it never surfaces-
Cloud NothingsDidn’t You 7″ (2010, Old Flame) ♥♥♥½
Dylan Baldi’s hyper, garage-pop stylings fall comfortably between Jay Reatard and Superchunk; enugh energy and ooh-ooh’s to make this guy wanna cut a rug-
The NationalHigh Violet (2010, 4AD) ♥♥♥½
-another effort rich with subtle melodies and brooding subject matter that channels the best traits of TV On The Radio and the recent Snowden EP-
Whiskey TrenchThe Good Sun (2007, Dead Broke Rekerds) ♥♥♥
-call-and-response melodic punk in the vein of Hot Water Music;available as a free download here
Cloud CultLight Chasers (2010, Earthology) ♥♥♥
-these Earth-friendly Minnesotans have logged another thematic entry into their catalog but there’s much less to grab onto than, say, the previous 2-3 releases-
MenomenaMines (2010, Barsuk) ♥♥♥½
Mines really succeeds when the songs take epic turns (see ‘Dirty Cartoons’ or ‘Sleeping Beauty’) that draw more from the last Ramona Falls LP than anything previous in their catalog since I Am The Fun Blame Monster
Jookabox / Kid Primitive Family – Split EP (2010, Joyful Noise) ♥♥
-some may remember Justin Prim aka Kid Primitive Family from his old haunt, Castle Oldchair – now he mixes Anticon flows/beats with Tuvinian throat singing and mystical backdrops; i found both artists to be annoying moreso than anything-
Com TruiseCyanide Sisters (2010, AMDiscs) ♥♥
-the most troublesome aspect of the new chill-wave movement is that for as much there is to cheer about there’s an equal amount of scraps/half-baked ideas/meandering that elicits no more than a passing glance before escaping into the virtual recycling bin-
Male BondingNothing Hurts (2010, Sub Pop) ♥♥♥½
-fuzzy, garage punk that remains relentless in attack for the full 29 minutes; it’ll take a few listens for the hooks to sink in-
LCD SoundsystemThis Is Happening (2010, DFA) ♥♥♥♥
-I’ve never bothered to sit through an entire LCD album before but this one’s a keeper with ass-shakin’ beats, scathing industry diatribes (‘Hit’) and Bowie-worship (‘Dance Yrself Clean’); shame on me for only listening to the ‘hits’-
WavvesKing Of The Beach (2010, Fat Possum) ♥♥♥
-i can understand all the backlash because now you can actually hear all the songs without having to sift through reverb, fuzz and tape hiss but Blink 182 this is not, kids-
De JaneirosPlateados (2010, Michita Rex) ♥♥½
-aside from the moving opener ‘Montreal’ there aren’t many interesting moments from this Chilean electronic outfit’s debut-
Jill EdwardsJill Edwards EP (2010, Dualtone) ♥♥♥½
-Jill wins the battle of the post-Everybodyfields solo debuts (pitted against Sam Quinn’s latest of course); her voice would compliment Ryan Adams well – I demand duets!-
Alexander StrungWe Could Still Make It (2010, Tinhorn Planet) ♥♥♥
-this spans almost the entire spectrum of pop but fails to excel in any one area; available as a free download here
Mates Of StateCrushes (2010, self-released) ♥♥½
-fans (like myself) should enter with low expectations so as not to be disappointed; as with all covers albums you have some winners and some losers but the duo’s butchering of one of my favorite Tom Waits tracks may prove unforgiveable-
Toy SoldiersWhisper Down The Lane (2010, Mad Dragon) ♥♥♥
-local Philly group dedicated to a mix of blues, Americana and oddly, showtunes it would seem; a few of these tracks would slide easily onto either Grease soundtrack!-
Matt DuncanBeacon EP (2010, Hop Hop) ♥♥♥♥
-holy crap good indie-pop that culls the smooth sounds of soul with power-pop, handclaps, tambourines and awesome; RIYL Jens Lekman, Mayer Hawthorne
Crystal CastlesCrystal Castles II (2010, Universal Motown) ♥♥♥½
-syrupy, pulsating beats that this guy typically has no business enjoying…but he does; there’s an appealing element of dreamy/hazy atmosphere to this not unlike the last A Sunny Day In Glasgow LP; this rating will most likely go up with time-
FarAt Night We Live (2010, Vagrant)
-this is awesome if you love top 40 ‘rock’ drenched with insipid lyrics; shame on you, Jonah….and Vagrant
Joanna NewsomHave One On Me (2010, Drag City) ♥♥♥
-her vocals have tapered off into accessible territory which is fine by me but this beast of an album, although totally listenable and enjoyable, is far too much a commitment to listen to more than once-
Nick JainaA Bird In The Opera House (2010, Hush) ♥♥♥
-Nick has always been a great lyricist dating back to his days as Binary Dolls; there are a few great songs here but an equal amount of duds-
Blackbrd BlackbirdHappy High EP (2010, Arcade Sounds Ltd.) ♥♥♥
-its chillwave so if yer into it you’ll find this pleasing…the original version without the Modest Mouse cover is available as a free download here
Ghost AnimalIn Your Room EP (2010, AMDiscs) ♥♥♥
-fuzzy, sun-drenched songs about summer times and California; available as a free download here
MeursaultAll The Creatures Will Make Merry (2010, Song, By Toad) ♥♥♥♥½
-I feel like I’ve heard all of these songs somewhere before and it brings me much peace; easily in the top 3 for the year-
God Is An AstronautAge Of The Fifth Sun (2010, Viva Hate) ♥♥½
-very predictable in approach and execution which does not bode well for any member of the post-rock genre-
BeastBeast (2008, Vega) ♥♥½
-French-Canadian trip-hop that really wasn’t my thing aside from the gospel-tinged, foot-stompin’ ‘Satan’-
Uncle SkeletonWarm Under The Covers (2010, Yewknee) ♥♥♥
-a collage of sounds that may take a little while to sink in; not as arresting as last year’s debut but worth a few listens; available as a free download here-

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