Mini-Beats – September 2011 – Edition 50



The Submarines
Love Notes/Letter Bombs (2011, Nettwerk) ♥♥½
:I’ll admit that there are hooks and choruses galore here but the ultra-glossy production saps all the charm out of these Apple-commercial-ready pop songs; you had a sense they were moving in this direction after ’08’s mildly successful Honeysuckle Weeks: (buy vinyl)
Spirit SpineGlossolalia (2011, self-released) ♥♥♥
:chill, reverb-soaked psychedelia definitely inspired by Kraut legends and Panda Bear alike but it only works well if your mood allows this to soak in, otherwise it might sound a little same-y if you’re paying too much attention…I do dig the complete package of ‘Ocean Of Sand’ though:
COOLRUNNINGSDracula Is Only The Beginning (2011, Dracula Horse) ♥♥♥½
:insidiously catchy even though this strays more on the experimental side of pop with its wiry, post-punk underbelly; dig the inclusion of Burnout from the Buffalo EP as well as the strangely mellow Fort Kid; a nice followup to their self-released freEP’s of the past few years…you can also grab this on a donation basis here:
AstronautalisThis Is Our Science (2011, Fake Four, Inc.) ♥♥♥½
:Andy Bothwell’s finally taken the disparate styles he’s touched upon over the course of his catalog and rolled them up into one complete package but I’m not convinced there isn’t TOO much going on; Andy’s beats are still a warm splash of water on a just-shaven face and there are a few signature Astronautalis cuts that will keep me coming back to this and future releases: (buy vinyl)
Kelli SchaeferGhost Of The Beast (2011, Amigo/Amiga) ♥♥♥♥
:Kelli gives the world her best Polly Jean Harvey imitation and mostly succeeds; a few numbers wander off course here but tracks 5-8 are about as good as any EP’s I’ve heard all year, displaying Kelli’s impressive vocal range, that of honey (Gone In Love) to vermouth (Sister K); press release throws out ambiguous but simple descriptors like ‘rock’, ‘pop’, ‘soul’ etc. and I guess that makes sense as Ghost should appeal to anyone interested in quality songwriting in general; RIYL Kristin Hersh, PJ Harvey: (buy vinyl)
Sea OleenaSleeplessness (2011, self-released) ♥♥♥
:charming, sleepy-eyed folk delicately sung and arranged by Canada’s Charlotte Oleena (oh, I see what you did there!); the sparse arrangements help keep her breathy voice in the forefront and that’s a magic carpet I hope she continues to glide on with her new gig, Holobody; available as a name-your-price download here:
VA – Sing For Your Meat: A Tribute To Guided By Voices (2011, No More Fake Labels) ♥♥♥½
:a very capable and entertaining tribute, buoyed mostly by the fact I love each and every one of these songs as if they were my own…especially enjoyed the Lou Barlow, La Sera and Jason Isbell versions:
I Hate You Just KiddingDays Grew Longer (2011, self-released) ♥♥♥
:I’m sure the name Jeremy and Jessi decided to choose for their mellow dream-folk-pop project will yield more than a fair share of snarky commentary (in jest, of course) but the music itself is worthy of a few spins regardless of the lack of variety; RIYL Snowblink:
Wooden ShjipsWest (2011, Thrill Jockey) ♥♥♥½
:my first foray into WS is a positive one; dig the squalling, psychedelic garage guitar sounds (+ Farfisa!) and overall trippy feel; ‘Lazy Bones’ sounds like a runaway train about to fly off the tracks and the closing track ‘Rising’ was actually recorded backwards but it sounds great!; need to investigate more of their storied catalog as well as Ripley’s other project, Moon Duo; RIYL Tame Impala, War On Drugs, the noisier side of Yo La Tengo: (buy vinyl)
Gold-BearsAre You Falling In Love? (2011, Slumberland) ♥♥♥♥
:these guys mix elements of all things good like bristling C-86 pop, subtle twee melodicism, a GBV-like penchant for brief, yet potent hooks and a slight coating of shoegaze; found out there’s a few members from Plastic Mastery in GB which might explain why I loved this so much! Slumberland is str8 up knocking it out of the park this year! RIYL The Wedding Present, Boyracer: (buy vinyl)
Will JohnsonLittle Raider EP (2011, self-released) ♥♥♥½
:always a treat when Will steps out from (the confines?) of his main gig Centro-matic to serenade us with just his golden pipes, a guitar and a sizeable serving of melancholy sadness:
William Elliott WhitmoreField Songs (2011, Anti) ♥♥♥
:this is classic Whitmore and, although each track is indecipherable from the next, it’s hard to find fault with his bare-bones, banjo-driven blues-folk for the proletariat; all of his albums would make for perfect company on a long road trip through the countryside: (buy vinyl)

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