New Music Round-Up :: Week of 2/10/14

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Acoustic at the Ryman :: Band of Horses

Three-Sentence Review:  A band I have been longing to see live now gifts us this album of an amazing, acoustic set of songs. I am floored, and head-over-ears in love with this album. Best part? It includes every one of my favorite tracks, as if I got to pick a set list for  the show (now I just need to actually see them live).

Initial Favorite Track(s):  The Funeral, Detlef Schrempf, No One’s Gonna Love You and Marry Song

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

Detlef Schrempf (live)

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Animal Heart :: Nina Persson

Three-Sentence Review:  There is a seventies sensibility to this album, borrowed perhaps from Fleetwood Mac, and at times Abba, mixed in with the unmistakable memory of the 90’s sound of The Cardigans, Nina’s original band. At times I found the album a bit too polished, and was hoping for a slice of the more moodiness of her work on A-Camp, the side project she did with husband, Niclas Frisk, though at other times the pop stylings are catchy and infectious. There are some stand out tracks, but as a whole the album does not stand out to me.

Initial Favorite Track(s):  Clip Your Wings and Silver

Rating (1-5 Stars): 2.5

Clip Your Wings

Crosses-560x560Self-Titled :: Crosses

Three-Sentence Review: A collaboration between Deftones’ In Deftones Chino Moreno, Shaun Lopez of Far and Chuck Doom create a collection of songs that at times plays like a shoegaze take on Nine Inch Nails’ Pretty Hate Machine, at other times I feel like Muse has come in and given some two cents worth of influence, and then there is this other undercurrent of 80’s synth, Goth/Deathrock a’la late 80’s/early 90’s, and something definitely more “indie” current. I like this a lot more than I expected going in to the listen, which is always a cool listening experience. I am digging the dark electronic feel to it all.

Initial Favorite Track(s):Telepathy, Bik Stallion and Death Bell

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

Telepathy

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Sun Structures :: Temples

Three-Sentence Review: Psychedelic mid-sixties sound reborn and resurrected from the album in all the best ways. Melody structures of bands like The Beatles melded with experimental style the likes of The Flaming Lips and Modest Mouse, and in there, under the surface of some of the songs is a little Marc  Bolan-esque Glam Rock. At times while listening to this album I forget that it is a current release and not something I re-discovered in a vinyl bin at a used record store. This is a stunner of a listen, I am really taken by the overall sound.

Initial Favorite Track(s): Shelter Song, Keep In the Dark and Test of Time

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

Keep In the Dark

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Young At Heart :: Blondfire

Three-Sentence Review: Los Angeles brother and sister duo, Erica and Bruce Driscoll, deliver a Southern California Summer sunny feel of an album, and in some ways this album may need to sit on the shelf and fly back around come Summertime to truly make the impact it is meaning to make. Infectious at times, a bit too indie-pop at other times, there are some stand-out songs here, and some that are too airy to stick and stay. I think this album may grow on me though (maybe by Summertime?).

Initial Favorite Track(s): Hide and Seek, Waves and The Only Ones

Rating (1-5 Stars): 3

Waves

Cheatahs-560x560Self-Titled :: Cheatahs

Three-Sentence Review: Dinosaur Jr.’s bastard stepchildren is the first words to come to mind while listening to Cheatah’s self-titled album. At times, I am actually wondering if this is a Dinosaur Jr. album, until, of course, the vocals come in and I find myself missing J. Mascis’ voice. This is 90’s indie rock sounding most of the time, with brief respites of shoegaze thrown in – a band that I can just imagine playing in one of the humidity rich tents at Coachella.

Initial Favorite Track(s): The Swan, IV and Fall

Rating (1-5 Stars): 3.5

The Swan

Fanfarlo-Lets-Go-Extinct-560x560Let’s Go Extinct :: Fanfarlo

Three-Sentence Review: This is a happy-feeling kind of album, with vocals that remind me a lot of Belle and Sebastian and The Shout Out Louds. The album plays in that indie-folk arena where Fanfarlo has found space in, and it works for them, and for this album. Some New Wave albums and bands (see: Talking Heads, The English Beat, The Blow Monkeys) seem to have helped inspire this album, as well, which adds another layer to their sound that is pleasing, without making the songs overly-complex.

Initial Favorite Track(s): Life in the Sky, A Distance and Let’s Go Extinct

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

A Distance

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Benji :: Sun Kil Moon

Three-Sentence Review: I am such a sucker for a singer-songwriter, and Mark Kozelek has always been one of my favorites since his work as Red House Painters. His stories on this album are heart-shatterering, but so raw and human that I cannot help but be taken by them. I find myself wanting to write stories about these songs, the characters within them, taking them farther along.

Initial Favorite Track(s): Carisa, Micheline and I Can’t Live Without My Mother’s Love

Rating (1-5 Stars): 3.5

I Can’t Live Without My Mother’s Love