Thursday, May 20, 2010

Record Review: Night Driving In Small Towns - Serial Killer

For Flagpole:

Night Driving In Small Towns
Serial Killer

Lower 40

Nodding to every seminal and referential pop band from Headlights and Architecture in Helsinki to Mazzy Star and even Belle and Sebastian, Serial Killer, the debut LP from Atlanta group Night Driving in Small Towns, capitalizes on the mild-mannered example put forward by artists like Azure Ray and Eux Autres...[Read more]

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Record Review: Male Bonding - Nothing Hurts

For Tiny Mix Tapes:

Male Bonding
Nothing Hurts

Sub Pop

...Maybe it’s Male Bonding’s very embrace of the bands that surround them that gives them whatever unique character they have. The record’s echoing final track, “Worst to Come,” even features beautiful, sweeping backing vocals from Vivian Girls; they’ve created a family of noisy little bands that have joined together in their commitment to the best and the brightest short songs — they’re miniatures as part of a greater mural.

And Nothing Hurts doubtless paints a vivid picture, full of Technicolor, which I suppose is why I’m such a sucker for bands that sound like Male Bonding. From bright, interlocking guitar riffs, to kinetic bass, to the kind of drumming that’s almost giggle-worthy for all its slanted attempts at toughness (just listen to the intentionally silly cowbell in “TUFF”), its fuzz flurries together so happily!...[Read more]

[MP3] Male Bonding - "Franklin" (via Sub Pop)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Record Review: Phosphorescent - Here's To Taking It Easy

For Tiny Mix Tapes:

Here's To Taking It Easy

Dead Oceans

I guess it’s ironic that the first song on Here’s To Taking It Easy filled me with dread. It wasn’t that it’s not a good song — “It’s Hard To Be Humble (When You’re From Alabama)” actually packs quite a punch — it was that Matthew Houck seemed so thoroughly to have abandoned that woozy, otherworldly echo that characterized his most recent record of original material, 2007’s immaculate Pride. That album meant so much to me — the thundering cadence of “At Death, A Proclamation” seemed literally taken from my own experience (it features a field recording done of my own college marching band’s drumline) — that the idea of an artist, even one I loved so much, moving on from that compositional place was a scary one, however relaxed the album’s name might be...[Read more]

[MP3] Phosphorescent - "It's Hard To Be Humble (When You're From Alabama)" (via Dead Oceans)

Read other FOA posts about Phosphorescent here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Record Review: The Tallest Man On Earth - The Wild Hunt

Ah, he was wonderful live...

For Stomp and Stammer:

The Tallest Man On Earth
The Wild Hunt

Dead Oceans

...And that's the moment, too, when Matsson's Swedishness becomes really surprising; because in his singing about "salvation" and "white knuckles on a wheel," in his detailing of how the highway makes him think about God, he sounds so quintessentially American – or at least the kind of American dudes with guitars have always told us exists but that we've never quite seen – that it's unbelievable to learn he grew up a whole ocean away from our endless roads and rolling fields....[Read more]

[Mp3] The Tallest Man On Earth - "King Of Spain"

This has been a fascinating one for reading other writers' opinions:
Pitchfork (Stephen M. Deusner)
Tiny Mix Tapes (Gabe Vodicka)

Everyone seems to agree how great it is, though. Unexpectedly, one of my best of the year, so far!