Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The 1900s: Medium High EP (Parasol)
release: January 20, 2009
style: indie pop
[rating: ***1/2] This 7-track collection of previous, mostly early unreleased songs from the Chicago group can be sorted next to Belle and Sebastian, not only for a close resemblance of vocals but also for an underlying somberness. The psych indie pop has touches of 1970s soft pop in "When I Say Cohen", "Making Love in Summertime" and more. A timeless afternoon delight. The album cover is sorta bad though. -Kenyon

: Throwing Sparks (Clairecords)
release: November 11, 2008
style: dream pop
[rating: **1/2] Life is too short to be spending 2.5 years on a record. My Bloody Valentine is the exception, of course. Work on the debut eight-song record by Florida-based Averkiou caused hundreds of re-takes and a member threatening "to smash his guitar into the wall." So dramatic. Life is too short for perfectionism. Averkiou's multi-layer vocals and waves of dense guitar crash somewhere between early MBV and M83. The only problem is the lack of a catchy melody to push Throwing Sparks beyond average shoegaze/dream pop. -Kenyon

The Secret History: Desolation Town EP (Le Grand Magistery)
release: November 11, 2008
style: indie rock
[rating: ***] Featuring ex-members of indie pop band My Favorite as well as daughter of David Bowie guitarist Mick Ronson, Secret History is deep in tragic literary poetry. Like the latter day My Fav EPs, i'm sure there is a theme on Desolation Town relating to historical figures, though there are also some religious references. Secret History is musically rootsier than My Fav, though still maintains the urgent pop, like in the Stars-esque "The Ballad of Haunted Hearts." -Kenyon

Lowfish: frozen&broken
(Noise Factory)
release: October 14, 2008
style: minimal electro
similar: Kraftwerk, Luke Slater, Solvent
[rating: ***1/2]
Producer Gregory De Rocher is Lowfish, which proves there is still life to be given to minimal electro. De Rocher's brand of electronics is done with analaog synths and IDM blips. There are no vocals, not even use of vocoder for this guy who has toured with Adult. There are some steady tempos on frozen&broken, though it's more for the headphones than the dancefloor. -Kenyon

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