Low have been around for 20 years now, and something that has made them so lasting is the way they embrace and then emulate their producers. Having worked with Kramer, Steve Fisk, Steve Albini, Dave Fridmann and Matt Beckley theyve been across the board. On The Invisible Way the band joins with Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, and they morph their sound into a lush rendition of the edged folk tracks Tweedy is renowned for. Every instrument is gentle, and the pace seams to gain momentum across the 11 tracks. Alan Spearhawk and Mimi Parker split the vocals more evenly than on most Low releases. The Invisible Way is another bend in Lows winding career.
After their first album, Water Liars were receiving tons of comparisons to heart-wrenched folk rock acts such as Grizzly Bear and Fleet Foxes. On Wyoming Water Liars are refreshingly unique in their gritty and rowdy delivery. They dont fear getting loud, they maintain the mellow touch, and thrive in rebounding between the two. Wyoming is gorgeous most the time and always refreshingly emotive.
RIYL: Grizzly Bear, Dawes, Alpenglow
For Extended Plays Cheatahs make music that sounds like it was made in the heyday of 90?s alt rock, but with a increasingly common shoegaze influence. The lyrics dwell on some cliches of runaway love and the rhythms are best suited to be blasting over the sound system of a convertible on the Pacific Coast Highway. The songs get pretty monotonous, without any big switches in structure or mix across the album. If I had a tan and a corvette Id probably dig Extended Plays.
RIYL: Stillwater Giants, Yuck, Bruce Springsteen
Art-pop dance music that is a clever mix of organic and electronic euphoria. Hands is filled with syncopated handclaps, sing-along vocals, and upbeat horns. Refreshingly unique, these guys are at their best when they pick up the tempo and dont hold off. They get Colin Stetson to do some sax wailing, and the band members themselves are from a impressive array of projects (TV on the Radio, Antibalas, Phenomenal Handclap Band).
Folk-rock anthems all based on the idea that the world needs a whole lot more lovin. Cloud Cult have been around since 1995 making music in an environmentally friendly way. They have become known for their live shows that include a painter, sculptor or other live creation. The sound is very lush, a result of having a ton of members, who join into choral refrains, and play a variety of rock and orchestral instruments. The lyrics are meaningful and uplifting, and the instrumentals are solid enough to suport the heavy words.
RIYL: Menomena, Edward Sharpe
Dawn of Delight is the second full release from the San Diego group Tropical Popsicle. Fuzzed-out garage and surf rock has become the norm of SoCal music and these guys are caught right in the middle. Theres an edge of New Wave synths on tracks like Ghost Beacons and The Beach With No Footprints as well as some brief drone on Canyons. Tropical Popsicle show that they can deliver variation and skill, but nothing separates them from the surging surf/garage rock scene.
RIYL: The Growlers, Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall
More twisten than dark, but still psych. On their 4rd studio album, The Black Angels have left some of the scuzz behind and have added some pep to their baselines. The lyrics are still dark, but the instrumentals seem to have lightened up a bit. Holland stands out with bubbling distortion on the vocals and a wailing guitar lead. The first single off of this album, Dont Play With Guns delivers with rumbling drums and outbursts of fuzzed guitar.
RIYL: The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Warlocks, Tame Impala
Play: 3,4,9,5 (all)