new wave goth-pop. less lo-fi & distorted than previous, polished & mature. infectious guitar riffs. upbeat, muscular song structures, sweet female vocals & harmonies.
play: 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10
riyl: seapony, dum dum girls, widowspeak, allo darlin, best coast
Thao returns with her full band. Raw, rollicking, homemade acoustic art-pop with keys, distortion, pretty vocals & quirks.
play: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10
riyl: cat power. mirah, tune-yards
This is a difficult album to review. On the one hand, it is a well-crafted psych pop record, with many standout tracks that warrant further listening. Songs like "Where Will You Go" and "The Ballad of Little Jane" are great, and live up to the sonic expectation that one might imagine when the word "psychedelic" is used. On the other hand, many of these songs (including the two I mentioned) sound so similar to classic psychedelic acts, such as Syd Barrett or The Zombies, that it's hard to acknowledge Jacco Gardner's work as something more than just a pastiche of some of his influences. Even so, you should listen to this album (or at least the recommended tracks). For fans of 60's and 70's psych/folk, this is exactly what you're looking for.
Play: 1, 4, 10, 12
RIYL: Syd Barrett, Dungen, The Zombies, Tame Impala
Sindri Már Sigfússon, aka Sin Fang, has been in the game for a while. He released a few albums as Seabear, and then as Sin Fang Bous, and now finally he has settled on the name Sin Fang. On this release, his experience certainly shows. Awash with psychedelic synths and string sections, Flowers starts on a high note with "Young Boys" and keeps the energy coming. It may just be the flower beard on the cover, but throughout this album there were moments where it almost felt like springtime. Sigfússon has definitely made a hit. Though many of the songs sound similar, it is a fun album to listen to as a whole, and will instantly put you in a happy mood. Also, he is the only Icelandic singer I know who has a firm grasp of the English language (unlike Bjork or Sigur Ros).
Play:1, 3, 4, 7, 8
RIYL: Atlas Sound, Animal Collective, Sigur Ros
Cool Cocoon was released only nine months after The Spinto Band's last release. This album differs from their previous release, Shy Pursuit, with songs sounding a little less produced and holding a little more fuzz and smooth chords. Cool Cocoon has a lot of catchy hooks and lyrics and a great mix of slow and fast tunes. Where Shy Pursuit sounded more poppy, Cool Cocoon makes up for it by creating a feel good, guitar driven album with fun songs all around.
Play: 2, 4, 5, 8
RIYL: Miniature Tigers, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Islands
Zoe Boekbinder's newest release, Darling Specimens, sounds almost like Zooey Deschanel and Joanna Newsom made an album together. With unique vocals and the use of strings and the theremin, the songs come together to create a haunting and beautiful album. Boekbinder collaborates with Shenandoah Davis on three songs that stray away from the typical sound of the album, but still come together to fit Boekbinder's style. This album has great lyrics, is very unique and worth a listen if you're looking for something different.
Play: 2, 6, 7
RIYL: St. Vincent, Feist, Dark Dark Dark
While listening to this release, I immediately noticed two things. Firstly, I noticed that Richie Follins (who, as the band has repeatedly pointed out, is the brother of Cults' Madeline Follins) has shifted his sound for the better, offering up a much brighter and poppier album than his first Guards EP. I also noticed that although he has made this change, the songwriting is still very lackluster. Many of the songs have a psychedelic feel to them, with spacey vocals and heavy guitar, but lack memorable hooks. Occasionally, this record has its moments. Specifically, Follins' talents shine on songs like "Nightmare" and "Coming True". However, despite these moments, the album seems a little undercooked. There is clear potential on this record, and obviously his family has some musical talent in it, but whether Guards will ever reach the hype surrounding Cults remains to be seen.
Play: 1, 6, 8
RIYL:Smith Westerns, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, Cults