Album: Bend Beyond
Rec’d Tracks: 1, 2, 4!, 7, 8, 9, 10
Comments: Woods has been churning out records ever year for the best seven. A feat seen by few and far that can actually pull it off. This release sees the most structured attempt at limited meandering. Something could be seen as almost a smack in the face to it’s long time listeners and their own personal philosophy. Playing earnest and long falsetto hippie rock; has always been their M.O. but here an album full of shorter, more accessible pop tracks, is seen with absolute delight. A natural progression is imminent in all beings, musicians not being the exception, and Woods here is accepting that being the same for too long isn’t healthy or wanted. Too much change?, naw; but the right change is hard to nail down, and luckily here we see the right bends.
Genre: Pop Rock
Rec’d Tracks: 1, 2! 5, 7
Comments: An interesting duo where strong lounge style vocals really can pipe it up and away when wanted. The downside is the uncertainty there seems to be when using this incredibly powerful voice. All I can imagine is 20’s Probition era love going on here.. at times. Among the missteps there is experimentalism with what her voice ‘could’ be doing, but she should stick to what she knows. There are some great tracks on here, but I tended to get sidetracked whenever she sucked me in so strongly; than makes a mockery out of my attentive listening with follow up tracks that lack a sincerity that I had just experienced prior.
Genre: Lounge Heavy Pop
Rec’d Tracks: 1, 3, 6
Comments: Mysterious and foreboding enchantment is not necessarily always an attractive trait. Its mysticism can sometimes by short-lived. The point in case with iamyadayada, is really the history. A history of exciting trailers and ominous cues towards what the hell is going on. A leak of 30-second clips and clues towards what has turned into this debut release, started over 2 years ago. Taking that long to craft the result to such touching marketing, falls aptly short of what should have been. These songs here, are not bad, have influence, but were ready then. Now they just look like mimics, and in the musical world, no one wants to be the band that sounds like their more successful counterparts. Blending witch house with futuristic electronics is now the norm. Gees get with it. Genre: Witch House Electronica.
Album: Mirror Gazer
Rec’d Tracks: 2, 5, 9
Comments: A beginning effort that sees its standouts as just that, and willfully experiments with the rest of the LP without any abandon if it’s actually good or not. Ok, nice try, sneak your way into the cues of electronica and disco that is the seeing eye dog of laptop enthusiasts, but remember, it takes more than pushing buttons and engineered beats. Yes yes I know, some pop stars were propelled into cultural approval by one or two hits, but this isn’t Top 40 ambition I critique upon. I want more.
Genre: Disco Electronica
Artist: Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends
Rec’d Tracks: 1, 5, 6, 12
Comments: The Flaming Lips and their Heady Fwends have tried their damndest to make an unlistenable record. Noise rock that would make the Blood Brothers blush and rudderless songs that seem to go on forever. Believe it or not, Ke$ha keeps this freak show grounded long enough to turn in the best cut on the album. Jim James and Ghostland Observatory provide a couple of other acceptable collabs, but mostly this is atmospheric discord for a bad acid trip. (Review by Phil)
Genre: Noise Rock
Artist: Icky Blossums
Rec’d Tracks: 1, 2, 5, 6
Comments: Another dark wave dance-infused indie rock record that owes much to Depeche Mode as well as their contemporary predecessor Bloc Party. Their revelry in gothic nightclub decadence makes them come across like a band of cheeky morally bankrupt vampires. Nothing new, but a fun listen nonetheless. (Review by Phil)
Genre: Dark Wave
Artist: That’s No Moon
Rec’d Tracks: 2, 3, 4, 5, 9
Comments: Bubblegum emo-dance that sounds like New Found Glory mixed with Hot Hot Heat. Circa Survive is probably their closest relative, but Panic! At the Disco is in the same ballpark as well. They’re so sickeningly sweet your teeth might start aching midway through this one. (Review by Phil)
Genre: Emo Dance
Album: Nothing To Say..
Rec’d Tracks: 1, 2, 3, 5
Comments: Their second five-song offering from these fellows this year and much like the first it kicks ass. I can’t shake the idea that these guys sound like a post-punk project for an elder statesman of the punk rock world like Jets to Brazil was for Jawbreaker’s Blake Schwarzenbach. A well-developed alternative rock sound with punk rock heart. (Review by Phil)
Genre: Alt Punk
Artist: Shout Out Out Out Out
Album: Spanish Moss and Total Loss
Rec’d Tracks: 2, 3, 8
Restricted: 4, 6, 7
Comments: With a random consistency as keeping all the tracks on a LP drifting right around the six minute mark, it is interesting what else is going to be of particular detail to a band. Detail is not spared here with ever measure planned meticulously. But this collective’s third effort plays out similar to a Choose Your Own Adventure book where all endings are never really the end. Looping you through page turns over and over until your adventure is content with just being dull and done. Sometimes dull is a nice sentiment when it is expected, but where this album excels, is exactly where it suffers. Musicianship, and production are consistent but there are no chances taken here and thus no real excitement on how you started or ended this listen.
Artist: Nerd Revolt
Rec’d Tracks: 2, 3, 4, 8
Comments: I’m not sure if I’ve just been influenced by current pop/dub influence through the ethereal top 40 blast you can’t escape if you tried, but this album, ‘feels’ like where all dub starts. Besides their obvious idiotic name, Nerd Revolt manages to smartly intertwine club, and (dare I say) pre-dub and leaves it at that. Dark snyths and wispy brooding vocals remind of early trance effect seen in the likes of Ladytron and Aphex Twin. Maybe most will see the fault here being that there is no bass drop or glitched repetitiveness but I kind of see it as refreshing.
Genre: Club, Pre-dub
Rec’d Tracks: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6!, 7
Comments: Silvero recently visited Fairbanks and Alaska as a whole, and to say the least, made it worth the 2500 miles it took to get here. As with most bands that actually get to Fairbanks, there is this tendency to walk away with the brain-fucked realization that this place is a force to be reckoned with. With no exception, Silvero played right into the trend that our hospitable but rowdy, passionate whirlwind of a town had to offer. I am happy to say the sound we all saw live is pretty comparable on this LP, with all the moans, five minute sludge interjections, and random cowbell intact. The only thing missing is the dueling live instrumentation and entrancing dance moves front-woman Nella exhibits while in the moment of feeling these songs instead of just singing them. That is a small gripe to deal with, but an unfortunate reality that exists after seeing such a powerful performance. The record just could never stand up to such live ambitions. But who would want it to? This is how you start your following and keep ‘em coming back. A very ambitious first effort from this trio from Bend, Oregon. Come back anytime.
Genre: Sludge Rock
Artist: Django Django
Rec’d Tracks: 2, 3!, 7, 9, 10, 11
Comments: Inspired by what could only be late 80’s snyth experimentalists like Devo and The Buggles (Video Killed the Radio Star), Django Django manages to care too much about nailing the aesthetic of glitched accessibility. In this instance, it is a refreshing take on the often aptly dubbed genre of goof pop. But while it can be any easy oversight, pop that doesn’t take itself seriously is exactly what defined pop to begin with. From the Beach Boys to 2012’s ‘Call Me Maybe’, it never ceases to stop affecting culture in an imm78easurable way. Django Django infuses that sentiment in an independent atmosphere and clearly just wants to see a smile on your face.
Genre: Indie Pop