two sentence reviews of albums i listened to in february

tame impala @ cat's cradle

Two from my buddies at This Is American Music this month, with one (Great Peacock) not quite out yet; I didn’t listen to nearly as much as I wanted to this month, and wrote about even less of what I did hear. I promise March will be improved! I have a lot to catch up on. Anyway, six EPs or LPs for your perusal.

Bad Bad Hats — It Hurts EP: California-sunshine garage pop, with ooh-ooh choruses and affectingly affected little girl vocals; there are kazoo solos and it’s all a little She & Him twee, without being at all self-conscious like Zooey Deschanel can be with that group. It’s just kicky, good-times garage pop.

Woodpigeon — Thumbtacks and Glue: a lot more electric guitars in this offering from Woodpigeon, but it’s still the same smart, orchestral, theatrical pop with heartache vocals and shivery harmonies; clever, literary, complex pop music. Lots of dueling male/female voices, underscored by the thick string quartets and driving guitar melodies. RIYL Lost in the Trees.

Golden Boots — DBX ‘N’ SPF: synthy indie pop with distorted vocals, this reminded me a lot of the really great Modest Mouse era of The Moon & Anarctica, all fuzz and chimed-out guitar melodies that don’t match the vocal lines, and plinking synths and strings behind it all. Gorgeous desperate songwriting, and an ineffable ache to the songs that made my heart hurt without knowing why.

Great Peacock — GP EP: I am inclined to trust records that open with simple percussion and vocal harmonies, and that’s how this record from Great Peacock starts, male and female voices raised up in praise and then a shuddering, shattering flood of keyboards and guitars and joy, all underpinned by that rhythm and fascinating drumming. It’s a soothing, hypnotic EP, the kind of roots music that Mumford & Sons wish they were making, authentic and rough voiced and lovely.

Broken Radio — It’s Only Fool’s Gold: a German band making rootsy rock, this record is somewhere between Neil Young and Nick Cave; it’s got Crazy Horse guitars and Young harmonica and the shivery bass vocals and I-might-kill-you-in-your-sleep-but-I-swear-I-love-you inflection of Nick Cave. It drags a little for me in the middle, but there’s some really interesting guitars and steel work going on here, and I’m curious about how they move forward.

Dana Swimmer — Veloce: skuzzy, skanked-out, reverb-heavy retro pop punk, which is too many buzzwords in a single sentence, but it’s all true. Effects-heavy vocals, twang, that skittery drumming that I feel like marks really good cowpunk bands like Two Cow Garage and I Can Lick Every Sonofabitch In The House. Way out there for the This Is American Music family, I am really, really wild about this record.

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