two sentence reviews of albums i listened to in june

the dune dogs @ berkeley cafe

Boxed Wine — Cheap, Fun: cheerful, complex synth pop with choruses full of hooks and funky ’70s garage rock and hand claps. These guys hooked me when Katie from Speakers in Code found their EP, and their full-length isn’t a letdown. Fuzzy and shiny and distorted summer dance party music. Also, it has a song about a cannibal on it. Get it here.

Camera Obscura — Desire Lines: it’s a Camera Obscura record; at this point, we know the kind of dreamy twee pop that they make, and either you like it or you don’t. I like it, and I think this is a lovely and cool LP with some fascinating droning finger-picked electric guitar work that resonates louder than the lyrics or the driving humming synths and drumming. A couple of really stand out tracks, too, like the heartbreaking “New Year’s Resolution”, which just destroys me.

Teen Getaway — Hits And Missives: this is a very loud, very delicious record made by my buddy Jim and some of the folks from the Delicate Cutters, and put out by my buddies at This Is American Music, and they use the term “bubblegum skronk” to describe it, and I have no idea what that means, but I really love typing it and saying it and thinking about it and I love this record, so that’s a lot of love, y’all. I also listened to it directly after the Camera Obscura record and it was a huge shock to my system.

The Reflections — Limerence: driving guitar rock with pop piano lines and haunting vocals used as sonic texture, this is pretty well along the lines of what Passion Pit is doing these days; indie rock dance music with hooky choruses. Excellent guitar work on this record, though — fascinating, enormous washes of sound all layered over each other.

Bonnie Whitmore — There I Go Again: as this NPR article notes, this is definitely the year of the woman in country music, and I couldn’t be more pleased. Bonnie Whitmore’s new record, out on This Is American Music, is a very solid contribution to that collection; Whitmore is better when she’s bluesy than when she’s shooting for country radio (the only disappointing track on the record is “Colored Kisses”, a song that just seems too saccharine for Whitmore’s tough girl persona on the rest of the songs) and “Cryin’ Out For Me” and “You’re Gonna Love Me” should be hits as big as “Follow Your Arrow” has been for Kacey Musgraves.

Pretty & Nice — Golden Rules for Golden People: smart and catchy garage pop, I guess, with some real surf-y aspects to the instrumentation; kind of like if super twee indie pop was made in a room full of garbage cans, and I mean that in a totally good way. The vocals twang and snap, a little contrived and a lot ear-wormy, and every song sounds different, run through electronic distorters and relying on harmonies and stylization to stand out, which they do. A really weird, fun record that will probably not get noticed, and it should. Triangle, they’re at Motorco on Saturday — July 6 — with So Many Dynamos. $8.

Invisible Hand — Squirrel Jail: epic echoing delicious garage rock from Charlottesville’s best, Invisible Hand. It’s not quite fulls of hooks and not quite arhythmic, it’s just fuzzy and loud and full of huge guitar riffs, and also it is called Squirrel Jail, how is this not your favorite record of 2013? BECAUSE IT SHOULD BE, IT IS ONE OF MINE. (Mostly because it’s really, truly genius feedback-y heavy-duty rock and roll. More heavy duty rock and roll, please and thank you.)

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