Here come some rapid-fire opinions from a not entirely reputable source.
VISIONS by Airlines
This is a really pleasant surprise of a release. It’s a quick 4 song electronic ep, that’s shockingly diverse in sound. The lead single “Burial Grounds” is a sprawling, tropically retro sounding track that would easily have been the best song on the last ‘Cut Copy’ album IMO. While “Colors” is a spastic and funky ‘Yeasayeresque’ trip to the land of semi-psychedelia. A lot of electronic groups have songs that feel like they are 1 or 2 minutes too long. But not these guys. This one holds your interest from start to finish.
VISIONS: 4 out of 5
Wit’s End by Cass McCombs
McComb’s 09 release ‘Catacombs’ was a stunning multi-dimensional folk album that balanced big emotions with playful lyricism. Unfortunately, I never really got into his latest work ‘Wit’s End’. While, “The Lonely Doll” is a painfully pretty metaphor of a song. The rest of the album simply seems to maintain this drawn out overly delicate, ‘music box’ type feel throughout. Leaving in it’s wake a very sleepy amateur music listener.
Wit’s End: 2 out of 5
Hit after Hit by Sonny and the Sunsets
Outside of Calvin Johnson, I’m not sure anyone has as keen a knack for creating massive quantities of jangly, innocent and at times goofy rock songs as Sonny Smith. The major difference being that Sonny’s songs are probably a bit more ‘California’ and care free. ‘Hit After Hit’ is an aptly named album that keeps the 2 minute long, retro garage-pop gems coming one after the other. Major summer album alert y’all.
Hit After Hit: 4.5 out of 5.
No Problem by Jamaica
This album strikes me as some sort of middle ground between ‘Phoenix’ and ‘Free Energy’. Only not as precisely played / unique as the former and not as energetic / sincere as the latter. It’s a straightforward effort that tries to hit you with as many ‘hooky’ power pop jams as possible. The problem lies in the fact that only 1, maybe 2 of these tracks are memorable.
No Problem: 2 out of 5
W h o k i l l by Tune-Yards
To say “W h o k i l l” is out there, is a major understatement. I imagine this is what it would be like to do ecstasy and speed at the same time. At times it’s off the wall fun. At other times it’s schizophrenic. In general though, the hyper dance party portions outweigh the borderline creepy portions. There is a lot going on here but when it all comes together on tracks like “Gangsta” the end result is something along the lines of a ‘freak-folk’/free form jazz version of Vampire Weekend that is surprisingly kickin’.
W h o k i l l: 3.5 out of 5
What a Pleasure by Beach Fossils
Beach Fossils always kind of feel like the nostalgic suburban summers of one’s adolescence. On “What a Pleasure” the band basically continues with the same dreamy shoegaze style they created on their debut. The sound of the two releases is shockingly similar, with the only major difference being that now the lead vocals seem a little less hazy and more seperated from the rest of the track. The relaxing and immaculately played guitars are still the undeniable star of the Ep however. As much as I kind of want to dismiss this as ‘nothing new’ for the Brooklyn based outfit, I can’t help but find myself continually drawn in to the hypnotic ‘summer vacation’ that Dustin Payseur develops.
What a Pleasure: 4 out of 5
Jonny by Jonny
Jonny is a collaborition between Euros Childs and Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake. Most of the album tries to focus on a toned down version of the psychedelic pop that ‘Woods’ has revitalized. Most of the time though it hovers around a substandard immitation of that. Or worse, a really wimpy version of ‘The Kills’. I think Jonny is actually at it’s best on tracks like “Circling The Sun” when the project harvess the same brand of charming pop that Teenage Fanclub made a living off of.
Jonny: 2.5 out of 5