Casiotone for the Painfully Alone Vs. Children:
Ower keeps his coy yet confessional lyrics, but loses the lo-fi aesthetic. He also bought some better keyboards, and it sounds like theres real drums and piano on some of these tracks. Having not cared for their, previous work I’m surprised at how much I like this album. The musical arrangements are good, as are the keyboard sounds. Ower sings in key, and has written another batch of strong lyrics. I really can’t fault this album, in fact I recommend you spend money on it, so this guy can keep upgrading his keyboards.
Handsome Furs Face Control:
1980′s worshiping indie-rock. Drum machines and fuzzy guitars provide a backdrop to poetic lyrics, delivered like Bernard Sumner. Not the best thing out there, but it is a fun and danceable record.
The Moore Brothers Aptos:
Two dudes who played with Joanna Newsom making folky indie-pop. The music is pleasant and filled with tinkling acoustic instruments and sincere tender lyrics. Gets a little boring, but each track is decent in and of itself. Not bad, but they could pick up the tempo sometimes.
Rating: 11/15 Sidewinders
Boston Spaceships The Planets are Blasted:
Pretty much what you’d expect from a new Robert Pollard release. Catchy lo-fi indie pop riffs topped by Pollard’s sly lyrics. Isn’t quite up to par with his best material, but it is a strong release.
Rating: 12/15 Hardcore UFO’s
Lotus Plaza The Floodlight Collective:
Indie pop submerged in an ocean of reverb and echo. The lyrics and vocal delivery fit the music. The only issue here is that the mix can get uncomfortably dense with all the reverb and echo from different instruments running into each other. If the effects were toned down a bit the album would improve greatly.
Rating: 10/15 echo chambers
Clem Snide Hungry Bird:
Not bad, they sound like a toned down Radiohead. The lyrics are strong, as are the vocals. The only issues here is that they could have easily cut a couple minutes of plodding riffs and poorly placed falsetto oohings out of many tracks. Either that or they have to do something different in those extra two minutes.
Rating:11/15 superfluous riffs
Laura Barrett Victory Garden:
Singer song-writer and Kalimba master Laura Barrett drops twelve tracks as strong as they are diverse. She jumps from folk to jazz to french indie pop without breaking a sweat. Her playful voice and great lyrics weave in and out of the diverse musical arrangements effortlessly. A very strong release.
Rating: 13/15 Kalimbas
Lonely Dear Dear John:
Indie pop heavy on wimpy vocals and outdated synthesizer sounds. Oh! and lets not forget the incredibly cheesy background vocals!
Rating: 6/15 Dear John, please stop making music
Soft and beautiful acoustic guitars and vocals betray the powerful observations found in the lyrics. Lyrically, this album focuses exclusively on relationships, and manages to never be corny. The only complaint I have about this album is the indier than thou production. Most songs sound like they were recorded with a tin can on a string. Mirah continues to release strong relevant material, surprising since Calvin Johnson signed her, but true none the less.
Rating: 12/15 Strangle worthy producers
Animal Collective Merriweather Post Pavilion:
Interesting mix of synth-pop and experimental elements. Multi part vocal harmonies emerge from dense arpeggiated synthesizer clusters. The lyrics are cool and clearly audible, and delivered with passion. Bringing out their pop side has worked wonders for this band.
Rating: 14/15 creepy masks