Rhapsody Streamnotes: January 15, 2011

I spend more time than usual around the end of the year checking out things on Rhapsody, expanding my reach from what I'm most likely interested in to lots of things that other people like, on the off chance there may be some merit in it. I kicked out 46 of my notes on January 4 and held back 33, figuring that left plenty for another set mid-month. Added a few since then, so now it looks like 64. Also note the ones I tried to find but couldn't. You'd think I'd be getting to the bottom of the year-end list, but it's really a pretty long one. Not even sure I'm getting diminishing returns -- two 3-stars since I closed this column -- although what's left on the indie boys lists is looking pretty unappetizing.

These are short notes/reviews based on streaming records from Rhapsody. They are snap judgments based on one or two plays, accumulated since my last post along these lines, back on January 4. Past reviews and more information are available here.

7L & Esoteric: 1212 (2010, Fly Casual): Boston underground rap duo, AMG sez they got together in 1992 but the seven records start out in 2001 -- A New Dope is a good one, but that's as far as I've gotten. One song namechecks retired basketball players. One describes the harrows of flying. Damn near everyone has something clever, quotable even, and the beats are serviceable-plus. A-

Gary Allan: Get Off on the Pain (2010, MCA Nashville): Country singer, from California, dropped his last name (Herzberg) when he headed to Nashville, eighth album since 1996. Cowrote half of the songs, 6-10 if you want to program them in. Title song could be classic, and the second hits a poignant note ("I Think I've Had Enough") amidst some serious studio bombast, but the third song can't hold up to the treatment. Minus the bombast, as with "We Fly by Night," he's not bad: he's got the pipes and can convey basic emotions, isn't too bright, and trusts the machine to make him rich. (Inspirational lyric: "who am I to question God anyway?") B-

Anika: Anika (2010, Stones Throw): Singer, also works as a journalist, based in Bristol and/or Germany, last name seems to be Invada although I can't swear she was born that way. Wrote two of eight songs, backed with bleak synth music by Geoff Barrow (of Portishead), redeemed with hard beats. The 7:31 "Masters of War" struck me as pretty dub, until they repeated it at the end with a real dub version -- unfortunately just 3:24; moreover, they cut the rap on occupation. B+(**)

Atmosphere: To All My Friends, Blood Makes the Blade Holy: The Atmosphere EPs (2010, Rhymesayers Entertainment): Some confusing sleight of hand here. Cover just reads To All My Friends large on top, and The Atmosphere EPs smaller at bottom, but there is an alternate cover with Blood Makes the Blade Holy a second line just below the first, and most sources tack that onto the title. First time I read this I figured these were repackaged old EPs, but the music seems to be new, the conceit being two new EPs consolidated into one 40:43 disc. This was humming along uneventfully when "The Best Day" took over -- one of those remarkable everyman stories that made Slug's early records so remarkable, and it sets up a series with "Americare" and "Hope" that winds up pervading the album. Works in some more rockish moves, harder beats, nothing definitive. B+(**)

Band of Horses: Infinite Arms (2010, Fat Possum): Average American rock band, founded in Seattle, now based in South Carolina, perhaps because it cut against the New York-Los Angeles axis. Third album since 2006. Leisurely paced, clear, melodic; I wouldn't say it's catchy or memorable, but hard to dislike, pretty in a rather harmless way. B+(*)

Beach Fossils: Beach Fossils (2010, Captured Tracks): Not sure if there's any band to this beyond Dustin Payseur. Lo-fi, guitar strum with reverb or echo, same for the vocals, the point being to make them more remote and dehuman, i.e. alienated. Jesus and Mary Chain might be a point of reference, but Payseur is much more primitive, unpolished, unambitious. I find it captivating, but can't assign any importance to it. B+(**)

Natasha Bedingfield: Strip Me (2010, Epic/Phonogenic): English pop singer, third album (although the second was released under two titles). I don't get much out of her: a couple of catchy tunes, which isn't enough for dance pop, lots of lungpower but little that would qualify as personality. B-

Dierks Bentley: Up on the Ridge (2010, Capitol): Ranks about fourth in EOY lists among country albums, trailing Jamey Johnson, Taylor Swift, and Johnny Cash, each with its own crossover appeal, with Elizabeth Cook sneaking up from far left field, which makes Bentley the conventional Nashville star critics know about and can cotton to. He sings fine, keeps his music neotrad, taps guests like Miranda Lambert, and doesn't mess up too bad -- well, except for the U2 cover (can't imagine what he was thinking there). Pretty blah at first, but closes strong, with a good Kristofferson song, "Bottle to the Bottom," and a somber miner lament, "Down in the Mine." B

Black Mountain: Wilderness Heart (2010, Jagjaguwar): Vancouver band, founded by Stephen McBean after he gave up on a prior band called Jerk With a Bomb. Third album since 2005. Not countryish; more of a classic rock sound, evidence of a lot more muscle than they commonly flex, with some keyb or organ and extra vocal contrast from Amber Webber. AMG compared them to Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, but they're not that classic. B+(*)

Bonobo: Black Sands (2010, Ninja Tune): British DJ Simon Green, b. 1976, been cranking out electronica since 1999, considered downbeat, maybe ambient and/or trip-hop -- strikes me as less spacey and less gloomy than the latter, more presence than ambient, but he does have a calm dignity to his efforts. A couple of vocals aren't his strong points, but hold up well enough. Very listenable, pleasant, reassuring. B+(**)

Laura Bell Bundy: Achin' and Shakin' (2010, Mercury Nashville): B. 1981, grew up in Lexington, KY; started acting around ten, and has a list of films and Broadway roles although I can't say I've made much sense of it. Turned into a country singer around 2007, with this her second album: a trooper, goes through the moves from sweet to sassy; not clear that any of them are more than a role. B-

Calle 13: Entren Los Que Quieran (2010, Sony Music Latin): Puerto Rican duo, fourth album since 2006, second I've heard. First was marred by a dreadful intro, a feat they almost duplicate in the first 3:18 here. After that the beats kick in, they rap en espaņol -- I'm OK at reading subway signs but can't follow this -- and the music occasionally throws out a weird flare that reminds me of Manu Chao, and every now and then I find myself chuckling or often just smiling, at God knows what. A-

Care Bears on Fire: Get Over It! (2009 [2010], S-Curve): Three Brooklyn teenage girls, been together since 2005, or fifth grade, which makes them 15-16 now. Christgau discovered their new 5-cut EP, Girls Like It Loud, which I didn't much expect to find, and didn't. Instead, I got this 14-cut LP, a respectable 33:48, evidently released in 2009 and re-released (with no evident changes) in 2010. He dismissed this as "mildly enjoyable . . . bratty-dreaming-slutty." For now, I'm quite delighted with bratty, and like how they get a basic punk sound without quite replicating anyone else. They do run into trouble ten songs in with their whine about "Violet" -- they slow down, throws them off stride, and they wind up 0:35 longer than anything else on the album. "Met You on MySpace" isn't much of a recovery, either. So I'll hold back a bit. Maybe, like Ellington, they shouldn't be too successful too soon. [PS: EP did finally show up; q.v.] B+(***)

Care Bears on Fire: Girls Like It Loud (2010, S-Curve, EP): Three teenage girls from Brooklyn, cut an album in 2009 that I thought was pretty good but Christgau dismissed it in favor of this more mature 5-cut EP. True enough that they're learning new tricks, especially ways to slip in a bit of backing vocal that starts to move them past their punk forbears. Still, it's too short to get me going -- doesn't help that Rhapsody only delivers 4 of 5 songs -- and they're still not that great. B+(***)

Celph Titled & Buckwild: Nineteen Ninety Now (2010, No Sleep): Buckwild is presumably producer Anthony Best, who has a long credit sheet going back to 1993. Celph Titled is a rapper from Tampa with a couple of previous albums, the first co-credited to Apathy. Underground grind, runs long (72:07), "Miss Those Days" looks back nostalgically to the golden age of the 1990s, otherwise a lot of violence lurks on the sidelines, nothing blowing up too bad. B+(**)

Chromeo: Business Casual (2010, Big Beat): Electrofunk duo from Montreal, P-Thugg (Patrick Gemayel) and Dave 1 (David Macklovitch). Big beats, snappy tunes, I sort of expect the vocals a little more affected (especially coming from presumed non-native English speakers, but it's actually the one song in French that's off), and of course the lyrics a little more clever -- guess the Pet Shop Boys are on my mind. A-

Deadbeat: Radio Rothko (2010, The Agriculture): Scott Monteith, based in Montreal, electronica producer, AMG calls his style ambient dub; seventh album since 2002. This works within a fairly tight band, the beat and/or volume building up on occasion, shifting down on others. Attractive, potentially very useful. B+(***)

El DeBarge: Second Chance (2010, Geffen): The principal solo to emerge from the DeBarge family franchise, with four albums 1986-94, and 16 years later a fifth. His falsetto has slipped back into a more normal range, still soft and silky, with luxurious strings and slinky beats, the main concession to the times the occasional interposition of a rap. Very nice, for the most part, but "The Other Side" is a sententious dud cut. Also segues into a series of three Christmas songs, which I won't dock for given that they're segregated on a second disc. B+(**)

Deftones: Diamond Eyes (2009 [2010], Reprise): Sacramento, CA metal band; sixth album since 1995, fairly evenly spaced out every 3-4 years. One of the few metal albums to break out of the ghetto in year-end lists, but then it's on a major label and charted at 6 so isn't really a cult item. Nothing real hard or fast, mostly sludgy, the pure ballads the clearest. B-

Disappears: Lux (2010, Kranky, EP): Tightly disciplined punk sound, guitar out in front of the voice like a personal wail doesn't matter much. Ten songs, 29:03, call it an EP but it couldn't run much longer and still stay so coherent. B+(***)

DJ Roc: The Crack Capone (2010, Planet Mu): From Chicago. Favorite trick is to run a short figure, often just a drone or blare, 4-5 times in a row. Not sure if that counts as dubstep -- back in the factory it was called "step and repeat" but there you actually wanted to produce the same shit over and over. Here it gets to be kind of annoying. Not sure but I think "DJ Roc Symphony" in the dead middle of the album is 2:24 silence. Followed by a soul sample, "Lost Without U," which is the one thing I quite liked. B-

Dr. Dog: Shame, Shame (2010, Anti-): Philadelphia group, sixth album since 2001, band can slip a pop hook in when they get lucky, and singer has a nicely lubricated voice. A couple songs make an impression. Could use more. B+(*)

Electric Wire Hustle: Electric Wire Hustle (2009 [2010], BBE): New Zealand r&b group, sort of a new wave Hot Chocolate, with Anglo-accented soul vocals and a tense, thin wire beat. Could use a great song or two, just to make you care, since that's in short supply. B+(*)

Far East Movement: Free Wired (2010, Interscope): LA group, four Asian-Americans, electro-hop they call it, been around a few years but this is first major label release. Same basic mix of rap-song-chant as Black Eyed Peas, but none of the songs quite pull that off. B+(***)

Future Islands: In Evening Air (2010, Thrill Jockey): Formed in North Carolina, moved to Baltimore, second album. Basically a synth band, sounds much like something from the new wave disco 1980s, or at least the first cut does -- the other eight cuts aren't available on Rhapsody. So this is nothing more than a SWAG. B+(*)

Gayngs: Relayted (2010, Jagjaguwar): Minneapolis group, founded by Ryan Olson, picked up a wide range of musicians from the area, including rappers P.O.S. and Dessa and two guys from Bon Iver. Song concept is to run everything at 69 BPM -- the inspiration there seems to be 10cc's "I'm Not in Love" -- so it all runs soft and slow, which turns out to be agreeable enough. B+(*)

Girl Talk: All Day (2010, Illegal Art): Part of the fun with Greg Gillis's mash-ups is what you recognize, especially when it's taken to someplace it's never been before, and part of the fun is stuff you not only don't recognize but can't quite imagine ever having existed before. Don't have the breakdown here but I imagine I'll find one on Wikipedia before long (as happened with Feed the Animals) and for now don't much care. Nothing but joy here, a relief as all around me -- from the wretched cold weather to my broken computer to the news of the world -- is anything but. But I will note that this sticks pretty close to his norm, which is hip-hop. One thing that drove that home is the sample from Big Boi's "Shutterbug" which ran on relatively long and needed no dressing to fit in seamlessly. My only complaint there being that that at least was way too easy. A- [download]

Glasser: Ring (2010, True Panther Sounds): More dream pop, architected by Cameron Mesirow on her first album, works relatively well because she stays in her comfort zone. B+(*)

Grass Widow: Past Time (2010, Kill Rock Stars, EP): San Francisco group, three women on guitar-bass-drums, two or more sing. Runs through 10 songs in 26:34, which counts in most quarters as an EP, but that seems to be all they do -- and they're likely to view the 9-song 22-minute eponymous disc on Make a Mess as the EP. B+(*)

Harlem: "Hippies" (2010, Matador): Duo from Tucson, based in Austin, no idea why they picked the group name and/or the album name. And I usually drop quotes from the title, but they seem to have earned them. Started out playing punk, figuring they could get away with sloppy. To me they sound more like the Brit Invasion, specifically the Dave Clark Five stripped down to just guitar and drums. B+(**)

Ray Wylie Hubbard: A. Elightenment B. Endarkenment (Hint: There Is No C) (2010, Bordello): Off-the-patch country singer-songwriter, came up in the 1970s with a band called the Cowboy Twinkies, re-emerging in the 1990s on a series of folk labels. Some sharply observed songs here, especially one about the weather ("Tornado Ripe") and one about everyday annoyances ("Wasp's Nest"). I'd be even more impressed with "Drunken Poet's Dream" if co-author Hayes Carll hadn't taken it first -- the younger man in both years and voice makes it seem less lecherous, or maybe Hubbard just makes it seem more. B+(***)

Ikonika: Contact, Love, Want, Have (2010, Hyperdub): Sara Abdel-Hamid, from England, programmer-DJ, first full album after a bunch of singles/EPs (AMG counts 8 since 2008). Considered dubstep, not as subtle as Deadbeat nor as sprizzy as Rusko, a nice groove to work out in. B+(**)

Kings Go Forth: The Outsiders Are Back (2010, Luaka Bop): Retro soul group from Milwaukee, more '60s than '70s to site the decades critics want to pigeonhole them in. Given that there's a small but endless market for period obscurities, it was only a matter of time before someone started producing new fakes. Actually, Sharon Jones got there first, but that's a slightly different shtick: they sound really obscure. B

Kno: Death Is Silent (2010, Venti Uno): Black and white drawing of a white girl on the cover, doesn't look like a rap record at all. Kno is Ryan Wisler, from Atlanta, first solo album although it bears the imprimatur of his group, the CunninLynguists. Songs are death-obsessed. In one he finds himself shot in a hospital, dials his girlfriend to tell her, and hears the phone ring behind himself as she comes to finish the job. Underground, flows so nice you can miss the morbidity. B+(***)

Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs: God Willin' & the Creek Don't Rise (2010, RCA): Singer-songwriter, fourth album, voice a little up, light and airy; music straight enough we can claim it for mid-Americana. Does lay the cliches on rather thick, especially up near the title. B+(**)

The Last Electro-Acoustic Space Jazz and Percussion Ensemble: Miles Away (2010, Stones Throw): Miles Davis fusion Madlib style. Had trouble finding this with the forest of aliases, and the music is even more obscure: nothing I associate with Miles Davis, but then the lack of a trumpet should give that away. Can't swear there's any guitar, either. Still, this is a rather charming slab of good-natured lounge music, the sort of thing that eventually got tabbed as ambient. B+(**)

Lissie: Catching a Tiger (2010, Fat Possum): Elisabeth Maurus, b. 1982 in Rock Island, Illinois; first album after a well-regarded EP. I don't make much of her as a country singer, although she does get close to "Oh Mississippi." B

The Love Language: Libraries (2010, Merge): Lo-fi group, muddling along in its echo chamber. B

Lower Dens: Twin-Hand Movement (2010, Gnomonsong): Baltimore group, led by a singer-songwriter from Texas named Jana Hunter, who has a couple of albums under her own name, and another group called Matt & Mossy. I've seen her classified as "acid folk" and this described as "skews toward Krautrock," but the slightly silvery guitar and languid vocals come straight out of Loaded-period Velvet Underground. Not quite the same: a little prettier, with more mystique. A-

Madlib: Madlib Medicine Show #5: The History of the Loop Digga (2010, Madlib Invazion): Midway through his 10-CD dump this year, just stringing together old rhythm tapes from the 1990s. Kinda jumbled, especially early on before it settles into more rap. Decent enough, but of really underwhelming world-historical import. B

Madlib: Madlib Medicine Show #7: High Jazz (2010, Madlib Invazion): A pastiche, of course; don't have a list of samples, but mostly they remind me of the shit that nearly killed jazz in the 1970s, when big labels like Blue Note wanted to invent smooth jazz but couldn't quite get the hang of it, mostly wallowing in thick gobs of fusion and funk. Aside from the title track, typicl titles are "Space & Time," "Reality or Dream," "Tarzan's Theme," and "Funky Butt, Pt. 1." Sort of amusing in retrospect. B+(*)

Gucci Mane: The Appeal: Georgia's Most Wanted (2010, Warner Brothers): Radric Davis, b. 1980 in Birmingham, AL; grew up in Atlanta; used his given name last time for The State vs. Radric Davis -- or maybe not exactly last time if you try to factor in his numerous mixtapes: AMG gamely credits him with 31 "main albums" since 2005 then consigns this to "compilations" arguing that this is just recycled goods from the mixtapes. Not what I'd call a gangsta album, although he does have a bad habit of tripping over the law -- something I'd prefer he stop flaunting. But then he's not really a "Weirdo" either -- just a guy who can flow a very listenable slab of contemporary commercial rap. B+(*)

Master Musicians of Bukkake: Totem Two (2009 [2010], Important): Seattle group, has four or so records since 2004, including Totem One from 2009 and a newer one, Elogia de la Sombra. Mostly thick sheets of dronelike sounds (initially on guitar but later on organ and stranger instruments) punctuated by exotic percussion (initially with a Far East flavor, but that too wanders). Details and theory might help, as the clever/obscene group name signifies some wit that isn't otherwise adequately clear. B

Onra: Long Distance (2010, All City): Hip-hop producer, from Paris, most cuts have guest vocals but the beats and baubles come first -- the tunes holding up most of the way, at least until a dose of dub takes over. B+(*)

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: History of Modern (2010, Blue Noise): New wave synth pop group from the early 1980s -- "Enola Gay" was one of the signature tunes of the decade. Faded after Junk Culture in 1984 but limped on through 1996. This is their first studio album since then. Sounds great when they hit their stride -- my guess is that you could painlessly pad their career comp with a couple tracks here -- but sometimes you wonder why keep panning the same stream hoping for more of the same old nuggets. (But the they hit "Enola Gay" again with "Sister Mary Says.") B+(**)

Oval: O (2010, Thrill Jockey, 2CD): German group, cut six albums 1993-2001, and now a seventh although the group seems to now be down to founder Markus Popp. Also down to mostly guitar, or something like guitar -- can't find any credits -- fleshed out with echoes of electronics and occasional percussion. First disc has 50 short bits, second 20. They're intriguing at first, hard to differentiate over the long haul (and the haul is long). B+(**)

Parralox: Metropolis (2010, Conzoom): Australian synth-pop duo, vocalist Roxy and synth guy John Von Ahlen. Only popped up on one year-end list, and AMG has none of a discography that evidently amounts to four albums (since 2008; AMG has 1 of 5 singles listed in Discogs). Striking artwork on most of them. This mostly stays within the orb of 1980s new wave/disco which is one of my comfort zones -- a smattering of inspired pieces, nothing transcendent like New Order or Pet Shop Boys, drags a bit when the guy sings. They'll have a superb best-of sooner or later. B+(***)

Eli "Paperboy" Reed: Come and Get It (2010, Capitol): Pale-faced soul singer, moved from Mississippi to Chicago, but actually got his start in Brookline, MA, where papa was a music critic. Aims for Wilson Pickett. Misses, of course, but not by a lot. B+(**)

Mark Ronson & the Business Intl: Record Collection (2010, RCA): British DJ, third album, guest vocalists including Boy George and Q-Tip (but mostly Andrew Wyatt and Amanda Warner). Not that I don't enjoy the beats and pop hooks, but this does seem a little, uh, superfluous. B

Rusko: O.M.G.! (2010, Mad Decent): Christopher Mercer, b. 1985, British dubstep producer, first album. Pretty upbeat, with some wild whizzes to start, a bit of rap, occasional slides into dub. B+(**)

Guilty Simpson: OJ Simpson (2010, Stones Throw): Detroit rapper, formerly Byron Simpson; hooked up with J. Dilla, now moved on to Madlib, who keeps the beats eccentric and lays the skits on thick. Didn't spend much time trying to figure out the OJ story, which is at best tangential here. B+(**)

Standard Fare: The Noyelle Beat (2010, Bar/None): UK (Sheffield) group, first album, male and female singers who have something to say, not least to each other. Sound strikes me as a tad arch, but more often than not they make it not matter. B+(***)

Marty Stuart: Ghost Train: The Studio B Sessions (2010, Sugar Hill): A minor country star, with 16 albums and 34 singles since 1978, none coming close to #1. Like to rock early on, but has gotten more and more trad as he's gotten older. A lot of pedal steel here, fiddle too, but I wouldn't take it for bluegrass. Co-wrote one song with Johnny Cash just before he died, and another with Connie Smith. Choice cut is "Hard Working Man"; also striking is his narration on "Porter Wagoner's Grave." B+(***)

Teebs: Ardour (2010, Brainfeeder): Mtendere Mandowa, from New York, descent from Malawi and Barbados, moved to Los Angeles, or something like that -- details are sketchy. Synth sounds, tends toward lush although that's more instrument than style; keeps a nice stock of beats and rarely lets up. B+(**)

Teengirl Fantasy: 7AM (2010, Merok): Two Oberlin students, Nick Weiss and Logan Takahashi. Electronics, mostly soft ethereal fuzz but with beats. I was quite taken with it until they mixed in some vocals, which were too specific, also a bit too harsh. B+(**)

Terror Danjah: Undeniable (2010, Hyperdub): UK-based grime programmer, has several records since 2008, active since 2001, not much bio I can find. Some rap, mostly instrumental, the beats blunted but hit their mark. B+(**)

Toro y Moi: Causers of This (2010, Carpark): Chaz Bundick, first album, electronics with near-falsetto vocals, could have cut this on his laptop, a jumble of pop dance moves and broken fragments, often washed out under fades. B+(*)

Twin Shadow: Forget (2010, Terrible): Front name for singer-songwriter George Lewis Jr. First album, produced by Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear. One of a plethora of soft-edged dream-pop albums that in many ways characterize the state of alt-indie rock this year, and far from the worst: tuneful, flows nicely, catchy in spots but not so garish as to be hooky. B+(*)

Two Door Cinema Club: Tourist History (2010, Glassnote): Group from Northern Ireland, first album; I keep reading things that look like a guitar-guitar-bass trio, but I hear a drummer, and someone is playing synth at least part of the time. Chirpy, bouncy songs; rather fun. B+(**)

Usher: Raymond V Raymond (2010, LaFace): Sixth studio album since 1994, when he was still in his low teens, his eponymous debut the only one not to chart in top five. Has no critical cachet, and evidently lives large without it. Pretty solid album: not much stood out, nothing sucked either. B+(*)

Usher: Versus (2010, LaFace, EP): Nine songs, 37:51, vs. 14 songs and 58:59 the this year's full-sized model. Strikes me that the concision is a plus: first song is pretty good, next two are better (hit singles, natch), with "DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love" choice over "Hot Tottie." Could benefit from further cuts: the closer, and for that matter the Justin Bieber remix. B+(*)

Lars Vaular: Helt Om Natten, Helt Om Dagen (2010, Bonnier/Cosmos): Norwegian rapper, from Bergen, b. 1984, third album, Google translates title as "Quite the night, until the day." Popped up at 9 on Dagsavisen's EOY list (between Motorpsycho and National), then I noticed that it's also on Chris Monsen's list, so plugged it into Rhapsody and was surprised to find it. Hard to be sure, but the music kicks around in interesting loops, mostly underground but he can bust a bold move (website promises "gangstarap, freedomrock, gatepop"). One guest rap in English doesn't disappoint nor does it disclose much. A-

Wildbirds & Peacedrums: Rivers (2010, The Control Group): Swedish duo, Mariam Wallentin and Andreas Werliin, considered experimental rock; showed up on a couple of jazz-oriented lists, but they play such influences close to the vest. Doesn't seem like much at first, but gradually takes shape, lures you in, never revealing much. B+(*)

Wolf Parade: Expo 86 (2010, Sub Pop): Montreal group, more upbeat than the dream-pop groups that have become the alt-indie norm of late, with a little keyb chiming in between the guitar(s), but not enough to be mistaken for punk. Third album since 2005. Some of this is fun, but some isn't, and not just the occasional change-up although that's part of the problem. Can't imagine it'd be worthwhile to sort out the diffs. B


Records I looked for but didn't find on Rhapsody:

  • Actress: Splazsh (Honest Jons)
  • Allo Darlin': Allo Darlin' (Fontana) *
  • ARP: The Soft Wave (Smalltown Supersound)
  • Autechre: Oversteps (Warp) *
  • Big KRIT: Wuz Here (Direct Connect)
  • Apollo Brown: The Reset (Mello Music Group)
  • Avi Buffalo: Avi Buffalo (Sub Pop)
  • Basia Bullat: Heart of My Own (Secret City)
  • Darwin Deez: Darwin Deez (Lucky Number)
  • Emeralds: Does It Look Like I'm Here? (Editions Mego)
  • Brian Eno: Small Craft on a Milk Sea (Warp)
  • The Ex: Catch My Shoe (Ex)
  • Forest Swords: Dagger Paths (Olde English Spelling Bee)
  • Future Islands: In the Evening Air (Thrill Jockey)
  • Ellie Goulding: Lights (Polydor)
  • Guido: Anidea (Punch Drunk)
  • Hunx and His Punx: Gay Singles (True Panther Sounds)
  • Hurts: Happiness (Sony)
  • Lydia Loveless: The Only Man (Peloton)
  • Roc Marciano: Marcberg (Fat Beats)
  • Menomena: Mines (Barsuk)
  • Mount Kimbie: Crooks & Lovers (Hotflush)
  • Joanna Newsom: Have One on Me (Drag City)
  • Oneohtrix Point Never: Returnal (Editions Mego)
  • Plan B: The Defamation of Strickland Banks (679/Atlantic)
  • John Roberts: Glass Eights (Dial)
  • Scuba: Triangulation (Hotflush)
  • Shed: The Traveller (Ostgut Ton)
  • Earl Sweatshirt: Earl (OFWGKTA)
  • Sun City Girls: Funeral Mariachi (Abduction)
  • Tame Impala: Innerspeaker (Modular)
  • Tyler the Creator: Bastard (Odd Future)
  • White Denim: Last Days of Summer (self-released)
  • Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby: Two Way Family Favorites (Southern Domestic)
  • Zola Jesus: Stridulum II (Souterrain Transmissions, EP)

Recycled Goods

The following were written during this period for Recycled Goods:

Fucked Up: Couple Tracks: Singles 2002-2009 (2002-09 [2010], Matador, 2CD): Twenty-five, actually, rolling up the Canadian punk/hardcore band's mostly short singles, spread over two discs even though the 73:03 would fit on one; good idea, introducing some variation intoan act that only knows a handful of basically sound tricks. B+(**)

Jazz Prospecting

The following were written during this period for Jazz Prospecting: