With new album Pumps, Brooklyn-based avant-electronic outfit Growing is the closest it's ever been to making straight-ahead club tracks. Since their last record, 2008's All the Way, they've expanded to a trio with new member Sadie Laska, also of IUD and Extreme Violence, who lends samples, electronics, and chopped-up vocals to these celestial jammers. Read more »
Reviews: Rock / Indie
The intriguing, undersung indie pop of Jeremy Jay's first few records feels wholly of another time and place. Sauntering somewhere between Del Shannon, the Field Mice, and the Left Banke, he ties together the wistful, romantic pop sounds of yesteryear for an alluring end result. In 2009, Jay ventured abroad from his hometown of Los Angeles to London and recorded Splash, his third LP and arguably his most satisfying artistic statement to date.
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If the age-old adage is applicable here, Steal Your Face is the storm following the calm of Mi Ami's debut, Watersports. "Harmonics (Genius of Love)" opens the SF band's sophomore effort using all of their sonic elements at once: reverb-addled vocals, dubby basslines, distorted guitar work, and propulsive drumming. Read more »
These New Puritans were tossed into the "art rock" genre following their 2008 debut, but that might have been a pre-emptive classification. Hidden, the quartet's second LP, is packed with references both obscure and banal, skittering between sparse post-punk and anthemic industrial sounds. Frontman/co-producer Jack Barnett geeked out on the Foley during the recording process, eventually including taiko drums, a wind ensemble, and the sound of biscuit-covered melons being smashed as musical elements. Read more »
Maybe it's the two members with art-school backgrounds, but Liars have a knack for taking clichés to sublime places. Considering that the distance between their first album—the apex of dance-punk that might also be a joke at its expense—and the post-grunge miniature songcraft of 2007's Liars seems smaller than some would have you believe, it makes sense that Sisterworld sounds like more of a conceptual wager than a stylistic one. Read more »
White Hills' last album, Heads on Fire, flared and throbbed in the peak-era Hawkwind/Comets on Fire vein of robust space rock that appeals both to stoners and acid acolytes. However, the New York-based group considers this self-titled album, its fourth overall, to be a new phase in its evolution. "Dead," though, starts the disc with more of that roiling, majestic rock—no real departure, even with Oneida's Kid Millions playing drums. Read more »
Siblings hate being compared to one another, but it's impossible to listen to Josiah Wolf's debut effort without thinking of Yoni Wolf, WHY?'s master wordsmith and Josiah's brother/band mate. Perhaps if Josiah's work stood apart from Yoni's in any real, audible way, we could ignore the fact that the two are, in fact, related to one another. Read more »
For those reading the title of Xiu Xiu's latest record and wondering, "They're kidding, right?" the answer is: probably. Because despite packing the group's last six albums with some of the most serious heart-on-sleeve lyrics ever heard in indie rock, frontman Jamie Stewart actually has quite a sense of humor—and it seems like it's finally beginning to surface. At the very least, Dear God, I Hate Myself marks a new level of maturity and self-awareness for the band. Read more »
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