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Reviews: Rock / Indie


Review: Yeasayer Odd Blood

Yeasayer's 2007 debut, All Hour Cymbals, was the closest thing indie rock had come to world music since the Talking Heads released Fear of Music 20 years ago—a jittery blend of religious folk, West African polyrhythms, and synthesized experimentation. With Odd Blood, the Brooklyn trio has left behind its most obvious ethnic influences—and its environmental anxiety—for a tighter, more polished sound. Gone, too, is much of their debut's organic instrumentation. Read more » 

Review: Dinowalrus %

Label: Kanine

In comparison to the noisy rock sounds propagated by contemporaries such as HEALTH, Ganglians, and Liars, Dinowalrus is a far more unhinged outfit whose heavily reverberated atmospheres, herky-jerky basslines, and warped soundscapes bring to mind earlier days of post-punk. Read more » 

Review: Clipd Beaks To Realize

Calling an album "mature" is often a death knell for creativity and excitement, but in the case of To Realize, it's good thing. Clipd Beaks have never been tied to traditional songwriting—their 2006 Preyers EP and 2007 full-length, Hoarse Lords, were both cacophonous collections of spastic yelps and unruly bursts of noise—but To Realize is downright epic. Read more » 

Review: Kap Bambino Blacklist

Label: Because

Although Kap Bambino's reputation as a shit-hot live act is well established, Blacklist, the Bordeaux duo's third album, doesn't quite capture the group's on-stage magic. Read more » 

Review: Patrick Cowley and Jorge Socarras Catholic

Label: Macro

A few years ago, some San Francisco DJs and music enthusiasts happened upon a stack of unreleased tape reels featuring collaborations between gay disco icon Patrick Cowley and multi-instrumentalist Jorge Socarras. Shockingly, Catholic was not a Hi-NRG disco album along the lines of Cowley's production for Sylvester, but a multi-genre concept work that hardly contains any typical disco elements. Read more » 

Review: Owen Pallett Heartland

Label: Domino

Filled to the brim with ambitious, orchestral arrangements and an army of instruments, it's easy to forget that Heartland is the work of one musician. Owen Pallett, the man formerly known as Final Fantasy, builds his live violin-and-vocal setup into a serious wall of sound on his third full-length. Read more » 

Review: Little Dragon Machine Dreams

Label: Peacefrog

Machine Dreams, the second album by Sweden's Little Dragon, treads similar territory as The Knife's Deep Cuts. Sure there are some differences—Little Dragon's instrumentation is largely influenced by Prince-styled sex jams and Tom Tom Club's percussive R&B—but songs like "Feather" and "Looking Glass" are direct descendants of The Knife's contemporary classic "Heartbeats." Things do get a bit more interesting when singer Yukimi Nagano and the rest of band allow their compositions to breathe. Read more » 

Review: Pink Skull Endless Bummer

Label: RVNG

The latest album from Philly's dance-obsessive weirdos Pink Skull initially seems to have transitioned the outfit into more accessible territory. Endless Bummer begins with "Peter Cushing," a sugary disco-house track that could lure teens onto an all-ages dancefloor, but the rest of the record doesn't follow suit. Read more » 

Review: Cobra Killer Uppers and Downers

Label: Monika

Still dolled up like fetishized East Berlin schoolmarms, Gina D’Orio and Annika Trost have kept up their art-damaged moxie, for better and worse. Uppers and Downers finds the pair unleashing more go-go swing, electroclash sleaze, and enough cryptic lyrics to puzzle feminist dissections for ages—on "Hello Celebrity" the girls catcall wonton-eating stars. Indie guitar icons Thurston Moore and J. Mascis show up on “Hang Up the Pinup” to flesh out a scuzzy metal jam while the ladies randomly hack up their vocals. Read more » 

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