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Reviews: Rock / Indie


Review: Atlas Sound Logos

Label: kranky

Bradford Cox (a.k.a. Atlas Sound) may lead a rock band, Atlanta’s Deerhunter, but on his own, he commands altogether hazier and more fragile armies. Last year’s Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel was all loops, electro-static, and burbling reverb—Deerhunter stuffed into a microchip. Now with the folk-tinged Logos, Cox is finally letting some air into the room—along with some friends. Read more » 

Review: A Grave with No Name Mountain Debris

Label: Lefse

Largely conceived in the London bedroom studio of frontman Alex Shields, Mountain Debris is an impressive collection of distortion-bathed pop tunes that manages to stand out, even in an increasingly crowded lo-fi field. Combining a rough-around-the-edges pop pedigree with the warm fuzz of C86, the bleak soundscapes of vintage shoegaze, and just a hint of sweet psychedelic swirl, A Grave With No Name crafts impressively affecting songs that rarely crack the two-minute mark. Read more » 

Review: El Perro Del Mar Love Is Not Pop

Sarah Assbring (a.k.a. El Perro Del Mar) takes a break from the baroque Spectorian pop of her first two LPs on Love Is Not Pop, which was produced with assistance from Rasmus Hägg, one half of balearic duo Studio. Puffs of Ibiza air don't do much to remedy Assbring's permanently inconsolable mood, though the scenarios are less coded than in the past—"Gotta Get Smart" opens the album with Assbring setting up a lover for a dumping apparently long in the making. Read more » 

Review: Neon Indian Psychic Chasms

Label: Lefse

In the realm of Neon Indian's Psychic Chasms, producer Alan Palomo is the wizard behind the curtain and his own personal Oz has no future, only memories of life and music past. Read more » 

Review: General Elektriks Good City for Dreamers

Label: Quannum

The sophomore release from General Elektriks (a.k.a. Honeycut/Blackalicious keyboardist Herve Salters’ solo project) is, much like Honeycut, a quirky mix of retro funk and New Wave-y indie rock with some sublimely orchestrated musical moments. Salters is no Serge Gainsbourg, but the passable falsetto he displays on “Take Back the Instant,” “Little Lady,” “Engine Kickin’ In,” and “You Don’t Listen” suggests he may have picked up some vocal tips from Honeycut bandmate Bart Davenport. Read more » 

Review: Cougar Patriot

Label: Counter

Instrumental rock is a hard sell, especially the brand made by Wisconsinites Cougar. The band's music is often chaotic, constantly changing and fiercely ambitious. On their second album, their experimental leanings are on full display, with music that can be considered "rock" only in the loosest sense of the word. Cougar's more interested in intensity than accessibility, so when songs work—see the crashing, layered “Florida Logic” or the tinkling loveliness of “Pelourinho”—they carry a visceral directness. Read more » 

Review: A Place to Bury Strangers Exploding Head

Label: Mute

The press promptly hailed A Place to Bury Strangers as “the loudest band in New York” when the trio released its self-titled debut in 2007—quite a compliment considering the masses of sonic terrorists lining up to play Brooklyn’s DIY venues. Now with Exploding Head, APTBS has refined its industrial shoegaze into something more tuneful, but no less brutal. Actual songs peek out from under the great morass of singer Oliver Ackermann’s scathing guitars. Read more » 

Review: WHY? Eskimo Snow

Label: Anticon

Recorded at the same time as their last album, the boys of WHY? aren't exactly reinventing the wheel here. Luckily for the band (and its fans), Alopecia was a fine record and the WHY? formula doesn't really require a whole lot of tinkering. Yoni Wolf's distinctive speak-singing and penchant for introspective lyrics remains intact, as does the band's talent for ramshackle pop melodies. Read more » 

Review: HEALTH Get Color


If HEALTH's self-titled debut was a warning flare, then consider Get Color an all-out aerial assault. The L.A. Smell veterans have always been impressively noisy, but the band's sophomore effort finds them wielding all their fuzz, static, and sonic squall in the service of potent and powerful songs. Guitars are razor-sharp and distortion-heavy. Thunderous drums and menacing electronics recall the fury of '80s industrial. Read more » 

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