XLR8R - logo



Ted Leo Hearts of Oak

Label: Look

America's mod prince in waiting, Ted Leo, pops the trunk and gives us his second merciless full-length. While his previous album was a bit more satisfying-all blister'd hooks and visceral surging-Hearts of Oak splays open and shows that Teddy is more an honors grad from Beat Surrender U. He can both fill the dance floor at yr next house party and give up a poetic new lexicon to that special league of post 9-11 rage/disgust/Bush-induced apathy we've all got a-brewin'. Gleefully mashing polemics (think D. Read more » 

Joshua Lardue Landscape Tracks

Label: Afterhours

Seeing as LaRue's a member of both Chicago's dubby post-rock outfit HIM (one of the best live bands I've ever seen) and D.C.'s The Sorts, it's not surprising that this album bears comparison to groups such as Tortoise and 5ive Style. Best known for his guitar work, LaRue here utilizes the digital studio to become a one-man band, with occasional help from guests such as HIM founder/drummer Doug Scharin and Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty. A playful and mellow instrumental rock album that makes excellent use of electronic possibilities without losing one bit of that great live feeling. Read more » 

Hausmeister Weiter

Label: Karaoke Kalk

As Hausmeister, Christian Przygodda makes sublime house music. But, erm, not that kind of house. His delicately crafted pop vignettes are tailored for prosaic home activities. Part Sound Library cheek, part ambient etude, part Brian Wilson homage, Weiter sounds not unlike if Sean O'Hagan had grown up in Berlin and been raised on minimal tech-house and Caetano Veloso. Harpsichords neighbor 4/4 pulses. Breezy acoustic guitars neighbor drum machines. And your hand keeps hitting the repeat button. Smart hand. Read more » 

Gresham It's Always Been There

Label: Function 8

At first, San Francisco's Gresham makes me think of Jamiroquai. But where the British group's singer Jason K could usually deliver soulful crooning and well-composed pop songs, Gresham's vocals lack feeling, as if he were singing in his sleep. It's an affect that works for a song or two, but by the end of the disc, we're all suffering from heavy eyelids. This well-produced acoustic rock album has some nice solos and melodies, but the result is mostly torpid melodic loops that have no destination. This is the feeling of a bar band that makes you want to leave and drink elsewhere. Read more » 

Bottleskup Flenkemkenmike Looks Like Velvet, Smells Like Pee

Label: Broklyn Beats

For a lightning jolt, chomp into an electric blanket. It has a fuzzy layer, but when you get down to the core it's a shocker. The blanket of the moment was hand-woven by Bottleskup Flenkenkenmike a.k.a. Aiden Girt, a master of disguise. Mr. Girt is the drummer for Godspeed You Black Emperor! Read more » 

Colorform Send Forth Your Soul

Label: Synchronic

James Allen's debut recording-an EP by name but a tidy 38 minutes long-is a surprising first release for DJ Spooky's Synchronic label. Devoid of the conceptual grandiosity of Spooky's writings and the murky mestizaje of his recordings, Colorform's music is a warm and enveloping swirl of house beats, orchestral samples and sci-fi sound design edited into a drifting (but hardly shapeless) stream-of-consciousness flow. The most immediate reference might be Jimpster's 1999 album Messages from the Hub, in which jazz expressionism pooled with ambient impressionism in an amniotic haze. Read more » 

Data 80 S/t

Label: Force Tracks

While producers like The Neptunes and Timbaland were raking in accolades with their syncopated stencils of late-'90s electronic beats, Håkan Lidbo was busy restructuring pop sensibility to meet with the tenets of digital disco. His results are a catchy and soulful tech-house that adds sincerity to the bromidic four-minute verse-chorus-verse song structure. Read more » 

Bosco & Jorge Ally in the Sky

Label: Sixgunlover

It'll take you a whole 26 seconds to guess this was made in Chicago. And indeed a glance at the sleeve will reveal guest credits for Isotope 217's Rob Mazurek and the brothers Navin from Aluminum Group. Apparently, Bosco & Jorge, otherwise known as Bill Lowman and Brad Gallagher, met as kids at a Leo Kottke concert. Lo and behold, years later, they're still not straying far from Kottke's rustic, fingerpicking Americana. Read more » 

Antonelli Electric Love and Other Solutions

Label: Italic

Over the past year, Stefan Schwander has released countless excellent 12"s on Italic, and appeared on Mille Plateaux, Output, Ego and ~scape compilations under guises like AG Penthouse, Pop Up (w/ Jorg Burger), Repeat Orchestra and Rhythm Maker. Love and Other Solutions finds him roaming from the crisp tech-house of prior full-lengths in favor of drifting, unanchored post-Kompakt musings that are appropriately searching but rarely find their destination. If there's a metaphor to find in this, I haven't found it yet. Read more » 

Follow us on...

Get the lowdown weekly newsletter

XLR8R Downloads Player