i hate the sound of guitars

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Entries from Apr 2011

quick take : little scream : the golden record

29 Apr 2011 · No Comments

When I heard “The Heron and the Fox,” it knocked me out. In that subtly arranged song, lovely finger-picked guitar and an extraordinary vocal performance from Little Scream leader Laurel Sprengelmeyer (delicate to the point of fragiliy, with unusual phrasing) unite to deliver a narrative that’s intriguing but ultimately obscure. It’s probably the strongest composition, [...]

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Tags: 2011 · acoustic · indie pop · indie rock · l · quick take · secretly canadian

quick take : the long tangles : silver city

29 Apr 2011 · No Comments

The Long Tangles have coined a term to encompass the many husband and wife indie pop/rock outfits: matrimony rock. Their take puts wife Courtney Han’s vocals and the keys (piano, specifically, on many tunes) way out front. I find it quite pleasant, if a little unassuming (a lot less thorny than, say, Quasi). Hans’ voice [...]

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Tags: 2011 · indie pop · l · quick take · self-released

quick take : the naked and famous : passive me, aggressive you

28 Apr 2011 · No Comments

If I didn’t know The Naked and Famous were from New Zealand I’d be positive they were Canadian. It’s not that they sound specifically like, say, Arcade Fire or Metric, but they combine modern indie rock, new wave, and just a smidge of disco in simpatico proportions. The Naked and Famous add a goodly quantity [...]

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Tags: 2011 · electropop · indie rock · n · new wave · quick take · somewhat damaged

heads up! the stairs

27 Apr 2011 · No Comments

Ryan Walsh, leader of the much-beloved-’round-here Hallelujah the Hills, used to be in a band called The Stairs, who released a pair of albums and some odds-and-ends. Looking at ‘em with hindsight, The Stairs recordings seem like a bit of an exploratory/learning/growing experience, with Walsh and crew figuring out their songwriting and performing strengths, and [...]

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Tags: indie pop · indie rock · lo-fi · s · self-released

quick take : horrid red : pink flowers (ep)

27 Apr 2011 · No Comments

Sounds like Joy Division for once not because of a gloomy baritone voice, but because bass and guitar parts recall Peter Hook and Bernard Sumner. Also sounds a bit like the instruments were at one of a tunnel, and the recording equipment was at the other. Some of this is hooky and/or pretty enough to [...]

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Tags: 2011 · h · indie rock · lo-fi · new wave · post-punk · quick take · softabuse

quick take : la sera : la sera

27 Apr 2011 · No Comments

La Sera is helmed by Vivian Girls bassist/vocalist Katy Goodman, which both is and isn’t relevant — on one hand both acts share a solid pop foundation and a distinctly retro quality to the writing (I had to check the credits to be sure none of these songs weren’t obscure 50’s/60’s chestnuts). But on the [...]

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Tags: 2011 · hardly art · indie pop · l · quick take

quick take : johnny foreigner : certain songs are cursed (e.p.)

26 Apr 2011 · No Comments

I love this band so much, and here are four more reasons why. The first two songs (”What Drummers Get” and “Twin Sisterzz”) operate in JF’s primary mode: high energy, with yelpy vocals, song sections colliding into each other like bumper cars, with surprisingly compelling hooks (and sometimes quiet, pretty bits, too, lurking amid the [...]

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Tags: 2011 · alcopop · indie rock · j · quick take

quick take : the rationales : the distance in between

22 Apr 2011 · No Comments

Somewhere between roots-rock and power pop, with some swell vocal harmonies. Veteran producer Ed Valausksas stitches it all together nicely. If I were in a quibbling mood I’d say some of these songs are stretched out a tiny bit more than might be optimal, but the under-two-minute “Braedon” certainly isn’t; it’s my fave. Other highlights [...]

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Tags: 2011 · power pop · quick take · r · roots rock · self-released

quick take : age rings : black honey

21 Apr 2011 · No Comments

Let’s just deal with it head-on: Ted Billings, front man for Age Rings, sings more than a little bit like Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. Age Rings is decidedly a rock band, but one that incorporates a lot of different moods and textures, often with prominent keyboards, bringing in horns and even winds now and then. “Rock [...]

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Tags: 2011 · Rock · a · quick take · self-released

update : mars classroom : the new theory of everything

18 Apr 2011 · No Comments

One disadvantage of my “quick take” approach to album reviews is that sometimes my response to a record changes significantly over time. Fortunately on the internets I can amend earlier commentary when I think it’s necessary.
I’ve been feeling bad about my initial response to Mars Classroom’s The New Theory of Everything almost since I posted [...]

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Tags: 2011 · Happy Jack Rock · alphabetical · indie rock · m · power pop