Kellie Lloyd – Magnetic North
Kellie Lloyd plays bass for veteran Australian band Screamfeeder and this is her second solo outing. There’s a great range of songs on “Magnetic North”- from big soundscapes to sweet pop to dark slow burners, Lloyd is a talented song writer with a clever turn of phrase. The early transition of the Yo La tengo-esque Insect “Wings on Ice” to the brittle and brutal” We Are Made of Stars” is an early highlight, while the latter half of the album sees Lloyd exploring more spacious and experimental sounds. The broken down instrumental of “Your Call is Important To Us” is a fine conclusion to a superbly structured album. There’s surprises around every corner on magnetic North, and what very pleasant ones they are.
SexyWaterSpiders – Black Gold
Portland’s SexyWaterSpiders are an experimental garage bands of sorts with a bizarre and brilliant array of sounds. “Black Gold” mixes funk, punk and psychedelic elements to create a sassy album that entertains and confounds in equal measure. The album kicks off with the title track and “Bad Boys By The River Bed”-terrific sweaty garage numbers with real swagger-and from there the album takes all manner of delightful twists and turns. ”Sway” is an epic psych folk wig out and “Caravan” is a booming rocker, reminiscent of Tom Waits at his most monolithic. It’s “Spirit Dome” that impresses most though-a wondrous techni-colored romp that’s highly danceable. Impossible to pin down, SexyWaterSpiders are a band of bizarre and startling creativity.
Campfires - Laurentide
Also hailing from Portland, Campfires are an indie rock band who have been together for some time and “Laurentide” is their best release to date. Opener “Fail By Design” and the title track are slightly of kilter folk rock songs that evoke the sound of Devendra Banhart while ”C’est La Vie” sees the band move into power pop territory. The punchy brace of “Black Obsidian Knives” and “Come on Out” are brief but not lacking in charm, these are beautifully understated songs. With their psychedelic leanings and jangly sing alongs, there’s a distinctly warm feel to “Laurnetide” that glows from within each song. A blissful release from Campfires.