Owls of the Swamp – ATLAS

written by: Max Green on April 30, 2014

Pete Uhlenbruch, the man behind the moniker Owls of the Swamp, populates ATLAS with charming poetics. Though the record offers an enjoyable ticket down a floating, earthy rabbit hole, Owls of the Swamp’s latest release is sometimes bogged down by its own passivity and veers into lackluster lands. However, much of ATLAS is the stuff of fantastic dreams. Uhlenbruch’s […]

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TEEN – The Way and Color

written by: Max Green on April 16, 2014

Brooklyn’s TEEN has followed up its 2012 debut, In Limbo, with a more fleshed-out, rhythmically diverse and in some ways less obvious record. The pretty, spacey pop appeal of its debut is still present on this second release, but the approach is more streamlined and impactful. The Way and Color opens with a bouncing bassline that sounds […]

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Wedding Dress Ambles Down a Darker Aisle

written by: Max Green on April 15, 2014

“It’s not always a good thing to explore those darker tangents, but for better or for worse in this band, if the songs want to go there, we are going to go there.”

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Deleted Scenes – Lithium Burn

written by: Max Green on April 9, 2014

Deleted Scenes doesn’t seem to know how to make music without wearing its heart on its sleeve. On Lithium Burn, the group’s third full-length album, the band hits on a nagging nostalgia that feels like careening into adulthood while embracing the wonder you’re not supposed to hold on to. Their sound is concentrated into a […]

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Ghetto Ghouls – Ghetto Ghouls

written by: Max Green on March 28, 2014

On their self-titled debut, Ghetto Ghouls manage to sloppily smudge the line between form and content. Slouching purposefully, Ghetto Ghouls characterizes itself in a manner similar to bands like the mid-2000s Bananas, concerned with documenting an energy and a feeling rather than cultivating an attractive and approachable surface. The band’s lo-fi brand of garage-punk comes off as […]

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Perfect Pussy – Say Yes to Love

written by: Max Green on March 18, 2014

Say Yes to Love, the hopeful-by-way-of-drowning-irony title of Perfect Pussy’s debut full-length record, eloquently captures the sentiments reflected on its eight-track, thrashing barrage. Staggering confidently from noise-rock to punk, Say Yes is many things in many moments. Vocalist Meredith Graves’ bark overlays manic progressions with a kind of can’t-be-fucked-with honesty. Her inflections are not overt, but […]

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Withered Hand – New Gods

written by: Max Green on March 14, 2014

Sharp-tongued, hazy like a wavering mirage, and touting honed wit, Dan Wilson returns with the sparkly New Gods, his first release as Withered Hand since 2009’s Good News. Cleaner, more streamlined, and a tad less cockneyed than he let across on Good News, New Gods doesn’t oversee a strikingly different territory than its full-length predecessor, but paints a more reflective […]

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Iska Dhaaf – Even the Sun Will Burn

written by: Max Green on March 8, 2014

On Even the Sun Will Burn, Seattle-based two-piece Iska Dhaaf has crafted a hyper-palatable stream of alternative pop. Their sound engages by playing on melodies that are a bit pre-digested, but classic nonetheless. The pair has the key to a tool box full of properly honed implements used to craft a stylistic menagerie of tunes: they excel at listenability, […]

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Diane Cluck – Boneset

written by: Max Green on February 27, 2014

Boneset, Diane Cluck’s first album since 2006, is like a welcoming tune pouring out of a haunted house, projected from behind drawn shades. Her songwriting recalls a pensive sensibility similar to Laura Marling, equally fragile but more esoteric. It offers a maturity on par with some of Joni Mitchell’s musings and content, but is delightfully rougher […]

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Direct Effect – Sunburn

written by: Max Green on February 25, 2014

On Sunburn, Florida-by-way-of-Philadelphia noise rock outfit Direct Effect crafts a temperamental sound that’s like throwing screeching feedback, cheap beer, potent edibles, and a good bit of pop sensibility into a blender cranked to eleven. “[ ],” the first single, is a treatise in the erratic. It begins with double tracked, taunting guitars that seem to forgo […]

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Kalle Mattson – Someday, The Moon Will Be Gold

written by: Max Green on February 18, 2014

Under an umbrella label like folk-rock or Americana, it takes more than an acoustic guitar to make a name for oneself. Kalle Mattson fuses popular elements of each of those genres to adorn his specific region of folk-tinged, triumphant nostalgia and makes a solid case for his latest record being wheat rather than chaff. Informed […]

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DTCV – Hilarious Heaven

written by: Max Green on February 10, 2014

About halfway through Hilarious Heaven, DTCV’s (pronounced “detective”) quirky and exploratory debut release, the murky picture that the band had painted of itself up to that point began to take a more defined shape. Heaven, which packs 26 songs into just over an hour, is the work of seasoned players who are pushing the boundaries of […]

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