Weekend Watch: Reviews from the Week of 11/9By Music Staff | 13/11/15 5:00pm
Carroll – Carroll (Entertainment One)
By Matt Reise
Passively Trippy Indie Rock To Take a Bath To
Four Minnesota sad boys formed Carroll to release their feels in the form of trippy indie rock, which their first full-length album Carroll does flawlessly. The sound of Carroll could be described as closing your eyes and leaning back into a bath tub, fully submerging yourself into the warm, clear water. Once immersed, you crack your eyes open to see misshapen ripples distorting the world above—flurries of violet and pale blue swim around the taupe bathroom tile. You pull your head out for air, only to realize that you had been bathing in a hazardous, milky green liquid. For some reason, though, you are still content with the encompassing warmth, feeling coddled and at home. In other words, something about the music is both comforting but slightly twisted.
Carroll does a fantastic job of being passively trippy. You’ll notice yourself bobbing your head to the ebbing waves of sound as they gently bash against your head. “Green Acres” is a colorful and pensive track wrought with dissonance to symbolize inner turmoil and clashes of the head and heart. Songs like “Alligator” and “Bad Water” are a bit more driven and deliberate. “Hang on Desert Island” is an emotive, troubled odyssey and features a sick, distorted musical outro. The sunniest song on the album is of course “Daylight”, whose acoustic arpeggios give the track a bit of pep. Carroll didn’t win multiple Best New Band awards across the nation for nothing—keep your eyes on these guys as they fly through the ranks.
RIYL: Deerhunter, Alt-J, Local Natives
Recommended: 2, 3, 4, 7
The Secret Storm – The Dragon EP (Self-Released)
By Krystal Chong
Taking you on a sensual journey of a fleeting and dark love
From the moment the first note hits in the “Fast Lane” you’re immediately sucked into this deep and intimate void of a doomed love that is obsessive and confused. Under the guise of The Secret Storm, Lauren Hoffman is the voice and the force of nature behind the deeply honest and almost carnal depiction of love throughout the album. Her lyrics are underlined with the deep reverberating sounds of the bass, cello, and guitar that exemplify the intensity and intimacy that she reveals through her lyrics.
The Dragon EP taps into the inner turmoil and turbulence that is falling in love. “Fast Lane” describes the brilliant and breathtaking first moments of love when you know ‘there is no better drug than running blindly into love’. “Sick With Love” tells of the all-consuming feeling that envelops you when you’re deep into its troughs. It all then takes a dark turn in “Feel It All” when it becomes unknowingly obsessive and perplexing. Finally culminating in “Dragon” where she describes it all being “lover of a monster and I’m his dutiful wife”.
Her voice is sultry and her lyrics are intrinsic. The EP takes you through a journey that doesn’t sugarcoat the emotions behind a bright and blinding love that burns out.
RIYL: Lady Lamb, The xx, a mind trip into the planet of feels
Recommended: #1, #2, #3
Grupo Fantasma - Problemas (Blue Corn Music)
By Jason Tillotson
Latin-Pop meets Rock and Roll
There is a lot going on here in this album which makes for a concoction of sharp, yet smooth bass kicks and loud, but not obnoxious, guitar solos throughout each track. On this album you will be blessed with hearing the classic and typical nature of a Latin artist, which usually includes a sappy love story of how a strong-willed, yet emotionally-wrecked young male loses the love of his life, in tracks such as “Porque” and “Nada”. However, at the same time, you will hear the jazzy and somewhat rock n’ roll-ish sounds of “Roto el Corazon” and “That Night” (this one actually almost made me think I was listening to Foghat or something). Listen to this album for the killer mixing skills too. I’m not sure who these guys have producing for them but whoever it is, he deserves another Grammy.
RIYL: Empresarios, Plan B, Ginza
Recommended Tracks: 4, 9, 11, 12
Los Angelics – Land of the Brave and Dangerous EP (Fun League)
By Bradley Erickson
An edgy rock vibe fused with supplementary electronics.
This extended play by Los Angelics makes the listener simply want to get up and move. This style of electric rock allows Los Angelics to put more energy and life into their music that an electric guitar and electric bass could not quite create. The clearest example of this technique in practice is “Growing Young.” The electric bass line exists in this song, however it is played through electronics. In most instances an actual bass sound adds more to the music, but in this case the electronic color provides more forward momentum and depth that the average bass player can contribute.
The electric rock approach also allows Los Angelics to sound more like pop. Most pop music lures one in with catchy rhythms and lyrics just long enough to have the listener click buy and download on iTunes. Land of the Brave and Dangerous EP certainly creates that urge in listeners. Unlike most formulaic pop, this EP has replay value. The lyrics provoke enough thought to keep the listener interested after he tires of the chord structures, melodic lines, and rhythms. Los Angelics deserves a listen and should be on everyone’s musical radar in the coming years.
RIYL: AWOLNATION (not “Sail”), SOHN (more electronic based)
Recommended Tracks: 1, 3, 4, 5
Cold Fronts- Forever Whatever (Sire)
By Rebecca Jacobs
Upbeat indie rock for solo dance parties
Since Cold Front’s start in 2010, the only constant member has been founder and lead singer Craig Almquist. After going through 15 different members, becoming basically a solo act, and tackling a number of hurdles, Cold Fronts has finally released their debut album Forever Whatever.
In an interview with Consequence of Sound, Almquist discusses what influenced the making of Forever Whatever while summing up the dramatic road leading up to its release. When asked about the first track, Buschleague, Almquist states “It’s about being treated like amateur when you know you’re destined to be pro. It’s about saying fuck it, I’m not going to listen to people who try and get in the way of my dreams”.
Forever Whatever certainly embodies Almquist’s rebellious mindset. This is an album to blast while jumping on your bed or speeding on the highway. It’s fun fueled and energized, with brazen guitars and crashing drums filling every track. This exhilarating, head banging rock album has low key notes of dark angst near the end, making this an album to jam out to for any occasion
RIYL: FIDLAR, The Front Bottoms, The Black Lips
Recommended: 1, 3, 5
The Neighbourhood - Wiped Out! (Colombia)
By Samantha Young
Chilled-out SoCal beach goth indie rock.
As a The Neighbourhood superfan, take this review with a grain of salt. This. album. is. amazing. After their successful debut LP I Love You, fans around the world heavily anticipated the followup. After a long period of activity, fans were afraid California-based the Neighbourhood’s sound would have changed too much. But they have grown, evolved, and matured while still keeping that iconic sound. Rhythmic yet melodic filtered acoustic guitar beautifully drives most songs on the album under killer, rap-esque drum beats and singer Jesse Rutherford’s sexy, breathy voice. This album features some slower songs, compared to the driving, more upbeat songs of I Love You. It’s the perfect soundtrack for smoking weed with someone gorgeous on the beach in California. It even has the sounds of waves drifting in and out of the album. It'll take you away to the night lights of Los Angeles or a sunny, carefree beach in Malibu. “Greetings from Califournia” embodies the ever persistent hype of California as some sort of paradise. And it’s convincing. It’s something not quite attainable or achievable— it really makes you believe that Los Angeles is the city of angels. And it’s almost boy band esque, but in a good way. Like an indie rock NSync meets the Weeknd, with sinister undertones and a R&B influence. It’s a new level of uber cool, with perfectly constructed breezy pop songs that's very Tumblr, very over-the-top cool and trendy.
Recommended: 2, 3, 6
RIYL: Lana del Rey, Arctic Monkeys, The Weeknd
Glint- Extrovert EP (Votiv)
By Chloe Baierl
Cognitive behavioral therapy via rock music
Glint made the right choice naming this EP Extrovert, because it definitely sounds like what an extrovert would produce if you asked them to make music about their mopey feelings. Instead of sad, slow folky music that makes you want to cry in bed all day, Glint creates powerful rock melodies that manage to mix melancholy with hopefulness. In “All Is Well” you can basically hear them logically sing their way through their problems. with lines such as “lost broken friends fell into two/ times were hard but we pulled through” and “we reunite by my side, preparing for a brand new ride”. They explore a more synthy side of this theme in the song “The Truth Lies Within Us”, but the same mood persists. Times are tough for poor ol’ Glint right now, but through therapeutic alternative rock they’ll cure what ails them, yo.
RIYL: Warpaint, Explosions in the Sky
Recommended Tracks: all three of them
Lushes- Service Industry (Never Better)
By Danny O’Sickey
Lulling indie rock with a bit of noise
Service Industryis a good album. Lushes combine the drone of Parquet Courts with the space of Sonic Youth with generally positive results. It kicks off with the upbeat, Soundgarden-esque “Low Hanging Fruit.” The high-energy vibe quickly crashes on “Bleach” and “Auction”, two songs which follow the Pixies model of quiet to loud. The remainder of the album ditches the intermittent energy for various styles of lull. Lushes touches briefly on calming acoustic, draining drone, bass-heavy groove, repetitive toms in the style of Parquet Courts, minimalistic instrumentation in the style of Kurt Vile’s b’lieve im goin down, and pretty guitar. “You Only Have”, “Circus”, “Grey Tiles”, and “Shed Weight” are the strongest executions of these different styles of lulling music. “You Only Have” is strongly reminiscent of Sonic Youth’s eponymous album without sounding specifically like any of the tracks from it. “Circus” is a more dynamic and more enjoyable take on Parquet Courts, showcasing one of the few bursts of energy past the first three tracks. “Grey Tiles” could easily have been the last track as it does an excellent job of bringing the energy down to nonexistence, but it would mean that the album would be deprived of “Shed Weight,” an even stronger closer. “Shed Weight” incorporates, in reverse order, the tensions of the first three tracks with the calming lull of the rest of the album. In doing so, it wraps up the album very well, leaving the listener inclined to view the album more favorably than it may otherwise warrant.
Service Industry is a good album, but is not a great album. It lacks great tracks, though it has a couple which are very strong. It lacks glaring faults, though it has a couple which miss the mark.
RIYL: Parquet Courts, Sonic Youth, Motorama
Recommended:1, 7, 9, 10
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard- Paper Mâché Dream Balloon (ATO)
By Ian Evans
60’s psychedelia revisited again.
Also from Australia, there’s King Gizzard! There’s been a lot of releases from Australia on the rack right now(Royal Headache, Dune Rats, Hierophants). Continuing with King Gizzard’s reputation for being all over the map with the garage rock and the weird psychedelia, Paper Mâché Dream Balloon seems to be more 60’s pop psychedelic. “Bone” has some great sweet vocals with a flute and killer drum fills. It’s a 1960’s revelation complete with messing around with the right and left side stereo settings. “Paper Mache Dream Balloon” sounds like a flower power rendition of an Unknown Mortal Orchestra tune. The song features very intense and strong drum fills and the false-etto, effect heavy, UMO-like vocals. “Trapdoor” takes a darker but mostly weirder turn. It uses the same instrumentation as before but vocals are strange and the higher tempo makes the music frantic. “The Bitter Boogie” is a more bluesy tune with the droning guitar of Canned Heats “On the Road Again”. In fact, the first four songs on the album sound like Canned Heat, if they made an album in the style of “Going Up to Country”. To me, it really sounds like the band were listening to the group in the RIYL when writing these songs. The power duo of “Time =Fate” and “Time = $$$” is great. They both are great pop tunes with pretty acoustic guitar and harmonized vocals. Say what you want about the style of the album, there’s a lot of versatility and instrumentation at play in Paper Mâché Dream Balloon. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, as weird as it feels to say are really coming into their own in terms of songwriting. I even think there’s a wind instrument in every song on the album.
RIYL: Canned Heat, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Thee Oh Sees, Tame Impala
Recommended Tracks: 2,4,6,7