It’s that time of the decade again. Every three years this happens and we must reevaluate our stance on Coldplay. You just read one recently here, and now Mylo Xyloto, a vague concept album about “a love story with a happy ending” that is roughly…all over the place, will no doubt challenge millions to care and also, sell millions of copies. Brian Eno is back on the dials, and he’s succeeded in making Martin and Co, for better or worse, soar higher than ever before (see: the infinite strings and chants of “Paradise”, the ridiculous catchy pulse of ridiculously titled “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall”, and the cascading synths of Rihanna-guesting “Princess of China”). It’s as advertised really: a neon spray-painted graffiti of ideas—some of it pretty, and some of it, inexplicably irritating.
† (or Cross), was a massive hit in 2007, marking the peak of electro house on the indie-sphere. Seems we’ve all moved on since then—an unfortunate truth for the French duo with a penchant for dirty, muscular synth theatrics and leather jackets. And yet, all that history could perhaps be corrected with a Daft Punk-ian comeback. Predicatively Audio, Video, Disco falls short of complete triumph. This take is however, a rather heavy-hitting event, this time around taking cues from Zeppelin and AC/DC instead of the robotic figureheads. If you can deal with the Banger crowd, sounds like these could make for one robust live show.
It’s been two years since Surfer Blood took the hype-world by storm with their delightful brand of anthematic lo-fi rock off the unlikely coast of Florida. Now a seasoned live act (and currently opening for The Pixies), they’ve taken on more straightforward popcraft with Tarot Classics. There’s something bold right away about returning with an EP—deciding four crisp tracks is right for the job, and they make good use of its short lifespan. Lead-off “I’m Not Ready” goes upbeat college rock radio ready, “Miranda” furthers the veer into 90s-land, “Voyager Reprise” suddenly anchors down, and the staggering “Drinking Problem” decisively reminds us that these guys have more depth than the “surf-pop” tag gives them credit for.
Opening on a line like “we’re full grown men, but we act like kids,” screamed until his throat goes horse, John McCauley is declaring his raucous intentions early on Divine Providence, Deer Tick‘s fourth and liveliest LP to date. The band has expressed their desire not to get too squared into one category (which formerly would be country-rock) and these appear to be a cluster of booze-fueled blues stompers set for achieving that very distinction. They’re known get silly live (having recently split live sets as a Nirvana tribute band called “Deervana”), and this is an attempt to capture that energy on record. It’s a sort of throwback, organ-backed E-Street Band-lite rock—if your thing, go for it.
Denver pysch-rock quartet Woodsman can make a great deal of noise live (see the two drummer, two guitarist setup, with long hair flying everywhere in our recent CMJ photos), but they also know how to create space, melody, and, as featured prominently on their 5th release since 2009, mood. Almost entirely instrumental, Mystic Places is a heady beast, brutally focused on texture and rhythmic tension. This is a trip, indeed.
See What’s In The Spotlight