Often marked by ceaseless home recordings and a self-contained cassette culture…lo-fi land hasn’t always been the most accessible or audible path to rock pasture. But a few compelling storylines in recent years have widened the trail. Perhaps none more consistent or scenic than Woods, who’ve dropped a stellar album annually since 2009 breakout Songs of Shame. Constrasting light 60s folk-rock with dark, extended psyche ruminations, Sun & Shade is aptly titled, and trademark Woods. There’s never been a better time to sit back and take this band in.
alt=”” title=”Ford & Lopatin: Channel Pressure” width=”640″ height=”360″ class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-205002″ /> [BoxTitle]Ford & Lopatin: Channel Pressure[/BoxTitle] [Listen]http://soundcloud.com/factmag/sets/ford-lopatin/s-vHRwJ[/Listen]
Channel Pressure begins like a broken cable box, flipping through stations without a care for context—it’s an express introduction to synthesized over-stimulation, something Brooklyn’s Ford & Lopatin (formerly Games) celebrate somehow both ironically and wholeheartedly. On their debut LP, Joel Ford (Tigercity) and Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never) are not shy about their infatuation with one of the 1980’s biggest exports: glossy pop jams. This thing is one freeze frame high-five hook away from sporting a Member’s Only jacket. And while that could spell novelty, F&L are no amateur beat-heads; they’ve warped enough here to inspire multiple tune-ins.
[BoxTitle]Battles: Gloss Drop[/BoxTitle] [MusicVideos]http://heavy.com/music/music-video/indie-music-videos/2011/05/battles-ice-cream/[/MusicVideos] [Listen]http://soundcloud.com/daftdreamy/sets/battles-gloss-drop-2011/[/Listen]
For most bands, the departure of your frontman is nothing short of an identity crisis. Unless you’re Battles, an act originally conceived through instrumentals, and ultimately defined by a knockout cross of bionic math rock and thrilling avant-pop. True, without former guide Tyondai Braxton, Gloss Drop can’t quite reach the processed peaks found on Mirrored. But vocal drop-bys from Gary Numan, Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino, and Matias Aguayo come well-placed and unforced.
[BoxTitle]Black Lips: Arabia Mountain[/BoxTitle] [MusicVideos] http://heavy.com/music/music-video/indie-music-videos/2011/03/black-lips-go-out-and-get-it/%5B/MusicVideos%5D [Listen]http://grooveshark.com/#/theme/arabiamountain/225[/Listen]
Famously untamable “flower punk” revival band meets Grammy award-winning pop producer, Mark Ronson. This 6th album, and first with an outsider in the studio, could have been a disaster. And yet, based on their tour antics over the years, disaster is generally something these guys welcome with arms (or mouths) open. This might be the closest they’ll ever get to sounding polished, nevertheless, even fans of their grittiest efforts would be trying too hard not to dig this refined-without-sterilized (and still pretty raw) garage rock collection.
[BoxTitle]Arctic Monkeys: Suck It And See[/BoxTitle] [MusicVideos]http://heavy.com/music/music-video/indie-music-videos/2011/03/arctic-monkeys-brick-by-brick/[/MusicVideos]
Arctic Monkeys never stopped charming the world with their witty accents and wistful guitars, it’s just that the crush Buzztown, USA once had on the Brits has cooled with each release since their beloved 2006 debut. Elsewhere, particularly their homeland, these guys have only gotten hotter; they’ve matured, and arguably progressed under the spotlight—a weight that could have easily gotten the best of a lesser band. Whether or not universal admiration gets rekindled, Suck It and See fearlessly dares us to at least give it a try.