Echolocation – Revenge of the Yes Men

Despite its seemingly heavy dependence on the deadpan delivery pioneered by Mark E. Smith of The Fall, Echolocation isn't just a Fall-ripoff band. The band isn't that easy to peg at all, actually. At times heavy and abrasive (as on "Another Thing"), at times pastoral ("Leap of Faith"), and at other times almost dada ("Fish Muzik"), Echolocation … [Read more...]

Matthew Dear – Black City

2007’s Asa Breed saw Matthew Dear reassign the priorities of his solo identity. The funky microhouse and techno minimalism which served to structure his first two solo albums was repurposed to serve as the hooky color of an album filled with pop arrangements. Dear’s vocals moved to the fore, singing verses and choruses like a confident frontman, … [Read more...]

Snake! Snake! Snakes!- s/t EP

I can't ever imagine saying "hey, let's go see Snake! Snake! Snakes! tonight," but a band can name themselves whatever they want. However, I do get the honor of reviewing the debut, self-titled EP of a young, ambitious band. Snakes! takes the art-rock approach, surprisingly underused, using layered, dense arrangements. They mix in violins, organs, … [Read more...]

Dozens – Dozens EP

This Chicago trio have taken a page out of Radiohead’s playbook and are offering their latest release as a download on their website for whatever you are willing to pay, although payment is optional. I suggest the songs are worth at least as much as something you would pay for from iTunes. The 5 tracks on this self-titled EP contain elements … [Read more...]

Miss Autopsy – Caterpillar

Caterpillar is either art rock or a mockery. I side with the latter. The band responsible, Miss Autopsy, is one Steve Beyerink. Although often described as a bothered blend of post-punk and blues, Miss Autopsy's sound is best likened to musical performance art--the kind you might hear at a middling poetry slam. The repetitive, distressed songs … [Read more...]

Polvo – In Prism

Guitar-stranglers Polvo dissipated with little fanfare, except to the consternation of their college rock cult following, after the tour for their previous album, Shapes, which came out on Touch and Go in 1997. After the eclectic sprawl of 1996’s double album Exploded Drawing, Shapes was a mirage of an album that sounded austere and severe, more … [Read more...]

Drawn From Bees- And The Blind Shall Lead The Way

One of the drawbacks of pop music is the tendency to blend into the crowd. Too many bands pass off albums that sound like they could have been recorded by 10,000 other bands. What is frustrating is that those albums usually aren't bad, they just don't have anything that makes them stand out. Pop music's formula shouldn't be too hard to figure out, … [Read more...]

Plans Plans – Col. Williamsburg

If you ever worked at or listened to your local college radio station, then the music of Maryland-based Plans Plans will sound uncomfortably familiar. Remember those instances of nonsensical vocals and lyrical incoherence, and the blatant examples of lo-fi production values with big drums and fuzzed-out bass? There’s plenty of it to be found on … [Read more...]