Ladies Auxiliary – My Side of the Mountain

Anyone even partially invested in the emo boom at the turn of the century is likely to recall onelinedrawing, the given handle for scene godfather Jonah Matranga’s acoustic rock solo project.  Armed with a 6-string, a decade’s worth of intensely personal songs and some programmed drum loops, Matranga’s output under the onelinedrawing alias was … [Read more...]

Little Tybee – Humorous to Bees

One of the trickiest things to do in music is combine influences without sounding derivative. It takes true skill, focus, and cohesion of minds to channel multiple genres into a fresh, genuine and organic new identity. On its second LP, Humorous to Bees, Little Tybee has done just that. With a wonderful blend of styles and a fun, free vibe, the … [Read more...]

Sunset – Loveshines But the Moon is Shining Too

Prolificacy and eclecticism are often two sides of the same coin. Even as they frequently shared a droney groove, what you got from a Sunset album in the past sometimes seemed about as predictable as a flip of that coin. While wildly conceived and generous with ideas, they never seemed to hit that sweet spot that the best albums do by offering you … [Read more...]

Canasta – The Fakeout, the Tease, and the Breather

Chicago orchestral pop sextet Canasta has been riding a giant (and much deserved) wave of hype since their debut EP – Find the Time – was released to critical acclaim in 2003. Boasting a formidable lineup of multi-instrumentalists and a pop sensibility that gave equal nod to both melody and texture, frontman Matt Priest and his bandmates shrewdly … [Read more...]

Southerly – Champion Of The Noisy Negativists EP

Portland-based musician Krist Krueger loves trying new things – and succeeding at it.  Something of a one-man musical monopoly, he not only performs on stage but is also a professional recording engineer, record label manager, and runs a booking agency.  Far from beleaguered by a mind that refuses to rest, Krueger instead uses this to his … [Read more...]

Efterklang – Magic Chairs

With any ability comes the urge to explore it. For Efterklang, this naturally meant being complex and virtuosic, culminating with the massive orchestrations on 2007’s impressive but overblown Parades. After gaining massive popularity in their home base of Denmark and touring the hell out of Parades with an extended lineup, they seem to have … [Read more...]

múm – Sing Along To Songs You Don’t Know

Over the years, Icelandic experimental musical collective múm (pronounced "moom") have seen a revolving door of musicians and singers, and they are a few years removed from the imaginative, crackling electronic fairy tales of their first two excellent albums, Yesterday Was Dramatic - Today Is OK (2000) and Finally We Are No One (2002). And while … [Read more...]

Venice Is Sinking – AZAR

If every band that went into the studio planning to make their last album came out with a gem as brilliant as AZAR, then I wish all bands would adopt a similar mindset. With only one full-length under their belts, but with a questionable future, the Athens, GA band went into the studio to record their final chapter. But engineer Scott Solter … [Read more...]

Stencil – The Dead Lie Golden

Stencil would like you to believe that their debut album, The Dead Lie Golden, is an eclectic mix of musical moods with cinematic lyricism influenced by the likes of Elliot Smith, Sufjan Stevens and Neutral Milk Hotel. But to me, the quintet from Seattle sound more like a cross between the neo-psychedelic soft-rock heard on Midlake’s The Trials Of … [Read more...]