Short Takes on 3 Albums

Man Or Astroman? – Defcon 5 4 3 2 1 After a lengthy hiatus of almost 12 years, Man Or Astroman? has lifted off again with its 9th studio album, Defcon 5 4 3 2 1, out on Communicating Vessels.  Songs are propelled by guitar-driven rhythms and dissonance that are heavily influenced by Sonic Youth and surf rock alike. Opener “Defcon 5” careens … [Read more...]

Best Coast – The Only Place

Bethany Cosentino’s love affair with California is not exactly clandestine.  From the name of her band to the inclusion of the state’s likeliness on two consecutive album covers, the BestCoast frontwoman’s obsessions with all things Golden State is so profuse that it practically rivals the Beach Boys.  In fact, it’s pretty much a given that if you … [Read more...]

The Royal Sea – s/t EP

Surfer Blood. Best Coast.  Wavves.  As is evidenced simply by their handles, these acts have all successfully aligned themselves with the halcyon aesthetics of the ocean, forever branded as lo-fi heirs to the Golden State paeans begun by the Beach Boys some 45 years ago.  Soaked in imagery of palm trees, sunshine, and shaka signs, the allure of … [Read more...]

The Walkmen – Lisbon

For much of their career, The Walkmen have always been mired by what many consider to be the band’s best assets. Subtle touches and minimal compositions are at the core and around that is always some kind of guitar melody and Hamilton Leithauser’s uniquely essential vocals. On “While I Shovel the Snow,” he’s singing about the weather and … [Read more...]

Oberhofer – “o0Ooo0O0o” 7″ Single

You know, I wasn’t expecting to take the name "o0Ooo0O0o" literally the first time I spun the record, but that pretty much sums up what the title-track sounds like. Brad Oberhofer’s croaky wail climbs up and down those “ooh-oohing” notes with ease with a gently oceanic guitar behind him – think of a reverb-devoid Surfer Blood, or a roughed-up Beach … [Read more...]

Harlem – Hippies

Harlem are a little late to the party. Last year’s most blogged about ‘scene’ was the unlikely (and surprisingly inventive) unison of indie pop jangle and slimy, somewhat sarcastic, surf rock. It brought us the balmy likes of Girls, Best Coast, and Washed Out – all low-rent, electrified, and all strangely danceable. Harlem’s Matador debut Hippies … [Read more...]

Map – Speechless

Speaking about old standbys: the favorite bar to gather at after work, the best place for a brisk lunch, the trivial flick that always hits the spot; there are bound to be some disagreements. The members of Map pride themselves on their ability to carry consistently solid music with every changing album. And the constant remains the same with Josh … [Read more...]

The Bubble Project – The Technicolor Dream Machine

UK group The Bubble  Project will rot the pearly whites right out of your chunky gray and gooey pinks.  The band’s The Technicolor Dream Machine appears to be a concept album about an unknown being traveling around a galaxy fit for a 1950s B-movie in search of love, which finds finality with a proposal to Astro Girl (the seemingly infinite “Will … [Read more...]