Mini-Reviews and Recent Discoveries #1.

So I thought it would be a good idea to get into the habit of writing some reviews for releases that I’ve been trying out in recent days. Not huge reviews anyway, but a taste of what I’ve discovered lately– good and bad– that I think people might be interested in. Here’s the first installment, and we’ll see if I can keep this up over the summer!

S consists of Jenn Ghetto– formerly of Carissa’s Wierd– who were a really big deal to a lot of people it seems. S is very stripped down and sad indie folk, but with atmospheric and angular guitar playing. I’m not exactly sure how to explain it without saying mathy– which it isn’t really. It’s almost post-rock sounding, because her guitar is often drenched in delay while multiple vocal melodies wrap around and envelope each other. Let’s just say it’s not what you expect when you go into the album thinking it will be the usual rootsy-folk solo affair. It’s bound to turn some people off but I’m finding it to be a very interesting and engaging listen so far. You should check it out if you’re into Elliott Smith or Carissa’s Wierd.

On that note, here is another female fronted solo album that breaks the mold. Yes, this is also stripped down and atmospheric folk music, but Natureboy sounds more like if Beach House were to slow things down even more and went acoustic. Drums and synth both still make an appearance (often there are spaced out synths floating through the background) but the songwriting here carries what might otherwise have been dismissed as well-worn style. What Natureboy ends up being is a really wonderful album that is going to get a lot of play from my iPod in the coming days. If you’re into Beach House or Tallest Man On Earth, you’ll probably like this.

I was introduced to Allo Darlin’ when I read it was the most adorable record of the year. This might actually be true, as they play super twee/cute indie pop. There’s a lot of bands who do this style– and Allo Darlin’ do it fairly well I suppose– but I feel like the genre has reached a saturation point. There are some decent moments, like when they break out the chorus of Weezer’s El Scorcho in one of the better songs on here: ‘Kiss Your Lips’. This is the kind of album you keep around because someday you know you’ll use a track or two on a mix. Think Camera Obscura or Saturday Looks Good To Me. I can’t see myself listening to this a ton, but it’s not something I’ll get rid of.

Speaking of over-saturation, there are so many bands playing lo-fi pop these days. I grabbed Teenage Cool Kids‘ newest record Foreign Lands recently and enjoyed it, but it wasn’t until I listened to 2007’s Queer Salutations that I started to really love them. While they do fit into that lo-fi genre, the band actually incorporates punk-pop and 90’s indie-rock edge to stop it from being completely derivative. This is a pretty awesome summer record, it’s just a ton of fun. I’ve been wearing this one out, so you should check it out if you’re into earlier Superchunk, or Built to Spill.

Just for good measure I’ll throw the B-side off of Could Nothings‘ new 7″ Didn’t You titled “Even If If Worked Out”. Their debut cassette (Turning On) was a blast of catchy pop that I couldn’t get out of my head for weeks, so I’m pumped about this 7″. Both songs are great, but the B-side is what’s making me punch that repeat button all day. Hopefully they have a new long-player in the works because so far everything they’re doing, I like.

Dan Gorman
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