Sign Up for FILTER Newsletters

Reviews

Adam Green & Binki Shapiro
Adam Green & Binki Shapiro - ROUNDER/CONCORD
FILTER Grade: 82%

By Clare R. Lopez on January 31, 2013

 

Adam Green & Binki Shapiro

 

Pulling off a “his” and “hers” duet is not as simple as it may seem. As anyone who has ever witnessed a karaoke rendition of “I Got You, Babe” can attest, a lackluster performance can easily sound cheesy and fall flat. As with any musical partnership, chemistry is essential to a vocal pairing. And on their full-length collaboration, friends Adam Green and Binki Shapiro make quite the duo. Set to soft, vintage pop refrains, his deep resonance and her lullaby croon effortlessly complement one another. While Green and Shapiro write about romantic tribulations, they avoid overdoing it by keeping these tracks brief and letting each other’s vocals stand out—Shapiro sings the whimsical...

Read More

Ducktails
The Flower Lane - DOMINO
FILTER Grade: 83%

By Kyle MacKinnel on January 29, 2013

 

Ducktails

The Duckman cometh yet again and this time he’s got ancillary waterfowl for days. Behind us is Real Estate member Matt Mondanile’s solo project, Ducktails, and rippling across the pond is Mondanile’s other band, also Ducktails. Now flanked by four supporting members—including the dudes from Big TroublesThe Flower Lane provides width for Mondanile to freely explore bluesier, spacier frontiers, and the fresh air to achieve a cohesive clarity that builds on the successful points of his previous efforts. A recurrent affinity for sensual sci-fi vibery emerges here, as seen on “Planet Phrom” (“Out past the stars that shine/Makin’ love with my alien wife”). At the end of the day, Mondanile is...

Read More

Tegan and Sara
Heartthrob - WARNER
FILTER Grade: 85%

By Staff on January 28, 2013

 

Tegan and Sara

On their new album Heartthrob, Canadian indie rock duo Tegan and Sara change direction toward a more polished pop sound. From the opening single “Closer” to the final track “Shock to Your System,” the songs are full of danceable hooks and mainstream-radio-friendly vocals. Still, the change is not so drastic, except perhaps for the most fanatic fans of the band. Even while the production is the slickest of any of their albums (thanks to producers Greg Kurstin and Justin Meldal-Johnsen), the songwriting is still as earnest and heart-on-the-sleeve as ever; Tegan and Sara’s vocals keep their back-and-forth rhythm of echo and counterpoint, belting out the songs with as much emotion as ever. If...

Read More

Nightlands
Oak Island - SECRETLY CANADIAN
FILTER Grade: 76%

By Ken Scrudato on January 24, 2013

 

Nightlands

While genetic engineering can be loads of fun, Dave Hartley has decided instead to channel the notions of the family profession into aural pleasures. As Nightlands, he conjures a sound that indeed has something of a scientific undertone. Tracks like “Time & Place” and “So Far So Long” are ethereal, and full of longing, but rather than emotional urgency, there’s a curious calm about the proceedings—as if to say, I long for you, but I’ll also be doing just fine without. There are some mildly Talking Heads-y grooves, but there’s no getting away from the sonic relation to ’70s-period Eno, which works to startling effect on “Other Peoples Pockets.” And when he lets loose with a gloriously...

Read More

The Growlers
Hung At Heart - EVERLOVING
FILTER Grade: 86%

By Alejandro Rubio on January 23, 2013

 

The Growlers

After traveling the country and corrupting countless young virgins in their “California Church Teen Choir” tour bus, those surfing marijuanos from Orange County are finally back with another gothic beach party for their friends. The Growlers’ third full-length album sounds like a sketchy Tijuana pharmacy that’s got a little “something” for everybody. Salty honky-tonks like “Pet Shop Eyes” and “Derka Blues” appear alongside guitarist Matt Taylor’s psychedelic boleros like “It’s No Use,” which sounds like Los Panchos caught in a riptide. Then there’s “One Million Lovers,” which features cantina balladeer Brooks Nielsen crooning above the oscillating carnival organ and elastic baritone...

Read More

Toro Y Moi
Anything In Return - CARPARK
FILTER Grade: 85%

By Zachary Sniderman; photo by Andrew Paynter on January 22, 2013

 

Toro Y Moi

Chaz Bundick, the hero and creative mind behind Toro Y Moi, has said over and over again that he just wants to make good pop music. Anyone who has heard his blissed-out, funk-based beats realizes that pipe dream might be a little ways off. It’s probably unnecessary to mention here that Anything in Return, Bundick’s third record as Toro Y Moi, isn’t quite “California Gurls.” Musically, though, it’s the very best thing Toro Y Moi has accomplished, with complex rhythms and attentive, near-perfect production—distinct essentials that have prevented all of Bundick’s tunes from fading into blips of obscurity. 


In 2010, Toro Y Moi released Causers of This, a debut record that launched a...

Read More

FIDLAR
FIDLAR - MOM + POP
FILTER Grade: 86%

By Alejandro Rubio on January 22, 2013

 

FIDLAR

It might’ve happened after the first time Henry Rollins punched some dude in the face, but somewhere along the line, punk rock got a little too serious and forgot what it was like to be a wiry, fun-loving nihilist. Well, thanks be to God for FIDLAR’s first full-length, here to lead us back to that gamy golden age. From the adrenal rock-and-roll guitars on “Cheap Beer” to the guttural shrills on “Cocaine,” every song here champions that adult adolescence and “fuck it” ideology that has always made the genre so damn appealing. These guys were born into this—brothers Max and Elvis (drums and guitar) are the sons of T.S.O.L. keyboardist Greg Kuehn. With anthems like...

Read More

The Joy Formidable
Wolf's Law - CANVASBACK/ATLANTIC
FILTER Grade: 80%%

By Mike Hilleary on January 21, 2013

 

The Joy Formidable

In 2011, Welsh trio The Joy Formidable made one hell of a mission statement with their full-length debut The Big Roar and fully embraced the record’s title with an unapologetic, rafter-reaching noise, cemented by the airy vocal foil of pixie frontwoman Ritzy Bryan. The band’s sophomore follow-up Wolf’s Law finds the group continuing to climb that established mountain of sound—they’ve learned something from actually playing the arena-sized venues they’d wished for with Roar. Unlike their debut—which could sometimes have moments equivalent to loud machine-gun fire, occasionally hitting its intended target but blurring together and exhausting itself—the tracks on Wolf’s Law are like...

Read More

Smashing Pumpkins
Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness [deluxe edition] - EMI
FILTER Grade: 88%

By Nevin Martell on December 4, 2012

 

Smashing Pumpkins

Perhaps one of the most ambitious efforts of the ’90s, the Smashing Pumpkins’ creative zenith can still hold its head high a decade and a half later. The sprawling double LP was never perfect—its majesty and lofty aspirations were sometimes overshadowed by its preposterousness and self-indulgence—but Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness’ triumphs far outweigh its failures.

This impressive expanded edition drives that point home by giving insight into the record’s rich gestational process. Three bonus discs come loaded with 64 extra tracks (many unreleased), including demos, alternate takes and new mixes. There is a lot to process here, but that’s why noise-cancelling headphones, shag...

Read More

The Evens
The Odds - DISCHORD
FILTER Grade: 84%

By Marty Sartini Garner on November 30, 2012

 

The Evens

Ian MacKaye’s got this thing about hiatuses. Given that the six-year drought between records he’s released with partner Amy Farina is now quenched, and with Fugazi still a sleeping giant, it might be time to start talking about The Evens as something more than a side project. On The Odds, MacKaye and Farina—on baritone guitar and a minimal trap kit, respectively—don’t challenge their by-now established conventions, but wreak incredible havoc within them. At their wooliest, the pair sound like MacKaye’s other band stripped down for an in-store; the “jails in search of prisoners” chant that caps “Wanted Criminals” could’ve been taken from The Argument, while “Competing With the Till” is...

Read More

Next Ten Reviews

   Older Reviews >>