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The Babies
Our House on the Hill - WOODSIST
FILTER Grade: 84%

By Paula Mejia on November 13, 2012

 

The Babies

The Babies create indie folk tunes that are, on the surface, sweet. Yet where Vivian Girls’ Cassie Ramone and Woods’ Kevin Morby display a refined talent is in having their most morbid thoughts still shimmer with a youthful glow. Fuzzy while never saccharine, Our House on the Hill dispels any notion of a sophomore slump. With the entrance of bassist Brian Schleyer, and solid, plucky guitarlines, the result is a sumptuous follow-up, particularly with “Get Lost,” while “Slow Walkin” hits as a rambling soundtrack to aimless highway drives. Reaching outward from their traditional garage-folk vibe, “That Boy” forays with down-home riffs and country licks, while “Baby” reverberates with a...

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Clinic
Free Reign - DOMINO
FILTER Grade: 83%

By Tamara Vallejos on November 13, 2012

 

Clinic

On Clinic’s 2010 record, Bubblegum, Liverpool’s surgical-mask-wearing foursome took its frenetic post-punk into new, relatively subdued territory. That laidback aesthetic is again present on Clinic’s latest, Free Reign, but it’s morphed into something significantly trippier, and infinitely more seductive. Each of the record’s nine tracks casts a uniquely hypnotic spell that transports us into varying landscapes; “Cosmic Radiation,” with its groovy, pulsating jazz foundation, sends us onto a sprawling, free-floating journey to the edges of space and back, while “King Kong” takes us into dark, smoky rooms, where each flash of a strobe light uncovers a deliciously illicit deed. Common...

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Dirty Projectors
About To Die - DOMINO
FILTER Grade: 80%

By Gianna Hughes on November 12, 2012

 

Dirty Projectors

Although Dirty Projectors released Swing Lo Magellan earlier this year, the band has already returned with an EP centered around one of the LP's most resonant tracks, "About to Die." The four-song EP cannot only be viewed as an extension of Swing Lo Magellan, but as a thematic examination of "About to Die." In comparison, the EP is not as polished as its full-length companion, but it can be viewed as a peek into David Longstreth's process—the female harmonies are mostly absent from this EP—or merely as another solid collection of songs by Dirty Projectors. Either way, the band has proved time and time again that their innovation knows no bounds.

About to Die opens with its title track,...

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The Soft Moon
Zeroes - CAPTURED TRACKS
FILTER Grade: 70%

By Gianna Hughes on November 12, 2012

 

The Soft Moon

The Soft Moon’s sophomore album Zeroes is an experimentation in industrial sound that doesn’t fully hit the mark. At times, you are able to lose yourself to the layering of apocalyptic sound. And at others, you can become distracted by the urgency of the synthesizers, droning vocals or anxiety-laden tones. Surely, you will need to witness Zeroes in a live setting to fully experience the sensory effects Luis Vasquez was aiming to encapsulate. 

Solid Gold
Eat Your Young - TOTALLY GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT
FILTER Grade: 76%

By Bailey Pennick on November 12, 2012

 

Solid Gold

After the release of its 2008 debut Bodies of Water, Minneapolis synth-pop trio Solid Gold became well known in the scene for its unique brand of falsetto-filled electronic ballads dripping with glam rock influences. It certainly caught the ear of GAYNGS’ Ryan Olson, who readily signed the band to his indie label (also the home of Poliça). After all of this waiting and anticipation for a follow-up, Eat Your Young doesn’t really get interesting until it’s almost over. After several dragging tracks full of emotionless wailing (“Shock Notice,” “Nice Flight”), the title track finally reminds us why there was so much buzz about Solid Gold in the first place: beautifully layered vocals,...

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Crystal Castles
(III) - CASABLANCA / UNIVERSAL REPUBLIC
FILTER Grade: 84%

By Ken Scrudato on November 12, 2012

 

Crystal Castles

Just when you thought there was no relief from far too many twee indie bands, Crystal Castles return on their chariots of fire to remind us just how grim the world really is. And, be assured, their third release, the edifyingly monikered (III), is absolutely, positively not a love song. Already skirting the perimeter fences of nihilism, Ethan Kath insists that real-life events have caused the band to further ratchet up the doom for this outing.

With Kath acting as sole producer for the first time (it’s hard to imagine anyone else pulling this off), (III) was appropriately recorded in Berlin and Warsaw, two cities that not all too long ago were bombed within a rat’s tail of annihilation....

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Calvin Harris
18 Months - ROC NATION / ULTRA / COLUMBIA
FILTER Grade: 85%

By Adam Pollock on November 9, 2012

 

Calvin Harris

While not traditionally an album-selling artist (at least in this country), the star-studded lineup featured on his new long-player, 18 Months, might change Calvin Harris’ trajectory in that regard. Or, he may just sell a gazillion more singles. A number of tracks from 18 Months have already been released and are influenced in large part by the bold-faced names associated with them: Ne-Yo, Kelis, Rihanna. The list doesn’t stop there. A thrilling guest vocal by Florence Welch adds an excitingly dark vibe to the album, which for the most part stays in booty-shaking mode. The Ellie Goulding track “I Need Your Love” is another highly anticipated single, and is also on Goulding’s new album,...

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Prince Rama
Top Ten Hits of the End of the World - PAW TRACKS
FILTER Grade: 74%

By Kyle MacKinnel on November 9, 2012

 

Prince Rama

For those who crave concept behind their music insatiably, a Hare Krishna upbringing, hand-drum interludes and mantra chant cycles would typically be enough to suffice. That is, unless you’re like the chicks from Prince Rama. For their sixth record, Taraka and Nimai Larson devised the concept album to end ’em all—literally. The songs on ...End of the World were allegedly channeled through the sisters Larson from 10 deceased pop bands that perished in the apocalypse. These “ghost bands” span many genres, and sport comically veiled names (Nu Fighters, Taohaus). It’s a real coloring book of an idea, but too many crayons and a shaky hand have left the original images looking blurred.

Diamond Rings
Free Dimensional - ASTRALWERKS
FILTER Grade: 76%

By Alejandro Rubio on November 9, 2012

 

Diamond Rings

The moment the needle catches the groove on Free Dimensional, white-hot electro-effects romp through New Order–meets–G-funk dance beats while Diamond Rings’ seductive baritone harmonizes scandals of unrequited love and ambivalent liaisons. And although every track could potentially shatter your hip, there are still a few rockers like “Runaway Love,” which charge past with a frenetic lead and automatic drumbeat that could earn an A-OK from Bernard Sumner and Stephen Morris. 

…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead
Lost Songs - RICHTER SCALE/SUPERBALL
FILTER Grade: 84%

By Adam Pollock on November 8, 2012

 

…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead

Trail Of Dead’s eighth full-length is a blistering jackhammer of fuzzed-out guitars and searing vocals that reminds us that these boys haven’t let their foot off the accelerator since the mid ’90s. A welcome noise to these mandolin and Simon & Garfunkel–influenced days, Lost Songs is anything but: muscular songwriting, enviable melodies, ferocious playing, dazzling production. It’s wondrous catharsis in four-minute segments. 

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