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He’s My Brother She’s My Sister
Nobody Dances in This Town - PARK THE VAN
FILTER Grade: 78%

By Laura Studarus on November 2, 2012

 

He’s My Brother She’s My Sister

Meg and Jack White weren’t actually siblings, but it’s doubtful that Robert and Rachel Kolar will disappoint us with such artifice. Swapping vocals with a big-tent revival swagger, these blood relatives imbue He’s My Brother She’s My Sister’s new album Nobody Dances in This Town with a down and dirty authenticity—regardless of the fact that they hail from Los Angeles. It’s a gritty trip from the barstool to the vaudeville stage…and just about everywhere in between. Opening salvo “Tales That I Tell” features Rachel doing her best gypsy Stevie Nicks impression. (Listen closely, you can almost hear the scarves swish in the breeze.) Likewise, Robert is no slouch, his wobbly bellow doing Alec...

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The Luyas
Animator - DEAD OCEANS
FILTER Grade: 84%

By Paula Mejia on November 1, 2012

 

The Luyas

There’s something about the frigidly beautiful landscapes of Canada that consistently deliver excellent, textured indie art pop, from Braids to Grimes to Purity Ring. With their latest, Animator, The Luyas embark on a sonorous, reflective work, with songs ranging from the quiet brilliance of opener “Montuno” to the gorgeous “Talking Mountains.” Delicate string arrangements and Jessie Stein’s gossamer vocals, at once charming and sinister, build the lush Animator, livening the spirit through both sun and shadow. 

Andrew Bird
Hands of Glory - MOM + POP
FILTER Grade: 84%

By Gianna Hughes on November 1, 2012

 

Andrew Bird

Hands of Glory, the companion to this year’s Break It Yourself, is an imaginative interpretation of Andrew Bird’s work viewed through the lens of folk tradition. The album reworks songs like “Orpheo Looks Back,” and reinvents others by artists like The Carter Family, making them relevant today in terms of sound and context. However, Bird stays true to his whimsical and intricate style while embracing the limitations of recording an acoustic set circled around a single microphone. 

Earlimart
System Preferences - THE SHIP
FILTER Grade: 82%

By Kurt Orzeck on November 1, 2012

 

Earlimart

Like catching up with an old friend, it’s a welcome delight to re-encounter Earlimart— even if you regret not having stayed in touch all these years. Principal players Aaron Espinoza and Ariana Murray didn’t drop off the face of the planet, having hooked up with the like-minded Jason Lytle of Grandaddy for their Admiral Radley affair. But it’s a joy to hear their sorrowful whispers and swirling, multi-instrumental collages after a four-year absence. 

Peter Gabriel
So [25th anniversary edition] - REAL WORLD/EMI
FILTER Grade: 87%

By Nevin Martell on October 31, 2012

 

Peter Gabriel

Driven by the funk-flecked “Big Time,” the rallying ballad “Don’t Give Up” and the Lloyd Dobler–approved “In Your Eyes,” So was a pitch-perfect album that balanced art and activism. In this expanded edition—which has been resequenced to match Gabriel’s original vision—rough demos reveal each song’s DNA, but most of them remain more of a scientific curiosity than a repeat-listen proposition. Much more compelling is an unreleased 1987 concert that captures the pan-global pop star transforming So’s songs and a few earlier hits into stadium-sized sing-alongs. Listening to these rousing renditions a quarter-century later, the light and the heat still shine strong. 

Paul Banks
Banks - MATADOR
FILTER Grade: 81%

By Mike Hilleary on October 31, 2012

 

Paul Banks

After assuming “Julian Plenti” in 2009, here Interpol frontman Paul Banks packages his second solo album as himself. Make what you will about what it means in terms of being more personal and/or introspective, the songs belong to Banks alone. While efforts in manipulating snipped field recordings and select instrumentals don’t reach the same bar as the rest of the artist’s signature dissonanced, dark pop (particularly with the excellent opener “The Base”), Banks’ phantasms manage a construct a decent corporeal form. 

Pinback
Information Received - TEMPORARY RESIDENCE limited
FILTER Grade: 85%

By Kurt Orzeck on October 30, 2012

 

Pinback

In the five years since Pinback went on vacay, indiephiles finally decided to embrace soft rock. Perish the thought that they aren’t acquainted with Pinback, who mastered the art of the quiet and smooth when it was still un-hip to like Fleetwood Mac and The Police. “I feel the cool water rushing over me,” Rob Crow croons on “Sherman.” Listen to Information—which is expertly manicured but never manufactured—and you will feel the same. 

Tamaryn
Tender New Signs - MEXICAN SUMMER
FILTER Grade: 84%

By Laura Studarus on October 30, 2012

 

Tamaryn

Tamaryn carry on where they left off on sophomore album, Tender New Signs, trading in the scorched, late-night shoegaze of lonely hearts. While working in such a narrow subgenre leaves little room for variance (pick a flavor: dark, ethereal or darkly ethereal), the San Francisco duo imbues every note with an oppressive, underwater grace. They come up for air on breathy single, “I’m Gone,” but this is a song cycle for those who like melancholy with a side of melodrama. 

Tame Impala
Lonerism - MODULAR
FILTER Grade: 89%

By Loren Auda Poin on October 29, 2012

 

Tame Impala

Terms like “psychedelic” still hold water with Lonerism, Tame Impala’s latest opus, but it’s almost impossible to be fully aware of what you’re hearing at first, so surprising and overwhelming is the onslaught. The level of musical complexity and pure joy produced here approaches the output of bands like murky synthbrains Boards of Canada or Brazilian weirdoes Os Mutantes, though perhaps with more aching melody and syrupy, avian majesty. The album coruscates like a bizarre alien jewel, and even the likes of Beatles studio wizard Geoff Emerick might be caught drooling over producer Dave Fridmann’s soundscapes. Synthesizer use among modern rock bands is ubiquitous, but often they become...

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Titus Andronicus
Local Business - XL
FILTER Grade: 83%

By Marty Sartini Garner on October 29, 2012

 

Titus Andronicus

Titus Andronicus used to make you work to come to a conclusion like this one: “Everything is inherently worthless / And there’s nothing in the universe with any kind of objective purpose.” Here, it’s the opening lyric of the opening track “Ecce Homo.” Few unpack their pain with as much charm as Patrick Stickles does on eight-minute centerpiece “My Eating Disorder,” and the group raging behind him on Local Business are minimalist punchers, cruiserweights mixing a little Thin Lizzy and Big Star pop-ulism in with the basement bile. 

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