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Django Django
Django Django - RIBBON
FILTER Grade: 77%

By Evan Wallis on October 16, 2012

 

Django Django

Django Django’s self-titled debut is full of natural and synthetic sounds that are blended with an unnatural ease. A synth-filled beats swings in. A cricket chirps. Guitar riffs churn. People howl. The result is a vibrant 13-song album that is overlaid with chanted lyrics that sometimes turn dull. Thankfully, the British quartet’s musical toolbox is well stocked with everything from psychedelic surf rock to Arabian-inspired electro pop that allow them to hammer through the vocal monotony.

Black Moth Super Rainbow
Cobra Juicy - RAD CULT
FILTER Grade: 80%

By Paula Mejia on October 15, 2012

 

Black Moth Super Rainbow

Demonic citrus masks and an Eric Wareheim–endorsed Kickstarter to raise funds for a new album? It’s definitely none other than Black Moth Super Rainbow, the elusive Philadelphia collective flourishing in an alien world, where the weird and wonderful complexities within electronica reign. Latest release Cobra Juicy drips with the group’s trademark heady synthesizers, as well as infectious hooks and punchy electronica to craft their most melodic and accessible record to date. Great job! 

Trash Talk
119 - ODD FUTURE
FILTER Grade: 75%

By Marty Sartini Garner on October 15, 2012

 

Trash Talk

At their best, the rough punks in Trash Talk sweat hardcore down to its essential nubbin on 119, their first record for Tyler, the Creator’s label. There are fist pumps and breakdowns aplenty here, and while the group’s penchant for humid power-dirges threatens to sink 119 in its middle, they’re unbeatable—but only when they skip the accoutrements and just bang away at high speed. 

Ty Segall
Twins - DRAG CITY
FILTER Grade: 85%

By Zachary Sniderman on October 12, 2012

 

Ty Segall

Ty Segall has released just about a million albums but Twins could be his best yet. Here, the prolific West Coaster goes a different direction, favoring dark, Sabbath-era guitars and filtering every song through a pedal called the “Fuzz War.” As can be imagined, Twins is a little heavy but Segall mixes that sturm und drang with some light touches and a healthy dose of jangly psychedelia. Amidst the fuzz and noise, Segall has turned out a raucous blitz of an album that deserves your play, if it doesn’t break your speakers first. 

Beth Orton
Sugaring Season - ANTI-
FILTER Grade: 77%

By Nevin Martel on October 12, 2012

 

Beth Orton

Though it took this doe-eyed Anglo six years to finish her latest effort, not much has changed. Orton still favors sparse neo-folk touched up with gracefully emphasizing strings as a backdrop for her enchanting vocals. Though this approach yields a few sweet moments on Sugaring Season—especially melancholic, piano-driven “Last Leaves of Autumn”—it all feels a bit saccharine. It’s the kind of music you don’t pay attention to while you’re shopping at IKEA. 

AC Newman
Shut Down the Streets - MATADOR
FILTER Grade: 81%

By Loren Auda Poin on October 11, 2012

 

AC Newman

AC Newman, with former bandmates Dan Bejar and Neko Case, were the aughts’ palace-court mavens of sublime pop. With Shut Down the Streets, Newman proves this supremacy still counts for something. The nitro-powered esoterica of his New Pornographers days has faded, though, in favor of a more restrained beauty. On the standout “You Could Get Lost,” a repeated cliché attains majestic significance, proving that simplicity is often a popsmith’s best weapon in the war against boredom. 

The Vaccines
Come of Age - COLUMBIA
FILTER Grade: 78%

By Zachary Sniderman on October 11, 2012

 

The Vaccines

The Vaccines are back—and a little pissed. Here, the messy/charming quartet team up with Ethan Johns to augment their electric guitar rock with the producer’s polish and pedigree, sharing the mic about the difficulties of youth and girls that don’t like them and, like, not really caring about them either. The record is more balanced, but that youthful spark is harder to find. The Vaccines may have come of age, but they were more fun as a bunch of kids.

Freelance Whales
Diluvia - MOM + POP/FRENCHKISS
FILTER Grade: 77%

By Daniel Kohn on October 10, 2012

 

Freelance Whales

After spending two years on the road promoting their debut album, 2010’s Weathervanes, Freelance Whales are back faster than some may have expected. Riding on the coattails of a successful freshman effort, the Queens natives pushed themselves even farther for the follow-up, Diluvia. With producer Shane Stoneback (Cults, Vampire Weekend, Fucked Up) at the helm, this album continues to explore elements of dream-pop, albeit with a bigger, more ambitious sound. Songs like the dreamy “Follow Through,” the folky, uptempo “Spitting Image” and the mystical “DNA Bank” capture the band at their most comfortable selves. Unlike other, overambitious acts who try to overextend themselves with lengthy,...

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Tilly & The Wall
Heavy Mood - TEAM LOVE
FILTER Grade: 82%

By Tamara Vallejos on October 10, 2012

 

Tilly & The Wall

Heavy Mood is Tilly & the Wall’s first record since 2008’s o pushed the hand-clapping, tap-dancing quintet into a spotlight that included an appearance on one of television’s greatest gifts to humanity: Sesame Street. But while the band certainly show off a self-confident, youthful attitude, their tunes might generally be a little too aggressive for the kiddie set. Sure, a track like gal-pal anthem “Thicker Than Thieves” does a great job of highlighting the power of friendship, but parents might object to the whole “we’ll fuck some bitches up” suggestion. And the album’s lead single may promote love and peace, but “Love Riot” sounds like a hyper-sexed apocalyptic protest march that might...

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Lord Huron
Lonesome Dreams - IAMSOUND
FILTER Grade: 82%

By Loren Auda Poin on October 9, 2012

 

Lord Huron

A plethora of slow-expanding gongs, brash cymbal shimmers and other such dramatic drippings depend like sheeny webs from the sharp and assured songwriting on Lord Huron’s Lonesome Dreams; singer-songwriter Ben Schneider has obviously been at this quite a while, building musical muscle and polishing his sound with gusto. Some of these gauzy, reverb-tastic liltings you’ve heard first from bands like My Morning Jacket and Fleet Foxes, but on certain songs, most notably the title track and “The Man Who Lives Forever,” Schneider enters a less-referential arena and carves out more compelling territory. His voice slides like a shadow, and the shift in tone shocks; a modern pop song supplants the...

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