February 28, 2011

2011 In Briefs: An Ongoing Saga


Woods :: Sun & Shade
"With contemporary music's endless supply of incoming new bands and albums and the internet's appallingly fast turnover rate, it's become harder than ever for bands to create and fans to find truly classic and timeless records. But they certainly still exist. Woods' Sun & Shade is a testament to that."
Review / Stream

JEFF The Brotherhood :: We Are The Champions
"The aptly-dubbed "Shredder" kicks off with a buzz saw of theremin before Jake and Jamin Orrall lay the hammer down with their respective guitar fuzz and drum dynamite. Just over the two-minute mark, "Shredder" is everything it should be: short, furiously fast, and imbued with killer riffs and drum breaks." Review
JEFF The Brotherhood - "Shredder"

Futurebirds :: Via Flamina EP
"The ramshackle live play of the outfit, reminiscent of an early My Morning Jacket, is often wild and raw, but there are also moments of delicate harmony where soaring vocals and slide guitar come together to reach for the sky." Review

Hunx and His Punx :: Too Young To Be In Love
"There's no release in 2011 I've listened to more than Too Young To Be In Love by Hunx & His Punx. The San Francisco outfit channels late 1950s and early '60s girl group pop à la the Ronettes and Lesley Gore through their own fuzzy, sharp, and straightforward punk rock lens."  Review
Hunx & His Punx - "Lovers Lane"

Jessica Lea Mayfield :: Tell Me
"Produced by the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, Mayfield's light country vocals and crafty songwriting often arrive ablaze with creative instrumentation and flourishes... It's a beautifully executed album." Read More
Jessica Lea Mayfield - "Our Hearts Are Wrong"

The Black Lips :: Arabia Mountain
"Just barely over the two-minute mark, the fearsome and catchy "Modern Art" sharpens the band's already hard-hitting brand of garage rock and even makes it a little dancey. Thank your Mr. Ronson?" Video
The Black Lips - "New Direction"

The Sandwitches :: Mrs. Jones' Cookies
"In 2011, there is perhaps no band more aggressively honest and loyal to their distinctive sound than the Sandwitches." Review
The Sandwitches - "Lightfoot"

Thee Oh Sees :: Castlemania
"'I Need Seed' is a typically out-of-this-world acoustic ditty that features the John Dwyer-sung chorus, 'I need seed, I need seed / Throw off the grass, throw up the trees.'"  Thee Oh Sees cover The Creation
Thee Oh Sees - "I Need Seed"

Marisa Anderson :: The Golden Hour
"Anderson may as well be playing in your living room, at turns dancing, clawing, and racing back and forth across her axe like an existentially burdened traveler searching for answers, comfort and the way home." Review
Marisa Anderson - "The Golden Hour"

Those Darlins :: Screws Get Loose
"Those Darlins are a band that's hungry for more, whether it's success or simply kicking ass, drinking beer, and shredding guitar. From the first wail of album opener and title-track "Screws Get Loose," it's clear this is a band that one day may be, if not already, truly great." Review
Those Darlins - "Screws Get Loose"

Beach Fossils :: What A Pleasure EP
"The hazy and nostalgic vibe that permeates through the band's music becomes exponentially more intoxicating with the appearance of Wild Nothing's Jack Tatum on "Out In The Way"—a cut of slow burning pop that delivers its punch with devastating simplicity."
Beach Fossils - "Out In The Way"

Natural Child :: 1971
"The Nashville band exhale equal amounts of fiery swagger and stale beer into its Southern fare, creating a wonderfully eclectic world where punk rock and country music stand toe-to-toe in a perfect swaying boozy harmony." Review
Natural Child - "Hard Workin Man"

The Shivers :: More
"The story behind More is Zarrielo and Schornikow spent every last penny to record the album at an analog studio in Manchester, England. The warm tone of that recording session is certainly evident throughout the record, as is its intimate nature, as onstage Zarrielo and Schornikow communicate back and forth with nary a word—just a look. In 2011, you'll find few bands and records as sincere, personal, and resonant as the Shivers and More." Review
The Shivers - "Love Is In The Air"

Floating Action :: Desert Etiquette
"The record has a lot of space, it's not a harsh, in your face record. In that sense there is kind of an etiquette to it; a respect. And in my mind, there's sort of a vast, calm, darkness to the record...not unlike a desert. Calling it that seemed so right." Interview / Review
Floating Action - "Please Reveal"

Middle Brother :: Middle Brother
"...the pairing of rowdy roots-rock rabble rousers John McCauley (Deer Tick) and Matt Vasquez (Delta Spirit) with the harmony-glazed Dawes frontman Taylor Goldsmith—proves to be something else entirely: feverishly sweaty, inspired, and most importantly, fun, rock and roll." Review
Middle Brother - "Middle Brother"

Starfucker :: Reptilians
"It's heartening when people with smarts make accessible pop music, as there are few art forms more instantaneously and physically intoxicating. And it's even more heartening when they do it and then call themselves Starfucker." Review
Starfucker - "Julius"

Breakfast In Fur :: Breakfast In Fur EP
"The line between children's entertainment and psychedelia has always been shifty and hard to pin down. On their EP, Breakfast In Fur prove there's no need to make the distinction." Review
Breakfast In Fur - "Shine"

Braids :: Native Speaker
"Rather than having to force a listen and butt heads with inexplicable complexities, Braids' music elicits a natural and magnetic draw that is staggering. Thirty seconds into their debut album Native Speaker and I was hooked—not by a catchy melody or pop hook—but by the singular gorgeous sounds the group is able to seemingly mystically conjure out of their instruments." Review
Braids - "Lemonade"

Sonny & The Sunsets :: Hit After Hit
"A magnum opus of playful, whip-smart and vintage minimalism of 50s and 60s-inspired California pop sunshine." ReviewAlso check out Smith's Earth Girl Helen Brown 10" and 100 Records, Vol. II compilation out now digitally.
Sonny & The Sunsets - "I Wanna Do It"

Shannon and The Clams :: Sleep Talk
"Shannon and her Clams have edge and fire, and thankfully, they channel that spirit into the most blistering and delectable pop music." Read More
Shannon and The Clams - "The Cult Song"

Craft Spells :: Idle Labor
"Craft Spells may not be wholly original, but there's also something charming about an artist so directly, openly, and honestly shedding light on his influences. As a whole, Idle Labor's 11 songs are absurdly consistent in delivery and execution, never missing a beat or opportunity to deliver a fearsome hook." Review
Craft Spells - "You Should Close The Door"

Yuck :: Yuck
"The quick slashes of gain-fueled guitar in 'Operation;' the late-night high-toned Dean Wareham guitar line on 'Stutter;' the delayed drum and tremolo guitar entrance on 'Suicide Policeman.' Here, that alternative 90s sound appears as fresh as it ever was." Review
Yuck - "Georgia"

Dawes :: Nothing Is Wrong
As this quartet grows in popularity, it seems their songs are destined to follow suit: getting bigger and better at every turn. Review
Dawes - "If I Wanted Someone"

The Dodos


  1. Mr. "O" looks like he's having fun in them panties.

  2. Great feature - you are dead on when you point out how easy it is to pass over music and forget about a great tune! Thanks for reminding about a few of these.

  3. Some awesome stuff in here - in particular, Braids is one of my top three albums of the year. Loved The Dodos "No Color" as well.

  4. Braids is a standout for me as well. Some amazing otherworldly textures on that record.