This is a heady mix of Tin Pan Alley melodies, lonesome cowboy delivery, and ornate arrangements fit for the most dramatic of the theater kids.
Billy Martin :: G U I L T Y
Billy Martin’s drumming makes me think of oxymorons like “precisely sloppy” and “intensely casual” and “red hot chill out”. This album lives within a zone that’s hazily bounded by funk, jazz, and electronic dance music.
NOFX + Frank Turner :: West Coast vs. Wessex
Two very political acts, performing each other’s songs. NOFX is archetypically SoCal snot-nose punk, while Frank Turner is from a proud tradition of left-leaning UK strummers, but the songs fare well in any protester’s hands.
Born Ruffians :: SQUEEZE
The second release in less than a year from this outfit continues along the same path, which is to say meticulously crafted indie guitar mini-symphonies.
Deerhoof :: Love-Lore
You never know what to expect from Deerhoof, even if your list contains “sound art medleys improvised out of musical themes recognizable and unrecognizable”
Ghost of Vroom :: Ghost of Vroom 2 EP
That loose groove on the drums, the casually menacing bass, and Mike Doughty’s stream-and-consciousness narration… there’s also no shortage of political commentary on these three songs, putting a bold face on topics most others approach obliquely.
Star Feminine Band :: Star Feminine Band
Pure unbridled joy bursts forth from the moment these young Beninese women begin doing their thing. Even if liquid song structures and single-voiced group singing aren’t normally your thing, you should give it a taste.
Asian Dub Foundation :: Access Denied
Bands mashing together sounds from different musical traditions, usually throwing in some modern electronic affectation, can be hit or miss. Asian Dub Foundation has a long history of hitting it out of the park, and this is no exception.