Adult.- "Gimmie Trouble." Adam Lee Miller and Nicola Kuperus are the brain and brawn behind Adult., a Detroit based retro-electro/dance punk unit that has released 2 LP's and several EP's since 1999. Since they also run the Ersatz Audio record label, they haven't devoted as much time to their music as they would like. Hence, their newest is the first Adult. release on Thrill Jockey records and the label transition definitely pays off in the sheer energy heard on the tracks. Hints of [punkish era] Siouxsie or Kathleen Hanna [Bikini Kill] styled vocals, Devo influenced keyboards and Joy Division darkness permeate this full length in a nervously brilliant way, much the same as this summers "D.U.M.E. EP." Actually, this release has alot of the atmosphere found on the Siouxsie and the Banshees classic long player, "Kaleidoscope." Much denser than 2003's "Anxiety Always" and on par with 2001's brilliant "Resuscitation," this highly anticipated release delivers the goods! --Reviewed by Alex Slawson and Herman Snell.
The Lovetones "Meditations" Purveyors of psychedelic paisley pop ala post Sgt. Pepper's Lennon meets "Waterloo Sunset" take note. These metaphysical wordsmiths bridge that beautiful gap to cerebral and heady new traditionalists in a pastoral wash of The Church ("Hey Day" era), Mojave 3, Dandy Warhols, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club ("Love Burns") and The Occasion. It comes complete with ever so slight a dash of sitar and that phat organ psychedelia. – Herman Snell and Alex Slawson
Broadcast- "Tender Buttons." Starting with their 2000 debut "The Noise Made by People," Broadcast have been described as "the crazy old aunt that the Stereolab family keeps locked up in the attic." Their retro influenced sound-scapes, anchored by analog keyboards, are distorted by digital keyboard and guitar treatments while Trish Keenan's vocals hover over these sonic experiments like a mother singing a lullaby to her recalcitrant children. 2003's "Ha-Ha Sound" saw them moving a more direct path, with alternating "pop" songs and experimental suites comprising the album. "Tender Buttons" takes this one step further, with most of the songs being their most accessible and catchy to date; stand-out tracks include the avant-retro-electro stylings of "Black Cat" and "Corporeal." Even their sonic experiments seem more controlled and musically astute, and only a few "interlude" tracks don't have vocals- one of the drawbacks of their earlier works was the preponderance of tracks with no vocals. With this said, if you liked "Ha-Ha Sound," you will love Tender Buttons, as Broadcast have released their BEST and most cohesive album to date! It is absolutely lovely and a best of 2005 contender! --Reviewed by Alex Slawson and Herman Snell.
Goldfrapp- "Supernature LP." Allison Goldfrapp & Co. stunned the world with 2000's beautiful masterpiece "Felt Mountain," sounding like a siren in digitized 4AD waters. 2003 saw the release "Black Cherry," a much more upbeat and danceable affair that remained true to the atmospheric roots established on their debut. "Supernature" is even more informal and fun than "Black Cherry," which is great for her newer fans but rather disconcerting to those of "Felt Mountain" The polished electronica that emanates from "Supernature" does indeed go very well with Allison's voice, especially on the first single from the album- "Ooh La La." Sexy and fun, it may not be "Utopia" but it certainly is "Satin Chic." --Reviewed by Alex Slawson and Herman Snell.
Her Space Holiday- "The Past Presents the Future." Marc Bianchi is the one man force behind the beloved dreamy indie-electro pop sounds of Her Space Holiday, a project that combines lush sampling, beautiful synth programming and bitter/sweet lyrical poetry. After his somewhat lacklustre 2003 release, "The Young Machines," it comes as a pleasant surprise that his latest endeavor, "The Past Presents the Future," is his best release since 2001's Manic Expressive. Very Highly Recommended!!! --Reviewed by Alex Slawson and Herman Snell.
Jackson and his Computer Band- "Smash.."Parisian prodigy Jackson Fourgeaud [i.e. Jackson and his Computer Band] is the newest signee to the Warp [U.K.] label and his stunning debut, "Smash," certainly places him in good stead. Sounding sort of like a mish mash of Prefuse 73, Vitalic and The Books, this album is filled to the brim with glitchy, tempo shifting beats, dense textures and R&B vocal samples galore. The standout track is "Utopia," which is also the opener and it literally compels the listener to stay put and hear what happens next. A non-relenting excursion into fractured IDM-glitch-pop, Smash is one of the better debut releases of the year. --Reviewed by Alex Slawson and Herman Snell.
Lions & Tigers- "Pure & Applied EP." Take 5 handsome, talented and charming young men, each with an impressive history to bring to the table and you get the wonderfully chewy Lions & Tigers. James Ford, the drummer and most noteworthy member, is the former drummer for Simian and heartbeat behind Simian Mobile Disco and the Trial and Error label on which the record is released. Musically, Lions & Tigers traverse indie and post rock with an electronic flair and soundtrack-inspired panache- referential nods could be made towards Tortoise and Beta Band. However, James Wignall's Eno-esque inspired vocals add to the sounds that lather around the ears, making this yet another promising new band on which to keep tabs. Damn fine listening! --Reviewed by Alex Slawson and Herman Snell.
Rogue Wave- "Descended Like Vultures." Harkening back to the days of the New Zealand pop invasion, although not directly influenced by it, Rogue Wave makes indie-alt-pop that tickles the ears and engages the brain. Their debut release, last years highly regarded "Out of the Shadow," was a confectionary listen in that the lyrics, music and overall mood of the album was addictive like bubblegum. Their latest, "Descended Like Vultures," raises the bar even higher and sees them diversifying their range of influences and sound even more. On the ballad-like "Salesman at the Day of the Parade," vocalist Zach Rogue almost sounds like Ben Gibbard [Death Cab for Cutie, The Postal Service] in both lyrical content and delivery; this is a very nice and unexpected twist. One thing is for certain, Rogue Wave is definitely not in a sophomore slump and this album is proof of that; better than their debut release and Very Highly Recommended!! --Reviewed by Alex Slawson and Herman Snell.
Sigur Ros- "Takk." Iceland is home to some of the most unusual juxtapositions in nature [e.g. volcanic hot springs bubbling out of the icy landscape] and this is very evident in the music created by its people. Sigur Ros, an ethereal 4 piece from Reykjavik, has certainly proven this point over their 5 year career. Their sound conjures images of a mythical land, with bow struck guitars, somber keyboards and vocals sung in a make-believe language called "hopelandic" coloring in the divides between real life and fantasy. Their newest, "Takk," is more upbeat when compared to their somewhat stark 2002 release, "( )." While not as ethereal or otherworldly as 2001's "Ágætis Byrjun", this album has a bit more of an impromptu feeling- almost like a live album recorded with studio quality. The result is their most accessibly experimental release to date- not their best, but a very formidable release nonetheless. --Reviewed by Alex Slawson and Herman Snell.