Animal Collective – Tangerine Reef
Genre: Neo-Psychedelia, Ambient Pop
This record has taken a beating amongst the critics. I hardly know if Pitchfork would afford it a two or a seven on their scale, the record is so variable according to the listener and it’s not that exciting in the first place. This creates a most interesting venn diagram between the sleepiest, most lukewarm, and most preferred record of theirs, amongst my cacophony of thoughts. I enjoy sleep and I enjoy albums to which I can sleep. Further, Animal Collective’s discography does not produce a fan within my beating heart—it’s migraines all the way down to Sung Tongs (as far as I’ll venture, thank you) and back up to Painting With. So, Tangerine Reef is a shocker; an Animal Collective record that doesn’t manage to give me a headache, but rather lull me to sleep. I’d consider that a winner. But then again, the record isn’t much interesting if you’re not watching the sea coral porn it accompanies.
Baked Beans – Babble
Producer: I dunno, probably Eric
Genre: Garage Rock, Psychedelic Rock
Well there’s no doubt about it. Tame Impala may claim King of All Down Under, but it’s King Gizzard who showcase the real power behind the throne. Even if Baked Bean’s debut LP Babble, is a so-so affair ranging between excellent Gizzardisms and meh Gizzardisms; the cuts that settle well over the bed Baked Beans’ Babble (“Plans,” “Comfortable,” “Easy,” and “Stale”) showcase all that is great about the psychedelic-garage mashup that Flightless has come to flagship. The ones that don’t only serve to remind listeners of the fine line between generic and terrific. In that regard the record feels half-baked.
Cullen Omori (Smith Westerns) – The Diet
Producer: Taylor Locke
Label: Sub Pop
Genre: Pop-Psych, Pop Indie Rock
Y’know the term basic? Well guess what, Sub Pop is one of those labels for which I proscribe myself the term basic. I will follow Sub Pop to the grave even when their labels fails to continue as home for landmark alternative rock. Their roster isn’t bad, don’t misunderstand me—but Bully and Beach House and Father John Misty are nothing if not basic alternative rock as well. They never quite push the envelope (special considerations given to King Tuff, however) and they all fill the niches to every crease, wrinkle and rumple, well, until we arrive at Cullen Omori, who looks vaguely like a Boba Fett to Colin Farrel’s Jango. And that’s about the most remarkable thing I will say about his latest record, The Diet. This is pop-psychedelic at its most basic. This is pop-garage at its most basic. In other words, I see myself in the mirror of this record, and I am terrified.
Death Cab for Cutie – Thank You for Today
Producer: Rich Costey
Genre: Indie Pop, Indie Rock
- When someone says “I love Death Cab for Cutie!” you are allowed to ask them if it’s because of “I Dreamt We Spoke Again.”
- This record falls into the same trap as Florence + The Machine’s High as Hope, too few compelling moments; hooks or anti-hooks, for want of better terms.
- I vaguely recalled a time when decades received nostalgia in stages, as if on a twenty- or thirty-year cycle. But man, have the 2010’s upended that. Everything is just nostalgic, even shit that happened three years ago (…I just want 2015 back), so even while Sixties psychedelic, seventies disco and Nineties grunge are all finding themselves in neo form, so too does Death Cab for Cutie dig up the sonic artefacts of the Eighties. And that, frankly, is more interesting than this record.
Kidcombo – kidcombo EP
Label: Self Released
Another indiehead released an EP today and I must say this, while it’s not amazingly spectacular, it outplays Animal Collective’s Tangerine Reef; the EP is melodic as hell and deserving of any Slowdive or late-nineties Mojave 3 comparisons. However, it is slow to the take on the opener—but then again, when is dreampop not a slow burn?
Mitski – Be the Cowboy
Producer: Patrick Hyland
Label: Dead Oceans
Genre: Indie Rock, Art Rock
Mitski’s latest album is somber. Somber to its last fiber. And it most certainly takes an artist’s stance, presenting the canvas with a sense of gravity that fellow creatives understand: here is my art. Here is my baby. Do what you will, but know I suffered for this. In many ways I can’t help but draw comparisons to St. Vincent’s latest record in tone, style and voice. No seriously, when St. Mitski gets down in the dumps on “Happy Birthday, Johnny” and well, quite literally every cut on Be the Cowboy, I can’t help but feel the goosebumps of similarity.
The Myrrors – Borderlands
Producer: Nik Rayne
Label: Beyond Beyond is Beyond
Genre: Noise Rock
Prepare for a record that grates headcheese. Borderlands is everything Wooden Shjips wants in a band. Loud, noisey, garage-y, although, not quite psychedelic. But then again, neither are the Wooden Shjips/Brian Jonestown Massacre/Thee Oh Sees wings of modern psychedelic rock. The Myrror’s describe their sound as “desert drone mysticism,” and for a better part of this record (“The Blood That Runs the Border,” “Formaciones Rojas” and “Biznagas”) hit the mark without indulging, but after the mid-point in “Note From the Underground,” they would probably do better not to continue with the peyote and magic mushrooms while so broken-hearted and alone in the desert.
Object As Subject – Permission
Producer: Paris Hurley, Jherek Bischoff
Label: Lost Future
Genre: Art Punk
If you had told me that an art punk album would be my favourite of this week, I would have called you stark crazy, but here we are—in the world of punk, garage, thrash, riot grrl and all things Siouxsie Sioux and Pat Benatar. It’s still undecided if she would knock either out with stars in their eyes, but I would tune into that UFC cage match.
Oh Sees – Smote Reverser
Producer: Eric Bauer, Enrique Tena Padilla, John Dwyer
Label: Castle Face
Genre: Psychedelic Rock, Garage Punk
Oh Sees outdo Prince with their list of former aliases (Orinoka Crash Suite, Orange County Sound, OCS, The Ohsees, The Oh Sees, Thee Oh Sees), however they hardly seem to change their approach: noise, punk, garage, psychedelic with a little bit of folk thrown in every once in a while. John Dwyer would whisper ears asleep on Smote Reverser, if it weren’t also just absolutely committed to splitting heads open in a way that recalls 70’s heavy metal. Hell, even the cover is metal as fuck—maybe it’s just a regular ol’ mega-daemon but it’s now registered as a headcanon Balrog. The record isn’t their best by far, but it’s capable and doesn’t stumble too often—but don’t ask for an explanation of “Overthrown”—I don’t think even Dwyer knew what the fuck to do that cut.
/u/giraffeking on the indieheads subreddit compiles a fantastic list of independent music, rock or otherwise, here
HipHopDX has an incredible interactive month-by-month releases widget here
AllMusic also does its fair share of listing, providing a good sieve for good records here
And Consequence of Sound will prep you for next week with a summary list here