Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sonic Youth: The Eternal

Artist: Sonic Youth
Album: The Eternal
Date Released: June 9, 2009
Genre: indie rock, alternative rock, experimental rock
Rating: 8.2

Review: Veteran alt-rockers Sonic Youth return with The Eternal -- an album that features many of their hallmarks (including Kim Gordon's acerbic delivery, de-tuned guitars, and flirtations with dissonance), but also a characteristic new direction established by Thurston Moore on his recent solo album, Trees From Outside the Academy (e.g. "Antenna"). One of my favorite lyrics of the year comes in "Sacred Trickster": "What's it like to be a girl in a band?/I don't quite understand/That's so quaint to hear/I feel so faint my dear."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Phantom Band: Checkmate Savage

Artist: The Phantom Band
Album: Checkmate Savage
Date Released: February 3, 2009
Genre: indie-rock, alternative rock
Rating: 7.8

Review: Hailing from Scotland, The Phantom Band's first studio release, Checkmate Savage, displays some very capable song-writing, but the arrangements could use some work. Musical influences on this album include Pavement and Stereolab. Track highlights include the extremely hooky "The Howling" and "Folksong Oblivion". Checkmate Savage sounds like an album that was produced by a veteran act -- definitely a band to keep an eye on.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Au Revoir Simone: Still Night, Still Light

Artist: Au Revoir Simone
Album: Still Night, Still Light
Date Released: May 19, 2009
Genre: indie-pop, indie-electronic, dream pop
Rating: 7.4

Review: Dream pop trio Au Revoir Simone's third studio album may not be a radical departure from their previous work, but it's the finest expression of their talents to date. Still Night, Still Light is sad, introspective and down-tempo. If the lyrics don't grab you, the songs will; the tracks are finely crafted, minimalistic and laden with vintage, lo-fi electronic sounds.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Grizzly Bear: Veckatimest

Artist: Grizzly Bear
Album: Veckatimest
Date Released: May 26, 2009
Genre: alt-rock, indie-rock
Rating: 8.6

Review: Brooklyn-based Grizzly Bear's fourth studio album may be its finest yet. Veckatimest features complex arrangements and harmonies, a strong melodic sensibility, and some stellar sound design. Overall, however, it's lacking in song strength and track-by-track dynamics.

Absu: Absu

Artist: Absu
Album: Absu
Date Released: June 9, 2009
Genre: black metal, death metal
Rating: 8.5

Review: Texas-based Absu is back and ferocious as ever after an 8-year hiatus. Easily the best black metal band to come out of the United States.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bloodhorse: Horizoner

Artist: Bloodhorse
Album: Horizoner
Date Released: May 26, 2009
Genre: sludge metal, post-metal, stoner metal
Rating: 8.3

Review: Bloodhorse weaves together a fantastic mix of metal sub-genres, touching upon everything from Black Sabbath right through to Kyuss, Hellhammer, Hawkwind, High on Fire and Raised Fist. Those searching for experimental and post-metal qualities will also find what they're looking for. Horizoner thunders.