5/30 ambient experimental rock

screen time – thurston moore

‘Screen Time’ is unnerving. Not in the way of a charged moment, but in a “what’s that sound my 2003 Renault is making and how much is it gonna cost to fix?” way. This record cost me forty minutes that I cannot bargain back. If I was to make a sincere attempt at describing the […]

21/30 blues rock

etran de l’aïr – agadez

25 years of experience in getting the crowd dancing at local parties in the middle of the Sahara is the base for ‘Agadez’. Call-and-response vocals take backstage to a tapestry of trebley guitar solos and relentless drums. Meanwhile, staples of desert blues permeate throughout, with reflective lyrics tied to their hometown’s (Agadez) place at the […]

19/30 rock

and so i watch you from afar – jettison

‘Jettison’ is an agreeable album that doesn’t quite seize the grandeur its instrumentation holds out for. It comprises an enjoyable, lengthy experience without offering a goody bag of thoughts to take home. There are certainly strengths: the spoken word feature is not overused and sits coolly in the background, never trespassing in the network of […]

22/30 indie/alternative rock

red pants – when we were dancing

Red Pants’ second LP lies, sonically, somewhere between early My Bloody Valentine and an undiscovered psychedelic gem from ‘67. The mixing is altogether rusty, but endearing and deliberate; the vocals, meanwhile, coast through with an effective grunge-y sway. ‘When We Were Dancing’ exudes the crude charm of a local band starting out, landing with intimacy […]

27/30 album of the week folk rock

big thief – dragon new warm mountain i believe in you

On their most substantial project to date, Big Thief boomerang with experimentation, never once flying off. Every sound on this record is contained, but not repressed; expressed, not exhausted. Delicate, take-away philosophies condensate atop the music and it quickly becomes a deeply involving listen, asking politely to be heard and heard well. With eccentric, bruised […]

28/30 album of the week experimental rock

black country, new road – ants from up there

Black Country, New Road demand sympathy. Sympathy to bring the shivering vocalist in from the rain. Sympathy to hear contextual lyrics and feel something ubiquitous. Sympathy to hear extended baroque metaphor and feel simplicity. ‘Ants From Up There’ will uproot the time capsule in which you placed your disconsolate nostalgia. It is strangely mollifying to […]

27/30 indie/alternative revisited review rock

the dismemberment plan – emergency & i (1999)

Evident in the title, this indie rock classic is a frantic attempt to locate the first-person character in a field of indecision. ‘Emergency and I’ was wisely delayed until the very end of 1999: if the 20th century had a final note, any of these twelve songs would be an appropriate farewell. Travis Morrison’s boyish […]

23/30 punk rock

traps ps – prim dicer

‘Prim Dicer’ begins with a single punch and doesn’t let up for 28 minutes. The fourteen tracks are invariably forceful, smart displays of punk that paint with the same brush as the LA trio’s clear influences – namely, The Clash and Tom Verlaine. In spite of the paternalistic relationship between this album and the late-70s […]

27/30 album of the week rock slowcore

deathcrash – return

On their debut LP, deathcrash cut the ribbon on a concealed world of frayed tenderness. While ‘Return’ is faithful to a rock palette, the band’s stable patience nurtures a crystalline, spacious sound that shelters everything it touches. Throughout, starry washes of guitar crash down with thunderous emotion as the writing seeks to magnify splintered moments […]