by Mike Evans



THE GOOD: Australian indie rock outfit Cloud Control brings forth a hypnotic sophomore effort.
THE BAD: No complaints.
THE NITTY GRITTY: When a band is difficult to pigeonhole, it always makes for fascinating listening. You’ll end up loving a lot about Dream Cave, but exactly what?
In the end, it’s probably the band’s adventurous spirit. For Cave never stays in one place too long; shifting from dream pop to noisy indie to ambient moods effortlessly. The constant male-female vocal switch-ups only add to the variety. Imagine a retro outfit such as Music Go Music bumping into some super-groovy turned-on members of Stereolab and then having that crew dig on a few treasured New Pornographers melodies.
That only begins to describe the sounds found within the echo-drenched and vast maze-like Dream Cave (such an appropriate title). Keen listeners will surely put their own spin on its contents.
BUY IT?: Yes. And then become blissfully lost in all the twists and turns.

THE GOOD: Tennessee indie rockers Those Darlins return with a more sedate third.
THE BAD: Lines isn’t flawless. Expect a few lesser tracks.
THE NITTY GRITTY: The new record isn’t as good a time as 2011’s Screws Got Loose; the overall proceedings somewhat more down-tempo. Tracks like the melancholy “That Man” or the foreboding “Western Sky” conjure up black and white images of the desert at dusk or faded picture postcards sent from mid-western motels decades ago.
Nikki Kvarnes is now the only woman in the group. Her vocals dominate, sounding a bit like Bettie Serveert’s Carol van Dijk sporting a southern drawl. And despite her less vibrant surroundings, she still manages to get the band back into catchy indie pop territory on more than a few cuts. Moments like “Optimist” and “Drive” are direct and impressive; terse little rockers that leave a lasting impression. Perhaps Lines’ greatest strength is this balanced variety; serious without being a downer.
BUY IT?: Sure.

THE GOOD: Brooklyn girl Frankie Rose is back with her third.
THE BAD: No gripes.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Half a decade after abandoning her garage rock roots and leaving Dum Dum Girls and Vivian Girls behind, Rose continues to dive further into the worlds of ethereal indie pop and shoegazing. Get lost in Herein Wild and you’re immediately reminded of both its sparkling 2012 predecessor Interstellar and the early pre-grunge 90’s when faceless British acts like Ride and Lush were dominating the college charts. You’ll also notice similarities between Rose and latter day Cocteau Twins, back when that band was morphing from a down-tempo gothic act into a more melody-driven spacey pop outfit.
When the tempos speed up, some prime Primitives worm their way into the mix. And wouldn’t some of those jagged guitar riffs feel right at home on the Cure’s Head on the Door album? In short, there’s nothing strikingly new on Herein Wild, but what IS there sounds divine.
BUY IT?: Definitely.