Sounds

Sounds

by Mike Evans

 

TRIPPING DAISIES

THE LONELY FOREST — Adding Up the Wasted Hours
THE GOOD: Northwest indie rockers Lonely Forest bring on a tighter fourth full-length.
THE BAD: A couple of clunkers aside (rambling closer “The Stars, Like Dust” sticks around far too long), most of these cuts are fine.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Produced by the band with a little assistance from Chris Walla of Death Cab For Cutie fame (LF is signed to Walla’s “Trans” label), Wasted Hours is a hodge-podge of mid-tempo guitar-driven indie pop tunes that aren’t short on memorable melodies.
Better moments include the ambitious “Left Hand Man” with its razor sharp riffs and the delicately spaced-out “Neon Never Changes.” Then there’s the completely irresistible title cut built upon a rolling chorus and snappy rhythms.
One gets caught up in a sense of whimsy. You won’t work too hard. Yes, the Lonely Forest is all about creating intelligent guitar pop, but there’s no pretentiousness here. And most of these songs beg for a second listen.
BUY IT?: Why not?

EC06SOUNDS_1_WEBMARISSA NADLER — July
THE GOOD: New England singer/songwriter Marissa Nadler offers up another subtle gem.
THE BAD: Nope.
THE NITTY GRITTY: The woman has been churning out a unique brand of modern folk, sprinkled with gothic overtones and slight nods to indie rock, for a decade now. Her catalog has yet to see a misfire, and July is easily one of the songstress’s finest.
This is an eerie set built upon Nadler’s acoustic guitar, warm piano, a small string section, and weeping pedal steel. One track, “Was It a Dream,” is grounded with drum hits and a smattering of electric guitar. But the rest of the album floats just below the clouds, gazing down upon the American Midwest or a snow-covered Northeast (depending on whatever visions are swirling around your own head while listening to these haunting refrains).
Nadler’s voice is drenched in echo and melancholy; her melodies teetering on the verge of heartbreak. The overall effect is hushed yet engrossing, even “otherworldly.”
BUY IT?: You must.

EC06SOUNDS_3_WEBSTEPHEN MALKMUS & THE JICKS — Wig Out at Jagbags
THE GOOD: Indie rocker Stephen Malkmus releases his sixth post-Pavement album.
THE BAD: Nothing “bad,” but past detractors won’t be won over by Wig Out.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Malkmus has now released more albums outside of Pavement than he did with that ground-breaking outfit. Wig Out may not defy our expectations, but it proves the guy still has worthy tunes coursing through his system.
The album falls right in the middle of a catalog that sometimes feels intricate while at other times plays it somewhat safe. Malkmus rides progressive rhythmic shifts on jittery opener “Planetary Motion” while the catchy “Chartjunk” almost sounds like a heavier take on Belle and Sebastian. “J Smoov” is a dose of loose blues. “Rumble at the Rainbo” goes for the jugular and dashes out the door in less than two minutes.
Of course, Malkmus retains his biting wit and flippant attitude through all of these proceedings. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
BUY IT?: Sure.