Really quick spins: Sic Alps, Disappears, Thank You, Minks, Ducktails, Young Prisms
A quick roundup of some of my favorite indie-whatever releases from January.
Sic Alps, "Napa Asylum"
To say Sic Alps is more of an ideas-band than a songs-band sells them short. The San Francisco avant-garage group works in quick bursts with songs that rarely linger for more than two minutes, but each one has a memorable moment tucked in there. Maybe it’s just a blown-out guitar sound, an off-kilter melody or some spooky bass-and-whistle combo as heard on the song below. But by giving each idea space to breathe, the band creates quick-hitting songs that feel very focused. “Napa Asylum” plays out like some great WFMU outsider-rock radio show featuring a bunch of unknown bands from different eras -- which is about as high praise as I can bestow upon an album.
Sic Alps - "Do You Want to Give Money?"
Disappears plays straight-line music. The Chicago quartet’s song chug, drone and charge forward with a supremely efficient formula of motorik beats, hypnotic bass lines and dueling guitars that handle both pulsing and psychedelic sounds. It's where Krautrock and garage rock meet up and form parallel lines that race off to the horizon.
Disappears - "Gone Completely"
Thank You, "Golden Worry"
Baltimore’s Thank You exists in the same droning universe as Disappears. But if Disappears is a streaking comet, Thank You has a more defined celestial orbit. (Yes, I realize that comets also orbit.) There’s rumbling percussion, jolting rhythms and banshee wails populating these songs, which also regularly stop, start and take sharp turns and as they build momentum and blow off steam. Disappears is music to settle in with; Thank You keeps you on your toes at all times.
Thank You - "1-2-3- Bad"
Minks, "By The Hedge"
Maybe there’s a well-guarded Williamsburg secret that the only way to survive an impending zombie apocalypse is to be in an ‘80s-sounding indie band. Which is to say Minks isn’t exactly breaking the mold. But on this full-length debut, they immediately become on of the trend’s best bands. “By the Hedge” is a love letter to the ‘80s, but with a playbook that features more than the same photocopied New Order and Cure pages. (Although they are there, don’t worry.) You can hear wistful hints of the Go-Betweens, the rainy day haze of Felt, and the jangle of Lloyd Cole. There’s something to be said for having good taste.
Minks - "Cemetery Rain"
Ducktails, "Ducktails III: Aracade Dynamics"
It’s early in the year but it’s hard to think there will be a more fitting soundtrack to Chill Nation than Ducktails' standout track “Killin the Vibe.” On this song guitarist Matthew Monadine -- who is Ducktails, and who also plays with relaxation kings Real Estate -- does his usual laidback, reverb-heavy plucking while guest vocalist Panda Bear does that floaty thing. The rest of the album is rocking-chair pleasant, assuming that rocking chair is in a bedroom and not on a front porch.
Ducktails - "Killin the Vibe"
Young Prisms, "Friends For Now"
This is straight throwback shoegaze -- surging guitars, indecipherable vocals buried under layers delay and reverb and generous dollops of noisy bliss. There are hooks hiding in most of these songs and on the best ones (“Sugar,” below), you don’t have to search too hard.
Young Prisms - "Sugar"
| January 28, 2011; 11:15 AM ET
Categories: Really quick spins | Tags: Disappears, Ducktails, Minks, Sic Alps, Thank You, Young Prisms
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