Amatus – Broken Compass

Amatus-Broken Compass

Amatus-Broken Compass

3.5/5

Release Date:  March 3, 2014
Genre:  Indie
Record Label:  Independent


Chicago native turned New Yorker, Amatus, is a creative talent with an angelic voice. It was the tragic deaths of her brother, cousin, and roommate to gun violence in the Southside of Chicago that profoundly inspired her artistry and so seamlessly emanates through her debut EP Broken Compass. From sit in sessions with the Roots, Erykah Badu and Common to honing a voice comparable to artists like Little Dragon, Janelle Monae and The Gossip, Amatus creates a haunting, yet spiritual journey through the fusion of R&B, Electronic and Indie Pop sounds. With producing, writing, singing, and instrumentation credits, there is no doubt Amatus is a force to be reckoned with in the music world.

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La Dispute – Rooms of the House

Rooms_of_the_House

Rooms_of_the_House

4/5

Release Date:  March 18th, 2014
Genre:  Post-hardcore
Record Label:  Better Living


In 2008, La Dispute proved that post-hardcore was not a genre that had become the debased lingua franca of the mall-walking millions, and that there was an arty, intellectual alternative to what horror Taking Back Sunday had wrought on the first decade of the 21st century, even if it touched on pretty much the same themes that that band did (break ups), if in a much more macabre fashion. In 2011, La Dispute showed that post-hardcore could once again reach the heights and depths of the genre’s Golden Age with bands like Drive Like Jehu and The Jesus Lizard by capturing the very essence of what makes the genre what it is: spontaneity and unpredictability.

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McCafferty – BeachBoy

BeachBoy

BeachBoy

4/5

Release Date:  January 2, 2014
Genre:  Dancepunk
Record Label:  Sliding Scale Records


There’s a trend I’ve become quite fond of, starting with last years Talon of the Hawk by The Front Bottoms, a sort of tongue-in-cheek colloquialism that sounds a lot more fun than many of the more “serious” bands I’m drawn to. While Talon of the Hawk was content to leave things unsaid but still remaining broad enough to not be alienating McCafferty’s BeachBoy seems like a very selfish piece of work, and that’s why it’s so good. The album is littered with in-jokes, personal anecdotes, and unapologetically dense lyrics. It is clear that this album wasn’t written for anyone but the band.
This isn’t to say that there is nothing to be gained from the lyrics but rather than writing to an audience McCafferty wrote for themselves and assumed you’d either get it or you wouldn’t, it doesn’t seem to matter much to them either way.

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Cloud Nothings – Here And Nowhere Else

Cloud Nothings Album Cover

Cloud Nothings Album Cover

4.5/5

Release Date:  March 31st, 2014
Genre:  Indie, Punk, Garage Rock
Record Label:  Wichita


Cloud Nothings have always been a band that fervently belong in dingy toilet venues, thrashing away at their instruments with scant regard for their own or each other’s well-being, enticing mass sing-alongs despite shitty PA systems doing their best to turn their aural assault into a muddle of barely comprehensible noise. Their previous release Attack On Memory, although still very much a clamorous outing of scuzz, simply pales in comparison to the laser-focussed, fuzzed-up assault of their latest release. Here And Nowhere Else is a record of intense urgency, spearheaded by the vociferous drumming of newcomer Jayson Gerycz.

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Black Lips – Underneath the Rainbow

black_lips_underneath_the_rainbow_0314

black_lips_underneath_the_rainbow_0314

3.5/5

Release Date:  March 18th, 2014
Genre:  Garage Rock
Record Label:  Vice Records


I had the good fortune of seeing the Black Lips at Burgerama recently (my primary motivation for putting off this review for so long), and the experience of being at the front of that crowd as teenyboppers elbowed and jostled me around to the band’s extremely solid back catalog has greatly informed my experience listening to Underneath the Rainbow.

 

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Manchester Orchestra – Cope

Cope

Cope

4.5/5

Release Date:  April 1st, 2014
Genre:  Rock
Record Label:  Favorite Gentleman


Manchester Orchestra fans familiar with Brand New have to have noticed a similarity in career trajectory. After 2011’s exhausting Simple Math, Manchester Orchestra has returned with their most straightforward album, Cope. In the way that Brand New dropped the loud-soft dynamics that they perfected on The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me for the brasher, grungier sound of Daisy, Manchester Orchestra has dropped the orchestral string arrangements from Simple Math in favor of a guitar driven rock album. What results is Manchester Orchestra’s most immediate record.

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