REVIEWS

KURT VILE – SQUARE SHELLS EP (MATADOR, 2010)

Philly’s Constant Hitmaker’s 2009 release Childish Prodigy was rightly praised up and down on the TOME last year. Mr. Vile’s combination of strumming singer-songwriter looseness and blues madman howl paired with his psych-drone experimentation (ran through the ubiquitous analog fuzz of 2009) was incredibly refreshing take on the genre, yielding some immediate summer jams. Square Shells largely picks up …

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BLANK DOGS – PHRASES EP (CAPTURED TRACKS, 2010)

Captured Tracks has really made some headway this year releasing consistently amazing records and perhaps single-handedly ushering in a first-wave goth revival. The label’s newest acquisition to their already stellar roster is this 2009 slacker/goth-pop blog fav. Blank Dogs. We’re backtracking a little bit here in anticipation of the band’s third, forthcoming full-length (and first for …

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FUNKI PORCINI – ON (NINJA TUNE, 2010)

Theoretically, could a robot play jazz? Like any other genre as old and storied as jazz in all its various permutations throughout the years—such a vigorously, consistently studied, practiced, and performed art—this style has endured largely through its cultivation and use of certain basic properties. Many of these have to do with sheer mechanics—what tones …

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ELLEN ALLIEN – DUST (BPITCH CONTROL, 2010)

There hasn’t been too much press on Ellen Allien’s latest album Dust put out on her BPitch Control label this year. What a shame, because as much critical fawning as Pantha Du Prince and Four Tet got this year (myself and Crawf included) Dust is just as enjoyable, reveling in the same deep, understated minimal production and self-turning excursions, instead sweaty …

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FROG EYES – PAUL’S TOMB: A TRIUMPH (DEAD OCEANS, 2010)

…Every promise of 2007’s excellent Tears of the Valedictorian is fulfilled in spades on Paul’s Tomb. Carey Mercer’s beguiling vocal vamping achieves undiscovered decibels of war-cry whooping. Mercer and Ryan Beattie’s dueling guitar lines reach heroic levels of arena-sized excesses, all while sounding their most accessible and engaging. Frog Eyes walk that razor-thin line of schizoid prog-pop exuberance and …

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RANGDA – FALSE FLAG (DRAG CITY, 2010)

The above for: category above could have read something like this. All of your favorite guitarists on acid. For example: The opening riff on “Waldorf Hysteria” sounds like Dick Dale, on acid, playing a demented surf riffs. The hyper-kinetic, swirling solos smearing expressionistic tonal freakouts into disciplined structuralist breakdowns on “Bull Lore” sound like Jimi Hendrix…on acid. …

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