Come Monday night, things are about to get pretty effing loud north of Chinatown. Portland,...
Published: 10/10/2013 | 0 Comments Posted
Despite their Tennessee/Nashville roots, Those Darlins (who play the Boot & Saddle this Wednesday) have never been easy to categorize. But on the new Blur the Line (Oh Wow Dang), the manic diversity and oddball edges are shaved down, and hooting, hollering vocalist Jessi Darlin is more invested than ever in doleful ballads and mid-tempo tracks. Blur would have benefited from messier production and dirtier guitars. They’re still fun — just a little less frisky.
Much as Machinedrum’s 2011 breakthrough, Room(s), refitted and streamlined the frantic antics of Chicago footwork, Vapor City (Ninja Tune) appropriates the floor-friendly architecture of drum ’n’ bass and skittering digital dancehall for much more shadowy, diffuse, wistfully atmospheric purposes. We’re talking loads of sonic detail — sleepy/spectral vocal fragments, brooding synth pads, infinitely divisible rhythmic tracery — to render a meticulously misty, grayscale urban moodscape.
—K. Ross Hoffman
Lee Ranaldo (formerly?) of Sonic Youth flies the flag for the band’s ’70s-rock — dare we say freedom-rock? — side on Last Night on Earth (Matador). The album is unabashedly in the mold of Neil Young, Television, even a bit of Grateful Dead. More crucially, Last Night unveils Lee Ranaldo and The Dust (comprised of guitarist Alan Licht, bassist Tim Luntzel and redoubtable SY drummer Steve Shelley), a group already possessing intuitive chemistry. Ranaldo is given free rein for some inspired guitar work.
Not every garage-punk band follows up their Detroit techno covers record with an exuberant homage to vintage bubblegum. It’s probably just The Dirtbombs. Not just any ol’ ’60s pop rehash, Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-Blooey (In the Red) stomps and shimmies, sugar-shocks and sha-la-las like the Archies gone pleasantly feral. While these ten 10-minute wonders are technically all Mick Collins originals, he’s not above quoting from the classics: “Mony Mony,” “Yummy Yummy Yummy” and even “Good Vibrations.”
—K. Ross Hoffman