Round-Up, April 9th-April 15th

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Spirit Of The Beehive – Entertainment, Death

★★★☆

Released April 9th, 2021 on Saddle Creek Records

Messy and bursting with creative ideas, the latest release from the weirdo psych band continues to amaze and bemuse.

Sufjan Stevens – Meditations

★★☆

Released April 9th, 2021 on Asthmatic Kitty Records

Look, I get that Bowie and Eno produced some fine ambient music together back in the day. All I’m saying is that they had the good sense to fully develop their ideas and differentiate them from one another.

Small Black – Cheap Dreams

★★★

Released April 9th, 2021 on 100% Electronica Records

You know how when someone you like does something annoying and you say “It’s a good thing you’re cute”? Small Black is like that. They coast on chillwave being pretty much okay unless you royally screw everything up.

Benny Sings – Music

★★★☆

Released April 9th, 2021 on Stones Throw Records

Slick, clean disco-pop fits in nicely with that wave of dudes making music heavily indebted to the Seventies a few years ago. Mac DeMarco is on here, if that does anything for you.

Hooveriii – Water For The Frogs

★★★

Released April 9th, 2021 on The Reverberation Appreciation Society

Say what you will about Tame Impala – and I have – their earlier work provided a launchpad for any number of psychedelic garage acts to say “hey, I can do this too!” Hooveriii can, in fact, do this too. They can’t do it to the point where they stand out from the crowd, but hey! What do you do?

Pony – TV Baby

★★★

Released April 9th, 2021 on Take This To Heart Records

It’s just Colleen Green with an actual drummer. Or, I guess, Letters To Cleo. Besides that, it’s a pretty good spin.

Flyte – This Is Really Going To Hurt

★★★★

Released April 9th, 2021 on Universal / Island Records

Dig it – a folk rock band that scored a major label recording contract in the wake of a viral cover of Joni Mitchell’s “River”. They manage to hold their own on a full length as well, taking all of the right moves from the individual Beatles outputs of the 1970s.

Bill MacKay and Nathan Bowles – Keys

★★★★

Released April 9th, 2021 on Drag City Records

A primitive folk album that taps into something primal in the American experience, or maybe just evokes a Cormac McCarthy novel, but not one of the ones where a character eats a roasted infant.

Silver Synthetic – Silver Synthetic

★★

Released April 9th, 2021 on Third Man Records

Remember T Rex? Remember the Dandy Warhols? Silver Synthetic sure do.

Saccades – Flowing Fades

★★

Released April 9th, 2021 on Fuzz Club Records

Somewhere out there is a person who will hear this collection of sad-core bedroom synth pop and clutch it to their chests and curl up in their immaculately made bed and weep while their air conditioning slowly mummifies them. It ain’t me, though.

The Reds, Pinks & Purples – Uncommon Weather

★★★

Released April 9th, 2021 on Slumberland Records

A band that couldn’t decide between being a chillwave band and being the Psychedelic Furs, so they did both.

Winds – Look At The Sky

★★★

Released April 9th, 2021 on Natural Records

A very difficult band to find anything on. They share their name with a better-known Norwegian metal band. Searching for a “Winds indie band” turns up other bands that aren’t them. Imagine what searching “Winds Natural Records” turns up. At any rate they steal shamelessly from both Sixties psych pop and contemporary indie pop and make a decent hash out of it.

Hot Breath – Rubbery Lips

★★★☆

Released April 9th, 2021 on the Sign Records

Unabashedly old-school hard rock that blazes away on the fire path first burned by Priest and the Runaways.

Assertion – Intermission

★★★

Released April 9th, 2021 on Spartan Records

*Extremely Simpsons voice* “Who likes Sunny Day Real Estate? ‘Cause we’ve got one of ’em!”

Binker Golding, John Edwards and Steve Noble – Moon Day

★★★☆

Released April 9th, 2021 on Byrd Out Records

Edwards and Noble make a fine chaotic cluttered rhythm section for Golding to squiggle his peculiar tea-kettle saxophone over.

Dramas – Dramas

★★★☆

Released April 9th, 2021 on Fabrique Records

Sometimes you can discern her real voice on here, and at other times you can tell she’s affecting (consciously or not) Billie Eilish if the alt-pop queen went cold Euro disco. Promising synth-pop work.

Evan Greer- Spotify Is Surveillance

★★☆

Released April 9th, 2021 on Get Better Records

The long-since defunct Blender once described Simon & Garfunkel’s “Sound of Silence” as “like being lectured to by a freshman.” I’d like to resurrect that line to describe most of Spotify Is Surveillance. A lot of this is painfully earnest and like AJJ if Sean Bonnette didn’t have a sense of humour. She has her bylines in her Spotify bio ferchrissakes. I don’t care if you wrote for the Washington Post, it’s owned by Jeff Bezos. Come the fuck on. That said “Emma Goldman Would Have Beat Your Ass” slaps and “Taking Down The Tent” manages to do the earnestness in a way that is endearing and punky rather than cringe.

Memoryhouse – Mania

★★★★

Released April 9th, 2021

Five years after pretty much breaking up (getting jobs and trying to find some stability instead of the tattered grind of the indie music circuit) Memoryhouse is back. With a collection of five Beatles covers. Not just any Beatles covers. Deep cuts. One from Beatles For Sale, one from Meet The Beatles!, one from With The Beatles, one that first came out on Anthology 2 in 1996, and a sparse cover of “Oh, Darling!” It’s sublime and altogether too short.

Heavy Feather – Mountain Of Sugar

★★★☆

Released April 9th, 2021 on the Sign Records

Swedish bands have a propensity for doing American music better than Americans; see The Hellacopters and The Hives, amongst others. Heavy Feather offers a dead ringer for Big Brother and the Holding Company, and they do a pretty damn good job of it.

HIRAKI – Stumbling Through The Walls

★★★

Released April 9th, 2021 on Nefarious Industries

Answers that burning human question: what if Atari Teenage Riot was a noise group?

The Limit – Caveman Logic

★★☆

Released April 9th, 2021 on Svart Records

It is a general rule of thumb that the more “legends” you pile into a supergroup, the worse the result will be. Note that both the New Pornographers and Them Crooked Vultures are an exception to this rule.

Caoilfhionn Rose Truly

★★★☆

Released April 9th, 2021 on Gondwana Records

Breezy, jazz-inflected dream pop that sounds like summer twilight.

Elephant Micah – Vague Tidings

★★★☆

Released April 9th, 2021 on Western Vinyl Records

Jazzy, sparse, and haunted with the ghosts of dread folk past, Vague Tidings manages to be both bucolic and despairing all at the same time.

Briston Maroney – Sunflower

★☆

Released April 9th, 2021 on Atlantic Records

These sounds were tired ten years ago. Hell, they were tired twenty years ago. Maroney doesn’t do anything particularly interesting with them either. Songs designed to end up on pilots that never get made into shows.

The Pink Stones – Introducing…The Pink Stones

★★☆

Released April 9th, 2021 on Normaltown Records

OK, so they can play good country rock pretty well. Now they just have to figure out how to write interesting songs.

The Lion’s Daughter – Skin Show

★★☆

Released April 9th, 2021 on Season Of Mist Records

Combines vague prog metal with doom synth and does neither with particular inspiration.

Horndal – Lake Drinker

★★★☆

Released April 9th, 2021 on Prosthetic Records

Sludgy and heavy like early Mastodon, with inspiration drawn from industrial decay and the hopelessness of rust belt existence.

Kauan – Ice Fleet

★★★

Released April 9th, 2021 on Artoffact Records

It’s not ornate enough to be really post-metal but it’s also too embedded with flourishes and touches of bright daylight to be properly doom metal.

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