New Music Roundup, February 18th-February 24th, 2022

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Better late than never. What a week, though. I’ve studied European politics and specifically post-communist spaces at the grad level so this was somewhat less compelling this week than that. Still, here we are, with some neat records that shouldn’t fall through the cracks.

The Highlights:

Beach House – Once Twice Melody

★★★★

Released on Sub Pop Records

Like Low – or, more jarringly, like AC/DC – Beach House have mastered the art of using the same basic underlying sound and making it sound just as good with each iteration. For their first album in seven years, they once again make something instantly recognizable as Beach House, but with little flourishes and nuances throughout that transform it into a sort of alternate-world version of the band. Consistency is rare out there – Low, the National, Spoon, and Deerhoof are others that come to mind, but beyond that it gets a bit dicey. Beach House are definitely one of those groups, though, the kind that can’t seem to make a bad album if they try.

Sea Power – Everything Was Forever

★★★☆

Released on Golden Chariot Records

I ditched the band then known as British Sea Power at the end of the 00s because they seemed lost and in a mode where they thought heaping more on would make their songs turn out better. It didn’t. Imagine my surprise, then, in 2022 when the band (minus the “British” part of their name, as a statement against nationalism) stripped out the more useless stuff they’d spent a decade tinkering with and got back to basics. There are actual viable songs here once more, and while they still tend to struggle with hooks it’s les of a problem than it has been post-Do You Like Rock Music? Return to form doesn’t work for everyone, but it works quite well here.

Sally Shapiro – Sad Cities

★★★☆

Released on Italians Do It Better

Italo disco by way of Sweden, dreamy and propulsive. All the more gorgeous when you consider the singer is too shy to perform live.

Debit – The Long Count

★★★★

Released on Modern Love

Chilly drone that captures essence of both paranoia and pastoralia, making for a comfortably uncomfortable situation.

Basement Revolver – Embody

★★★☆

Released on Sonic Unyon

Power dream pop that explores the intersection of identity, faith, and sexuality, with soaring hooks that keep things going even when you’ve heard all these moves before.

Cheer-Accident – Here Comes The Sunset

★★★☆

Released on Skin Graft Records

They don’t make compellingly weird prog albums much anymore, but Here Comes The Sunset fills that niche quite nicely. Includes a cover of Cheap Trick’s last great single “Dream Police” that plays it very straight right up until the point the acid kicks in.

The Rest:

Alice Glass – PREY/IV ★★★ (Eating Glass)

Black Dresses – Forget Your Own Face ★★★☆ (Blacksquares Media)

Metronomy – Small World ★★☆ (Because)

White Lies – As I Try Not To Fall Apart ★★★ ([PIAS])

Methyl Ethyl – Are You Haunted? ★★★☆ (Future Classic)

The Body & OAA – Enemy of Love ★★★ (Thrill Jockey)

Shovels & Rope – Manticore ★★★☆ (Dualtone)

Sarah Shook & the Disarmers – Nightroamer ★★★ (Abeyance)

Pan-American – The Patience Fader ★★☆ (Kranky)

Shout Out Louds – House ★★☆ (Bud Fox)

Bats – Blue Cabinet ★★★ (Citrus City)

Tennyson – Rot ★★★ (Counter)

Je T’aime – Passive ★★★☆ (Manic Depression)

Big Nothing – Dog Hours ★★★☆ (Lame-O)

Rot TV – Tales of Torment ★★★☆ (Heavy Machinery)

Secret Attraction – Replica ★★★☆ (Stratford Court)

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