Editor’s Note:

Welcome to the October edition of Head Candy, snuck in just under the wire.

This month’s edition brings some fairly significant changes, with the most notable being the expansion of our staff of reviewers—the joyous result of TNB Music’s recent call for writers. With these fresh voices comes a raft of expertise, passion and commitment to providing our readers with insightful evaluations of new releases across a number of genres. The addition of additional writers has also increased our bandwidth for more reviews and, after some debate, we have introduced a standard rating system in response to reader feedback. Initially, because we had so few writers, TNB Music focused exclusively on reviewing releases that we felt were worthy of your time, attention and paper route money. With a full staff, we can now sit down and pore through the literally hundreds of albums we receive each month for review, and therefore we felt it was time to incorporate a rating system that we hope readers will find helpful in evaluating whether to further investigate these albums and artists. Thanks for your continued support, and we’ll see you out in the streets.

-Joe Daly
TNB Music Editor

 

THE DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT

Epicloud

HEVYDEVY RECORDS

Terrible news for all other Album of the Year contestants

10/10

Perhaps the greatest testament to Devin Townsend’s creative genius is that with each new release, his fans maintain terrifyingly high expectations without having any idea what to expect. Normally the measuring stick for a new release is the artist’s last album; in Devin’s case, we need to look at his last four albums, issued consecutively over the past five years as free range experiment in exploring his artistic motivations. That experiment yielded four uniquely engaging records (Ki, Addicted, Deconstruction and Ghost) released under his Devin Townsend Project, each with its own vibe, personality and themes. That one of those—Deconstruction—was a concept album about a vegetarian who ends up in Hell and is forced to eat a cheeseburger, speaks to both the humor and complexity that his music tends to reflect. Epicloud is neither a continuation of any of those single releases, nor is it entirely unrelated; instead, the Canadian guitarist/singer/producer’s fifteenth studio album relates to the last four albums as a golden temple resting on four towering pillars. Epicloud is a supremely enjoyable listening experience from the jubilant a capella chorus of opener “Effervescent!” straight through to the final notes of “Angel.” Neither straight pop nor pure metal, each listen reveals bracing blends of both of those broad genres, as well as myriad other musical styles. Townsend himself is an enormously-gifted vocalist and with help from Anneke van Giersbergen (who provided guest vocals on the pop-savvy Addicted), the album unapologetically explores the gorgeous ether of the pop rock stratosphere. “True North” leads the listener into the heart of the album like a boot kicking down the door of a palace, unveiling spacious harmonies, muscular rhythms and bright, resplendent melodies hanging from all corners like plush sonic tapestries. “True North”also suggests shades of Queen, packed with fortified vocals and explosive, multi-layered hooks that are as catchy as anything released since the fall of Napster. “Lucky Animals” is a snappy, playful barnstormer, followed by “Liberation,” a smoking hot and unabashedly fun rocker with splashing choruses, punishing drums and a bridge spacious enough to make Jim Steinman blush. Beyond the smoldering rock candy and hard-hitting speed limit dusters, stunning ballads such as “Where We Belong” and “Divine” invest Epicloud with depth, breathing room and reservoirs of raw, unguarded emotion. While DTP’s musicianship is typically high and the songwriting both far-reaching and ambitious, there is nonetheless an exuberant coherence that doesn’t simply connect one song to the next; there is the sense that each passage, each lyric and each note has been meticulously and lovingly placed with the entire album in mind. Epicloud is more than Devin Townsend’s brightest moment; it is a timeless, unqualified masterpiece. -Joe Daly

Key tracks: True North, Where We Belong, Save our Now, Divine

For fans of: Queen, Animals as Leaders, Butch Walker, Anathema

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TRISTAN PRETTYMAN

Cedar + Gold

CAPITOL

9/10

Gorgeous songwriting for the fall harvest

She had every reason to call it quits. Tristan Prettyman, the captivating songwriting ingenue from Southern California, had endured a Jupiter-sized share of challenges in the past two years. There was the torrid, high-profile romance with and eventual engagement to singer-songwriter Jason Mraz, followed by painful throat surgery to remove the polyps that had conspired to draw the curtain on a career that had just opened a new act. A skilful surgeon saved her singing career, but medicine offered no remedy for the public evisceration of her heart when Mraz called off the engagement, leaving Prettyman emotionally bereft and creatively adrift. Eventually she turned to her notebooks and her acoustic guitar and she set down to capture her coarse emotions in a series of song ideas that eventually led to Cedar + Gold—not just her finest work to date, but one of the richest listening pleasures in 2012. With a peerless talent for packing robust, complex emotions into catchy turns of phrase, Prettyman writes with an incisive vulnerability that deftly sidesteps venomous cliches of the lover scorned, instead bravely exploring the full penumbra of emotions that had gathered over her struggles. Beyond the lyrical heaviness, this is pop music of the highest order, devoid of the saccharine cliches or heavy-handed production that typically mar releases of that style. Draped across a bare bones acoustic architecture are colorful, sometimes blinding cloaks of trip hop (“Bad Drug”), gorgeous countrified folk (“Deepest Ocean Blue”), shades of Americana (“Quit You”) and of course, bright, luscious pop (“My Oh My,” “When You Come Down”). The blistering, impossibly catchy “Second Chance” is the standout, although repeated listens reveal a deep and redemptive experience, straight through to the unexpected suckerpunch of the record’s final sixty seconds. With Cedar + Gold, Prettyman has crafted her enduring statement and in doing so, she has emerged as one of the decade’s most important voices. -Joe Daly

Key tracks: Second Chance, Say Anything, Deepest Ocean Blue

For fans of: Patti Smith, Charlie Mars, Beth Orton

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THE BURNING OF ROME

With Us

SURFDOG

 6/10

Welcome to the circus!

Who are The Burning of Rome? Imagine Polyphonic Spree―with blood and costumes instead of white robes―blending theater, glam, prog, punk, psychedelia, and ’80s pop with hazy, layered vocals. One moment they’re re-defining “punk cabaret,” the next they’re cranking out riffage heavy enough to shame Ozzy or Marilyn Manson. Casual listeners should limit themselves to the riffage (“Cowboys & Cut Cigars” and “Wake Up Edamame”); the rest of With Us demands more of the listener. Lead single “Ballad of an Onion Sprout,” for example, starts off as a Spotify jingle, then morphs into a huge, echo-laden ’80s pop tune that wouldn’t sound out of place on a flower-festooned stage at a late-’60s rock festival. It’s a big, bright, precious mess―but it works. “Audrey II” is a Little Shop of Horrors tribute, complete with samples, done in waltz-time. The disc’s most unusual track, it’s also the most successful. It’s easy to imagine this as a sing-a-long in a dimly lit German tavern somewhere. The only real misstep is “Untitled,” 16 minutes of noise. This sort of thing has already been done―and done better―and doesn’t really fit with the rest of the disc. There’s lots to discover here. Are you brave enough? – Kevin J. O’Conner

Key Tracks: “Ballad of an Onion Sprout,” “Cowboys & Cut Cigars,” “Audrey II”

For Fans of: Polyphonic Spree, Butthole Surfers, genre smashing

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THE CASKET LOTTERY

Real Fear

NO SLEEP RECORDS

6.5/10

Indie Rock

So Kansas City indie rock outfit The Casket Lottery has awoken from a nine-year respite to release Real Fear. One would expect a revamped aesthetic, and in that aspect this record delivers. Unfortunately, though, Real Fear sounds like a transitional work. The Casket Lottery’s previous efforts veered between pop and a sort of a fuzzy guitar-driven Dinosaur Jr. sound. Real Fear takes that and adds ethereal keyboards and walking bass lines. Vocalist/guitarist Nathan Ellis experiments with pretty melodies and primal screams, while the songs leave the listener somewhere between post-punk and hair metal. “Radiation Bells,” for example, provides an atmospheric keyboard element, but the pretty harmonies make it sound hair metal-ish. “Baptistina,” begins with a Western-style guitar riff before unleashing Ellis’ visceral wails. “The Door” takes a similar route, adding Stacy Hilt’s rolling bass line, then uses Ellis’ dissonant chord progressions to provide the requisite angst. In the end, the listener is left with little to latch on to, lacking the inspired moments on previous efforts like Survival is for Cowards. This record showcases a band with an admirable desire to innovate. Wherever The Casket Lottery is headed, however, Real Fear has not quite arrived there yet. – Stephen Tow

Key tracks: Radiation Bells, Baptistina, The Door

For fans of: Paris, Texas, Dinosaur Jr, Janes Addiction

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THE DANDELION WAR

We Were Always Loyal to Lost Causes

DEEP ELM

6/10

Post-post-rock shoegaze

With their sophomore release, We Were Always Loyal to Lost Causes, Oakland quintet The Dandelion War offer ethereal soundscapes as much as the slow building post-rock upon which they built their name in a scant four years. They say that they put reverb on everything, and that’s no lie. Everything hangs in the air with these songs. The eddies in the currents have time to develop and reveal hidden patterns. They go for big cinematic chords with lots of room for crashing cymbals and drums full of ceremony, while still giving ample room to meditative instrumental tracks or simple vocals. We Were walks the listener through the band’s record collection. If the album begins wearing Radiohead clothes, it finishes solidly reminiscent of Explosions in the Sky. The requisite synth and glockenspiel red herrings make you think it’s partially an homage to OK Computer, and you’re not wrong, but there’s Sonic Youth in here, there’s Lush — they picked good heroes, and each one gets its day. Which is not to say that they lack individuality. Rather, the tropes present merely underscore the emotional effectiveness of the songs. Sometimes the overtones carry the weight, and sometimes you can almost hear the heartbeats beneath soft vocals, but all along the way it feels like a discourse, with eyes looking back as well as forward. -Tom Mohrman

Standout Tracks: 03 1848, A Mi Alrededor, Stone Castles

For fans of: Explosions in the Sky, Brad, Sigur Rós

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DISPATCH

Circles Around the Sun

BOMBER RECORDS

8/10

Jam Band

Here might be the best way to evaluate a jam band’s worth: does the music sound good outside, or does it seem like it will sound good outside? Like, can you picture yourself listening while enjoying a cold one with friends on a picturesque summer afternoon? I think the answer to that question, in regards to Dispatch’s Circles Around the Sun, is an unequivocal ‘yes.’  Beginning with the beautiful harmonic opening title track, you will feel like you’re hanging out with your buddies at a Dispatch show. After the opener, the band segues into “Not Messin’,” which offers a hip hop element before quickly crossing into more ’70s style riff-rock…along the lines of other jam bands like Umphrey’s McGee or Gov’t Mule. The country-folkish and danceable “Get Ready Boy” follows. Following the first three songs, the record leaves the bombast at the door and ventures into the land of the mellow. You chat with your friends as the music ventures into the background with low key selections like the love-tinged “Josaphine” and the wistful “We Hold A Gun.” So if the jam band genre does anything for you, then you will absolutely dig Circles Around the Sun. -Stephen Tow

Key tracks: Not Messin’, Get Ready Boy, Josaphine, We Hold A Gun

For fans of: Phish, Umphrey’s McGee

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DUM DUM GIRLS

End of Daze EP

SUBPOP RECORDS

8/10

Dreamy and sublime

In the second track off their 4th EP, End of Daze, vocalist Dee Dee Penny sings, “I don’t want to fade; I just want to shine;” and in their latest release, the Dum Dum Girls demonstrate their need to shine as they once again emerge as musicians who are both glorious and surreal. This polished recording is proof-positive that an EP can hit the mark on all five points. From the moment Dee Dee Penny sings the words, “Satan on my lips,” her transfixing, trance-like vocals dance and twirl atop dream-like distorted guitar riffs and ethereal melodies. While the opening track “Mine Tonight” begins with a death wish and a ‘hazy’ downward spiral, the track “Season in Hell,” with its lyric of “Doesn’t dawn look divine?” envisions the possibility of rebirth and hopes for renewal. The bleak, yet hopelessly catchy melodies evoke The Cure’s 1989 album Disintegration; however, the eerily familiar sounds get a modern make-over as the clarity of Dee Dee’s voice is set against a rich backdrop of swirling noise.  “Trees and Flowers,” with its impressionistic tones, laments the feelings of powerlessness and isolation in a world that seems overwhelming at times; however, the end of the album proves the Dum Dum Girls are a force to be reckoned with as they arise triumphant. -Clarissa Olivarez

Key Tracks: I Got Nothing, Lord Knows, Season in Hell

Sounds Like: The Raveonettes, Mazzy Star, Hope Sandoval, The Cure, The Jesus and Mary Chain

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GLAMOUR OF THE KILL

The Summoning

eONE MUSIC

 4/10

Recycling for fun and profit

Glamour of the Kill’s full-length debut first saw limited release in early 2011 in their native UK; over a year-and-a-half later, the band are making their big push with a worldwide release. The band’s official bio describes The Summoning as “a breath of fresh air in a cookie cutter scene that often takes itself too seriously.” Unfortunately, that “cookie cutter” mentality also affects this album, which throws together various elements of the metal genre into a mix that will provide detractors and critics with plenty to dismiss. The title track is even one of the album’s two obligatory power ballads. The basic vibe on The Summoning is an ’80s hair metal veneer atop a beefy rhythm section a la Guns ‘N Roses or Metallica. While this gives the well-crafted tunes accessibility to the larger audience the band clearly craves, the occasional lapses into the half-growled, half-vomited vocals usually associated with European death metal come across more as parody than profundity. In a live setting, this all probably works very well; on record, it comes across as more of a recycling effort, in which no heavy metal cliché goes to waste. It’s very well-intentioned, but… – Kevin J. O’Conner

Key Tracks: “If Only She Knew,” “Feeling Alive,” “Here, Behind These Walls”

For Fans of: Architects, Sylosis, The Amity Affliction, A Skylit Drive

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HEATHER MAE

One Year of Songs 

KICKSTARTER

6/10

Refreshingly candid

Heather Mae’s debut album One Year of Songs began as a project that was born out of the artist’s continued frustration with the unreliable nature of the artistic process. On October 1, 2010, singer-songwriter Heather Mae embarked on a creative venture to reclaim her creative spirit by writing and recording one song for each day of the year. Mae’s Kickstarter campaign, which she launched in June 2012, met its goal a month later as backers pledged money towards the studio recording in exchange for either a performance at their house or their very own song (written by the artist herself). The result of her Kickstarter project – a handpicked selection of songs that chart the musician’s emotions as they rise and fall and a delightfully honest self-portrait that holds nothing back. Mae and her band, The Make Believe, open the album with a brooding melody entitled “Fools Heart,” which marks the beginning of a jagged path that will take the listener through Mae’s personal struggles, triumphs, and dreams. Mae’s clean and crisp vocals guide the listener through uncharted territory and illuminate her life in a most endearing fashion. In her song entitled “Summer Road,” Mae sings, “I search for music inside of me.” At what looks to be the beginning of a very long career in songwriting, Mae has searched deep inside herself to bring this music to the surface for us to enjoy. The songs are heartfelt, sincere, and celebratory. – Clarissa Olivarez

Key Tracks: “Just Stay,” “One of These Days,” “Summer Road”

Sounds Like: Regina Spektor, Ingrid Michaelson, Bess Rogers, Norah Jones, Allie Moss

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INDIAN SCHOOL

The Cruelest Kind EP

ANIMAL STYLE RECORDS

6/10

Pop Rock

Audio Karate released Lady Melody in 2004 and then disappeared. Singer-songwriter Arturo Barrios stopped writing music. Two car accidents got him back on track. Wanting a fresh start, he reunited with Justo Gonzalez and Gabriel Camacho, added Anthony Leach and Eric Wood to the lineup, and christened the project Indian School. Their debut EP, The Cruelest Kind, finds Barrios and company stepping away from pop-punk and slouching into new territory. Indian School compares themselves to The Replacements. In their bio, they identify “Elvis,” the opener here, as “the best song Westerberg and the rest of The Replacements never wrote.” “Elvis” sounds like Julian Casablancas strutting through an indie-by-numbers pop lie, but a lost ‘Mats gem it ain’t. The band also claims Guided by Voices and My Morning Jacket as influences. I hear no trace of Guided by Voices. No fuzzy glory. No crooked beauty. I hear some My Morning Jacket in the swimmy breakdown of “Rob Your House” and in the full sound of “Wind You Up” and “Cocktail Flu,” three of the most successful songs on the EP. I keep coming back to “High Low.” It starts weak, but builds to something panoramic and dreamy. Barrios sings, “And there’s a slow and constant ache that I draw from,” and I believe him. This line supplies an emotional center to a band with a minor identity crisis. Other songs flop. The catchy “Head Right” claws at my patience. “Bowerbird,” the closer, sounds triumphant and feels hollow. But plenty works well (and I love the cover art). Here’s to hoping that soon Indian School figures out who they really are. –William Boyle

Ketracks: “High Low”; “Rob Your House”; “Cocktail Flu”

For fans of: Delta Spirit; Deer Tick; Two Gallants

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KID KOALA

12 Bit Blues

NINJA TUNE

9/10

Reverse-engineered blues via turntablism

As it’s been since the very beginning with Scratchcratchratchatch in 1996, Kid Koala continues to adhere to his unique musical aesthetic. Since his 2006 album, Your Mom’s Favorite DJ, Koala’s produced not only music collaborations including the Slew in 2009, but also books and visual art. Each previous release hinted at the epic reverse-engineered blues album he was dying to make. With 12 Bit Blues his turntable vision reveals itself completely. If you could think of a musical genre as a country, then listening to this would remind you of an immigrant’s passion for their chosen land. While having a love for it, and a deep understanding, still there’s a strong accent. Having previously proven his ability to faithfully, if oddly, reproduce the blues on his 2003 album Some of My Best Friends are DJs with the track ‘Basin Street Blues,’ Koala chose with his latest release to create an entire blues album with scratched records and his collection of vintage oddball studio instruments and samplers. The playful sense of humor, the turntable virtuosity, that Koala shuffle feel — these aspects are expected and present on the album, but what calls you back to listen again and again lies in the soulfulness, Koala’s borderline OCD desire to use his chosen medium to honor and frankenstein together the blues. The whole album exists as a sort of beautiful art project. Fans that purchase the double LP also receive a comic book, and a DIY cardboard gramophone kit with accompanying record, and an emergency set of dominoes, which answers the question of if there is any reason to pick up a physical copy. -Tom Mohrman

Key tracks: 8 Bit Blues (Chicago to LA to NY), 5 Bit Blues, 11 Bit Blues

For fans of: Cut Chemist, DJ Shadow, Robert Johnson

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PEBALUNA

Carny Life

MDB RECORDS

3/10

Folk-pop

Fronted by Laura Coleman, Pebaluna begs to be loved. Coleman grew up singing in a Las Vegas church choir, and her voice moves comfortably between genres. Guitarist Matt Embree, drummer Jessica Lankford, and bassist Jon Grillo accompany her with poise. Unfortunately, though, Carny Life, the band’s sunny folk-pop debut, stands still. The prospect of an album populated by freak-show geeks excited me. Pebaluna takes its name from a lost dog and that should’ve been the first clue that they’d rock me about as hard as a high-end wedding band. No lobster-boys or bird-girls here. Thirty seconds into “All Falling Down,” the album’s opener, Coleman stops sounding like Jolie Holland Lite and starts peddling a brand of sugary mom rock. I wish I could find something to latch onto here. I watched videos of Pebaluna on YouTube, “Pebasodes,” and the band seemed really adorable, curled up on the couch, Coleman barefoot. To me, Carny Life comes off as background music for a mediocre TV drama about teenagers in love. “Sunshine Lullaby,” the album’s last track, features a sing-along chorus and leaves us with a bland, panic-inducing nightmare of good vibes. The record continues to garner positive reviews, and the three customers who rated it on Amazon seem to love it. Blondzilla8 wishes she “had SIX stars for this one.” But Carny Life just sent me scurrying back to O’ Be Joyful by Shovels & Rope for relief. I’d rather walk on gravel, on burning coals, than be carried across soft white sand to a place where everything seems like a lie. –William Boyle

Key Tracks: “Sister Sara”; “Baby, What’s Wrong?”; “Siren Song”

For fans of: The Civil Wars; Norah Jones; Nickel Creek

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ROSCO BANDANA

Time To Begin 
HARD ROCK RECORDS
7/10
Folk pop
Rosco Bandana’s Time To Begin is not the debut anyone expects from a band who won their record deal with Hard Rock Records by way of a Battle Of the Bands competition. But, despite their recent and fortunate induction to the mainstream music scene, Rosco Bandana’s album introduces the Mississippi septet as a rugged Southern rock band reluctant to part ways with their stomp/clap rhythm section and bluegrass roots. Singer/songwriter Jason Sanford is an adequate storyteller but his lyrics take a backseat to his twangy timbre. Emily Sholes and Jennifer Flint often bookend Sanford’s voice, coupling soulful moments with gospel-soaked melodies that drag the songs from swamp to sermon. Though Time To Begin may not be easy to absorb for the “anything but country” music crowd, Rosco Bandana have found their signature sound and execute it efficiently. Intentional or otherwise, the band’s influences play a heavy-handed role throughout the majority of Time To Begin, but the seven piece seems to draw their inspiration from an expansive catalog, making the comparisons salient but fleeting. From the arrangement of the boisterous and upbeat “Radio Band Slinger” to the cover of Blur’s “Tender,” the band seems capable of stamping their signature sound on any song that they can play on a banjo.-Brianne Turner
Key tracks: “Time To Begin,” “Radio Band Slinger,” “Woe Is Me”
For fans of: Mumford and Sons, Shovels and Rope
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ST. LUCIA
St. Lucia
NEON GOLD RECORDS
6.7/10
Electronic indie pop
Brooklyn-based and Johannesburg-bred, Jean-Philip Grobler’s one-man electro-pop project, St. Lucia, offers a mesmeric take on the atmospheric pop sound that has recently found its way to the mainstream forefront. His self-titled debut EP boasts an executive producer credit from James Iha and a collection of easily-digestible electronic compositions that are the sort of songs you find yourself secretly SoundHound-ing during car commercials. St. Lucia’s atmospheric melodies flirt with the fine line between the echo-soaked dream pop of The xx and the commercial catchiness of Phoenix’s newer releases. Though his overall, signature sound isn’t necessarily distinct, the true personality of his craft is highlighted in his hypnotic melodies and keen attention to detail. Grobler’s arrangements create danceable, mildy infectious and expansive soundscapes. The drum fill and background vocals on “All Eyes On You” are more impressive than anything you’ll find intertwined throughout the track’s top layer. St. Lucia’s ability to manipulate mood and detail with his computer-based arrangements is impressive, but this EP lacks the edge needed to maintain staying power in such an oversaturated genre. However, one of the Big Three really should shell out the cash to get “Closer Than This” in a commercial for one of their sedans. That hook is catchy in a way that will make someone want to buy something fast and shiny. -Brianne Turner
Key Tracks: “Closer Than This,” “All Eyes On You,” “The Old House Is Gone”
For fans of: Delorean, Grouplove, Tanlines

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TITUS ANDRONICUS

Local Business

XL RECORDINGS

9/10

Thundering, Pogues/Springsteen/New York Dolls-influenced Rock

What if you were expected to follow up the best record of 2010 with something equally epic? You’d flop on your ass, that’s what you’d do. Unless you’re a genius or sufficiently genuine like Titus Andronicus. Local Business, the band’s third LP, falls short of masterpiece The Monitor, but it whipsaws along with a rambunctious energy and ultimately succeeds pretty goddamn gloriously. Eating disorders. Electrocution. Car wrecks. Insanity. Forgiveness. Staying positive. Shit’s covered here. I’m hard-pressed to find a narrative thread, but it’s probably present under all the good-time wailing. Lead singer Patrick Stickles dishes about making your own morality in a meaningless world, but who really gives a fuck when he’s got this much heart? The Airing of Grievances and The Monitor never let up. Local Business, less sprawling, sometimes gets tangled up in itself. Here’s a record that wants to sound raw and polished. That conflict threads its way through these furious forty-nine minutes. A drunken swat of a song, “Upon Viewing Oregon’s Landscape with the Flood of Detritus” rules the record. Punch things to it. Pull out your hair. Drive your car faster. When Stickles howls “Just like me they were made to be thrown away,” I transform into a rotten-toothed kid full of spit and piss. Other standouts include “Still Life with Hot Deuce and Silver Platter,” “In a Big City,” “In a Small Body,” and “Tried to Quit Smoking.” If there’s not something for you, take your ironic fedora and turn tail. The rest of you: Try not to feel like you could fuck up the world when listening. –William Boyle

Key tracks: “Upon Viewing Oregon’s Landscape with the Flood of Detritus”; “In a Big City”; “Tried to Quit Smoking”

For fans of: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists; The Pogues; The Hold Steady

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WAX TAILOR

Dusty Rainbow From the Dark

LE PLAN

7/10

Downtempo orchestral children’s story

Dusty Rainbow From the Dark marks DJ/Producer Wax Tailor’s high water mark in terms of concept albums. With the conceit of a children’s story record, the listener encounters a world as much as an album. The soothing voice of Don McCorkindale opens remarks on strange vistas. The narrator begins as if in front of a curtain on a stage while below Tailor’s orchestra fills the room with fantasy and hints of menace.

Prominent motifs present in Dusty Rainbow echo back to previous albums (e.g. scratched dialog, tearful strings and hip hop beats). While never finding the emotional resonance and simple charm of a song like ‘Que Sera’ from his 2005 debut Tales of the Forgotten Melodies, with his latest, Tailor’s crafted songs that burrow into the listener and take purchase.

A lot of the charm with this one comes from nostalgia; memories of discoveries from a time when that was all life was. It would be a trick if there was an agenda beyond trying to make you listen, and hopefully dance. The narration that often brackets following “the Boy” ties an otherwise disparate album together. Dusty Rainbow makes sense fractally; the album of different ideas and feels being only a larger version of a song that borrows a sample here and there, or maybe just looks for it in dreams. -Tom Mohrman

Standout tracks: Only Once (feat Ali Harter), Heart Stop (feat Jennifer Charles), My Window (feat Elzhi and Akua)

For fans of Blockhead, Lovage, Quantic 

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Lindsey Bluher is a freelance music writer based out of Seattle. She writes actively for Culturemob.com, Neumos.com, and acts as a live reviews writer and Public Relations Director for SSGMusic.com. Find her on twitter @lindseyblue, where she tweets about her appreciation of Ben Gibbard and how cute her dog is.

2 responses to “Head Candy: October, 2012”

  1. isabel roe says:

    Just like to mention that James Iha had nothing to do with the production of St Lucia’s EP at all. Apparently he just chatted to them about their new song September.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Isabel-

      Thanks for the feedback. I don’t mean to speak for the reviewer, but the information we were given is that James Iha had an executive producer credit on the EP. We’ll dig into this some more. You bring up a helpful distinction though, between the EP and the LP, so thanks for weighing in. It will be interesting to see to what degree Iha influences the material on the full release.

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