Esben and the Witches
March 2011 offers some encouraging colors to brighten the season’s drab white-washed landscapes. Musical palettes ponder a brilliant spectrum of choices from cataclysmic British wizards ESBEN AND THE WITCH’s simmering, quivering banshee incantation, “Violet Cries,” to polyphonic collagists THE BOOK’s reissued fractured art-folk mash-ups, “The Lemon of Pink” and contemporary classical composer DUSTIN O’HALLORAN’s expanded strings, piano and electronics treatments in his flawlessly sublime, delicately discrete, “Lumiere.” Follow the light.
Stricken City - Losing Colour
Album title: Losing Colour
Record Label: Kora Records
Announcing their demise before releasing their final effort, London-based indie-pop instigators Stricken City insure their underground cult status with nimble middle class narratives marrying sinister riffs and cavernous crescendos to winged deliveries tunneling through riveting rhythms. Posh pariahs stylishly sizing up fleeting scenes, “Losing,” fuses vexing questions and parochial prose to turbulent furnaces stoking fiery choirs and deft, reflective projections.
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Ringo Deathstarr - Colour Trip
Album title: Colour Trip
Record Label: Sonic Unyon
Bulldozer composure’s muffled muscle, “Trip,” whips blistering skate-punk bluster into decidedly indecipherable custard. Tasty bandaged tangents languishes over laudable gauze merging kaleidoscopic monsters inside warped torpor as crackling fractals blasting acid-washed passions mask bedroom whisperings under buzz-saw hooks. The Austin trio’s debut usher lusciously crunchy lullabies past demure assurance into backwards catastrophes braving hazy waves, pounding sounds and curlicue grooves.
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The Dodos - No Color
Album title: No Color
Record Label: Frenchkiss Records
Happily thrashing contrapuntal puzzles, “No,” explodes in joyfully melodic thunder. Stitched up and knitted from ribald, tribal indie-rock waltzes and shell-shocked, cock-eyed thrill-ride spirals, the Dodo’s pleasing, fleeting seesaw swatch of durable dynamics sandwich palatable pleasures from clever, dueling romantics whose burgeoning urgency and aggressively zesty methods conjure dreamboat sea-shanties among lively pop options diverting flirty percolations around revisionist’s collisions.
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Tina Dico - Welcome Back Color
Album title: Welcome Back Color
Record Label: Defend Music
A versatile voice whose fullness and shading lends edge to her breezy eloquence and sympathy to her perceptive messages, Dico’s jam-packed double-disc introduces America through her European chart-toppers, new tunes and reworked acoustic duets. Hard choices dressed in eye-catching pop-rock frocks and consensual easy-listening christenings, “Welcome,” invites glistening images inside beautifully agile ballads and unfettered confessions within sage, engaged serenades.
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Asobi Seksu - Fluorescence
Album title: Fluorescence
Record Label: Polyvinyl
Stirring fuzzy buzzing watery flotsam alongside mesmerizing mermaid melodies, “Fluorescence,” swims in shimmering whimsy whose celestially electric swarms swoop through wicked cherubic doo-wop wrapped in bewitching beat-filled fission propelling jet-setting soundscapes. The variously talented duo’s effervescent shoe-gazing mazes uncage cartoon-groomed dream-pop for haunted spectral head-trips smeared in smooth, convoluted quasi-kitschy cacophony; gilded, puppy-dog melancholy crackling under shiny nursery rhyme kindness.
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Yellowbirds - The Color
Album title: The Color
Record Label: The Royal Potato Family
Former Apollo Sunshine singer/songwriter Sam Cohen’s cosmic rock crop of rafter-rattling pop ricochets from reverb-heavy heartache to bright, astral enlightenment. Evoking psychotropic-folk fandangos via effects-laden auto-harps, brisk, mournful guitars and thick percussive conniptions, “Color,” cranks out blissfully boisterous warbling; open road odes to safe havens from rollicking rainbow souls brimming with evangelical fire, worldly wayfarer wisdom and unchained changeling jangle.
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Several recent musical selections center around places, MEMPHIS’ sweetly stunning, sensitively rendered, “Here Comes a City,” was recorded over three years and several locations tipping it’s hat to Australia’s Go-Betweens, rootless pursuits and the duo’s enduring friendship while Adult Swim’s HEIDECKER & WOOD’s debut, “Starting From Nowhere,” slips sly sarcasm into loving reproductions of seventies pop-rock templates. If albums were islands then crackerjack Cajun purveyors STEVE RILEY AND THE MAMOU PLAYBOYS’ resplendently jiggy jamboree, “Grand Isle,” and multi-instrumentalist SHUGO TOKUMARU’s devilishly pleasant, winningly innocent, “Port Entropy,” would be heavenly get-aways