Kind of Like Paris — S/T EP — cassette
Here’s a sweet little cassette EP packing in three tracks. This is some dreamy lo fi indie pop, reminding me at times of REM, Silversun Pickups, and perhaps a tiny bit of System Seven (the guitar style on track 3 sort of draws me to that comparison). This is a very short EP but this is a strong one. It certainly has drawn out my appetite and I am eager to hear more from this band. They have a very solid style in their instrumentation, their writing is great and I’m left happily wanting more. (4.8 out of 5)
Squanto — A Gift + A Favor — cassette
Lo fi acoustics with some textured sounds, leaning a bit into experimental territory. This EP in a way could serve as a companion to Squanto’s album, “Every Night Draws the Same Crowd,” especially since it features a demo version of the track, “To The Grid.” The sounds here are pretty mesmerizing; acoustic guitar, crickets, soft textured and layered vocals, and this ambient/textured atmosphere in spots really takes this recording to a brilliant level. (5 out of 5)
Swim Ignorant Fire — Belly of a Whale — cassette
Fresh avant-garde art rock! Swim Ignorant Fire has quite an extensive back catalog with releases dating back to 2005, some physical, others digital. This cassette, released in early 2013, packs three lengthy tracks and is a stark contrast to what I’ve listened to thus far from Lok Rok. That’s not a bad thing, of course! Lush guitar and synth pads create lo fi ambient soundscapes that ebb, flow, layer, deconstruct and apex all over the place, at times branching out into noisy bits of distortion and other times, reaching cool calms. Neat stuff! (4.7 out of 5)
Bare Pale — If It Is — cassette
Lo fi and slightly distorted indie rock at its finest. Six tracks adorn this cassette and each one draws me in so completely… it’s like being entranced or hypnotized. It’s like halfway between a dream and an altered state of consciousness. That said, this EP gives new life to simple harmonies and DIY indie lo fi genres as a whole. This is sublime! What more can I say? (4.7 out of 5)
Giant Peach — Callous and Strange – 7”
What strikes me right away is how they have two vocalists and they switch up who leads on each song or so. I like that a lot. This is a nice blend of pop, punk, indie folk rock and alt rock. Lyrically, this is not your standard verse-chorus-verse set up. There is little if any repetition in lines; each track serves as a platform for emotional and contemplative dialog. This is highlighted the most on the track, “Wild Dogs” where both vocalists sing a series of different lines that tie into each other but never repeats. This is a fantastic record. I really want to hear more from this band. (5.0 out of 5).
Did I mention there is a hand numbered and autographed piece of artwork in the sleeve? Surprise!
Make It Plain — Somersault / Hutch – 7”
An interesting blend of indie goodness, sounding a bit like the Catherine Wheel, Mazzy Star and maybe a light dusting of Dinosaur Jr. Call me crazy if you don’t get those same vibes. I’ve just finished the first track and I already feel they’ve conquered songwriting and the arrangement of their instrumentation. The vocals here are amazing and I feel quite refreshed after playing this single. Both tracks pack a nice punch… makes me wish I had a better turntable—I can’t plug external speakers in and I feel like I am losing a lot of the sound. This is just a perfect record. (5.0 out of 5)
Imaginary Pants — Channels / Seacliff – 7”
The cover art alone drew me into this. The sound on this single is what would happen if you took the best elements from Make it Plain and Giant Peach and sat them in front of a camp fire in the middle of the forest. This is some prime musical magic here; the indie folk/indie rock goodness oozing from my speakers is jam packed with harmonic vocals and songwriting that just makes me so damn happy. (4.9 out of 5)
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