Jon Autry – Beautifully Broken – Usonian
Here’s another nice surprise that was waiting in my mailbox. Pressed on transparent blue vinyl, this LP is chuck full of prime indie-pop-folk goodness. The songwriting and instrumentation are quite a nice pair, with the lyrics lending themselves well to the mixture of acoustic and electric guitar and a variety of percussion and atmospheres. I feel like it’s a mix of Iron and Wine, Bonnie Prince Billy, and Beck’s folk side with elements of Wolftron. This is a great LP; it’s engaging, well-crafted and it shows off Autry’s talents wonderfully. (4.8 out of 5)
Wei Zhongle – Raised High / Brought Low – Edible Onion
It’s recordings like this one that make me realize I need a better stereo. My little speaker just doesn’t cut it. This LP wins the “most unique” award for today’s listening session, and I seriously mean that in a good way. The fusion here between Asian and Balkan instrumentation and scale styles was quite an eye opener. I’ve yet to have anything come in for submission sounding anything like this before. It’s like Japanese scales meets Balkan rhythm and strum patterns meets experimental jazz meets raga vocals. And speaking of vocals, the singer’s voice takes on the appearance of a string instrument, perhaps a sitar or some other rapid tone-shifting instrument. It’s uncanny. This is a very engaging record and I give it massive points for putting sounds together I never dreamed of hearing on one record. Artfully done! (4.7 out of 5)
Eureka California – Crunch – Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records
The jangle pop punk indie gods return with their first LP since 2012’s “Big Cats Can Swim.” And after having the privilege of reviewing that album when it came out, getting my paws on this LP after nearly two years of silence was awesome. Here, the band ventures into a peppier sound that throws me headlong into a state of bliss. Lyrically, like their last album, this is genius but a bit more on the playful side of things as far as writing goes. There’s not a single dull moment on this LP. I found myself loving each track, easily falling into the crazy and vibrant vibes. Rock on! (5 out of 5).
Bastards of Fate – Vampires Are Real And Palpable – This Will Be Our Summer Records
Here is a solid and packed LP full of pure, gritty experimental rock fused with so much life that calling it “experimental rock” really doesn’t define it. Maybe I could get away with calling it indie-experimental… At any rate, the lyrics are put together well and create the glue that the foundation of this record is built on. Add the strange, fun and sometimes noisy sound clips that bridge gaps between tracks and you have yourself one giant cohesive wall of sound. Overall, this is a unique record, with an overhanging darkness that’s surprisingly upbeat, giving me this image of a vampire lounging with a lemon lollypop in his mouth. The imagination and creativity here is equal to that wild sonic exploration of perhaps Yasushi Ishii but the Bastards Of Fate have a sound that is unmistakably original.Seriously, this is quite the LP. (4.8 out of 5)