words by DENISE LU
SPOTLIGHT: Bleeding Rainbow – Yeah Right [Kanine]
The duo formally known as Reading Rainbow, Bleeding Rainbow has now expanded to a four-piece with a new name. Having already released a solid full-length under their former moniker among good company via HoZac Records, the newly-outfitted Bleeding Rainbow’s debut full-length Yeah Right is a culmination of their the band’s past two LP’s that both feature minimalist, grimy garage pop. Vocal harmonies shine through fuzzed-out guitars in tracks with anthem choruses, but Yeah Right also includes softer, stripped-down moments with honest delivery, all served with a hefty helping of a full and rich sound.
Ducktails – The Flower Lane [Domino]
While 2011’s III: Arcade Dynamics spotlighted frontman Matt Mondanile’s woozy guitar noodlings, reflecting the breezy feel of associated act Real Estate, The Flower Lane departs on a different path that veers more on the side of synth-heavy electro pop than lo-fi bedroom acoustics. The heavier production is refreshing, even if III: Arcade Dynamics may deem more comforting.
Local Natives – Hummingbird [Frenchkiss]
Local Natives’ 2009 debut Gorilla Manor turned heads with its lush and worldly compositions that defied genre pigeonholing. This time around, Hummingbird continues on the trend of complex layers and harmony-driven tunes. Highlights still include warm vocals and percussive inertia, but Hummingbird is on the whole a bit more subdued and nuanced than its ambitious predecessor.
Rob Mazurek Octet – Skull Sessions [Cuneiform]
Chicago has no shortage when it comes to experimental jazz, and cornetist Rob Mazurek is one of the most prolific in the scene. Skull Sessions combines two of Mazuerk’s groups, São Paulo Underground and Starlicker, altogether consisting of an all-star international cast. Featuring expansive, improvisational jazz in its most unadulterated and raw form, Skull Sessions doesn’t skimp on powerful buildups and rich explosions.
Tomahawk – Oddfellows [Ipecac]
On Oddfellows, supergroup Tomahawk reunites geniuses Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle), Duane Denison (Jesus Lizard), John Stanier (Battles, Helmet) and new member Trevor Dunn (John Zorn). With this much talent, Oddfellows is nothing short of expectations and is yet another piece to add to Tomahawk’s solid collection of experimental metal with ominous, sneaking vocals amplified with harsh riffs and punched up beats.
Alexander Spit – A Breathtaking Trip to That Otherside [Decon]
Amor de Días – The House at Sea [Merge]
Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite – Get Up! [Stax Records/Concord Music Group]
Buke and Gase – General Dome [Brassland]
Charlie Wilson – Love, Charlie [RCA]
Curtis Hasselbring – Number Stations [Cuneiform]
Destiny’s Child – Love Songs [Legacy/Columbia]
Eric Burdon – ‘Til Your River Runs Dry [ABKCO]
Fleetwood Mac – Rumours [35th Anniversary Edition] [Rhino]
Guapo – History Of The Visitation [Cuneiform]
Indians – Somewhere Else [4AD]
La Big Vic – Cold War [Underwater Peoples]
Lost Animal – Ex Tropical [Hardly Art]
Mice Parade – Candela [FatCat]
Radar Brothers – Eight [Merge]
Reason To Believe – The Songs of Tim Hardin [Full Time Hobby]
The Ruby Suns – Christopher [Sub Pop]
Sonny Smith – 100 Records: Vol. 3 [Polyvinyl]
Spectral Park – Spectral Park [Mexican Summer]
Tegan and Sara – Heartthrob [Vapor/Warner Bros.]