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Release Date
21 Jan 13
The Joy Formidable are taking on the world, and their sophomore record is packed with stadium-sized songs. They've leapt and landed in bigger, but vaguer, sonic territory. A suite of orchestral strings marks the opening to some tracks. Quick piano strikes and tinkling bridges gussy things up as well. At the core of their anthemic aspirations is a heavy guitar onslaught and Ritzy Bryan's vocal presence. Unfortunately, the album lacks the hooks and raw firepower that gave The Big Roar its sparkplug identity.
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Release Date
10 Dec 12
Grace/Confusion is a stellar collection of fluid collages of electronica that are the windswept flora and fauna to Dayve Hawk’s tender, expressive vocal soarings. At times, the album is a reminder of the synth’s sometimes-function as an net for capturing emotive release. The songs are highly dense, often with multiple parts and foamy resolutions that pull from a diverse pool of sounds. Take standout track “Thru the Field", which effectively lays down a hooky groove that becomes suddenly dampened and intensified with Hawk’s voice.
Label
Release Date
07 Nov 12
Crystal Castles have staked out turbulent electronic territory, a landscape of murky whirlpools and shimmering black sand that’s continually vulcanized. Their latest self-titled album, (III), is crawling with sticky earworms, disembodied beats and vocals that drip with wispy menace. This time around, the partnership between the ghoulish Ethan Kath and icy punisher Alice Glass made an executive decision to jettison their usual knobs and buttons, instead taking a bare bones approach.
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Release Date
08 Oct 12
There’s a chance that you arrived at Lonerism simply because of its name. A slim chance, given that Tame Impala’s second record has been long awaited by the scattered tribes of cloistered psych heads, but a chance nonetheless. And while Lonerism is first and foremost another superb collection of the Australian band’s shuffling, sometimes stomping, always searching sun-caked stoner rock, it can also be a cathartic mental mentor for any bruised psyche with a yearning to delve deeper.
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Release Date
01 Oct 12
Flying Lotus, when on his game, is a masterful craftsman of electronic eddies of sound. His latest record, Until the Quiet Comes, is a superb example of this keen attention to detail. His songs flow into one another as two plumes of gaseous smoke collide and then combine, a somehow wondrous moment yet shaded by an eternally twilit sky. It’s an ethereally chill record that manages to stir together textural percussion, giddy jazz bass, diluted dub, and ghostly vocal theatrics. There will be something on here for most listeners, hidden in the airy maze.
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Label
Release Date
17 Sep 12
Grizzly Bear rode a wave of indie intrigue on the back of 2009‘s Veckatimest, one of the more disguised duds of recent years. Their follow-up, Shields, makes a stronger claim to their atmospheric potency. The band’s patient, wading sub-rock is consistently engaging throughout, standing tall at the start with “Sleeping Ute", a harmonious blend of sunny guitars and smeary studio gauze. The songs soar on the lilting tenors of singers Ed Droste and Daniel Rossen, and pulse through the deft rhythm section of Christopher Bear and Chris Taylor.
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Release Date
17 Sep 12
The first two albums in Dinosaur Jr.’s mid-2000's thundering resurgence are urgent and primal, like epic campfires with long-lost dropout neighbours. But instead of staring into the ashes the next morning, I Bet On Sky would rather gaze at the clouds. The trio’s latest is laden with fresh slices of their fuzzy brand of rock, punctuated as always by J Mascis’s eternal caterwaul and searing fretwork. “Watch the Corners” is a thick, nougaty blast of this framework at its best, rounding off stomp sections with precise drum cascades and culminating in a liquid guitar solo.
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Release Date
27 Aug 12
America finds quirky soundsmith Dan Deacon at a crossroads. Still bent on emitting giddy, hyperactive music, the Baltimore native has widened his lens this time around, intent on capturing his country through the record’s latter half. The ambitious “USA” suite sprawls joyfully, particularly in its middle sections. “USA II: The Great American Desert” is a collage of spinning synths, disembodied vocals, and far-reaching scope that runs for seven dazzling minutes.