Album Reviews: October 15, 2018
∆ Alt-J – Reduxer (Leeds, UK)
As a rare dip for indie rock into remixes, Alt-J make for a surprisingly good fit. Retooling their sparse arrangements with some creative minds, the band's friends make totally new songs more often than they just offer up generic dance-versions. As Little Simz jumps on "3WW" there's a constantly frantic energy that OTG's unnerving mixes contrast beautifully. Twin Shadow makes a quick and tight change to "In Cold Blood" while Pusha T helping smooth out the song between rock and hip hop. "Hit Me Like That Snare" is a strange mixed bag as its up in funk energy just feels a little too ambient to ever be a full dance track. GoldLink soars on Terrace Martin's "Last Year" as the infectious rhythms and low-end bring out an amazing feeling in the mix.
Klapshmock! – Use These Songs In Your Commercial (Ottawa)
There's something oddly intriguing to trying to recreate vintage music and commercials. To their credit however Klapshmock! actually makes something both listenable and surprisingly convincing. In the skipping rhythms of "Electro-Shock" there's a deep dance core that while simple is surprisingly infection. However "Monster-Truck!" definitely taps into more of that weird gross-out, abrasive 90's fringe culture to make something more like a freaky TV interstitial than a song. "Carpentry (Speed 2)" does have a take on a cinematic score, and still has that hard 80's aesthetic to it. One interesting listen however is "Gothic Castle" which lands between Devo and a game soundtrack for something fast and surprisingly art-rock.
GØGGS – Pre Strike Sweep (California)
As far as Ty Segall's solo music and collaborations go, GØGGS has focused his energy to a fine point of fun. Though it rarely moves beyond hard-rocking, there's an overpowering and contagious energy to Segall's latest outing. With some Kyuss tones, "Killing Time" is as savage and rough as the album gets, and all to exhilarating to listen to. This all flows into "Pre Strike Sweep" which explodes out as a follow up that is fierce in its solo and shrieking feedback. As the beats of "CTA" come out with a more dynamic range, there's an experimental feeling to the mix that turns into the most ambitious song of the record. Though it's a little loose, "Rupture Line" feels recklessly fun and sees GØGGS going between jams and outright effects play.
My Friend PJ – Don't Give My Love Away (Ottawa)
As shockingly loud as it starts, there's a finessed pop-rock strength to PJ's track "Liars" that never lets up from top to bottom. Even the shifting energy "Throw Me Away" plays more to a rhythmic core that gives a lot more space for its choruses to expand into harmonically charged explosions. Though "Selfish Needs" grinds fast and dirty, it does expose the album's dynamically stagnant mixing a little more, as the strong energy of the track gets a bit lost when it feels like it's hitting you at a constant level rather than moving around. As a wrap up track however, "Don't Give My Love Away" shows the full strength of this record's strong production that feels deep but never so pop that it takes away from the music.
Roosevelt – Young Romance (Cologne, Germany)
Pop can often feel oversaturated and pandering at times, but hearing the people behind the stars really shake things up can be fascinating. Roosevelt's newest venture is fine-tuned pop that even at its most accessible sounds amazing. "Take Me Back" starts the album on a shady but explorative track that make its groovy beats feel truly subversive. Roosevelt however goes pure pop oin "Under the Sun" for a track that is upbeat and relentlessly fun, yet so sonically crazy you'll be either dancing or listening to the details. Deep rhythms flesh out a song like "Pangea" where Roosevelt's experience comes through in a song that's as much about bass as it is memorable riffs. Roosevelt even takes a more introspective turn on "Better Days" to show just how weird his music may go in the future.