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by Will Rivitz

26 Jul 2016


Wages’ “Super Perfect Dreams” is a classic album closer. Its atmosphere is a denouement, steady guitars and clicking drums carrying vocalist Nick Byron Campbell’s shrill falsetto over oceans of space. It’s the kind of sound easily (and appropriately) described as “crystalline”, casually undulating melody and harmony conjuring images of cosmic seas or technicolor caverns. The song is a wonderfully spacey end to a wonderful album, a “super perfect dream” in its most lucid sense.

by Will Rivitz

26 Jul 2016


Forebear makes mountainous indie rock, a wildly crescendoing and decrescendoing style that’s reminiscent of a mix between classic Hollywood soundtracks and straight-ahead guitar-heavy stuff a la Surfer Blood. “Luck of the Draw” starts and stops without warning, lunging forward with reckless abandon as a cool guitar chunks away behind pained vocals. Lugubrious strings pin up a mournful chorus, male and female vocals duetting as the guitar jangles and the drums thud mutely. It’s drab in the best way, the kind of blasé rock which belies real sadness and anger below.

by Will Rivitz

25 Jul 2016


Sean McVerry makes sultry blue-eyed soul, a more emphatic and instrumental take on Sam Smith’s chart-topping material. Hourglass Switchboard 2 is about halfway between Smith and The 1975’s energetic pop-rock, part downtempo electronic pop and part crisp guitars. It’s a surprisingly underexplored combination, given the popularity and quality of the two styles, but given McVerry’s adept take it’s nearly inevitable more musicians will follow in the future. If you’re looking for suave, serene pop-rock to carry you through the rest of your Monday, Hourglass Switchboard 2 is your best bet.

by PopMatters Staff

25 Jul 2016


Steve Horowitz: “Twin Cities, bitch!” Rhymesayers do it again. Atmosphere captures the humor and pathos of just trying to succeed when the deck is always stacked against you. The rap is grounded in the reality that failure really is funny, and as a fellow Minnesotan once said, “There’s no success like failure.” You don’t have to be as famous as Kanye to realize this. [8/10]

by PopMatters Staff

25 Jul 2016


Chris Ingalls: The title track from DJ Shadow’s first album in five years is the sound of an old pro showing the kids how it’s done. He does an admirable job of sounding current in a genre that is constantly evolving. The bed of synths that lies under the entire track provides a soothing atmosphere and blends nicely with the loud, jittery beats that swoop in. Spacey keyboard noodling gives the track a lovely, warm sci-fi vibe. Not the best thing DJ Shadow’s ever done, but a comforting reminder that he’s still with us. [8/10]

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