The Altered Hours’ sound ranges from ethereal darkness to pysch-heavy trance to dreamy shoegaze, which makes it really easy to find yourself enveloped within their singular world. This visceral approach makes their live shows ever more engaging and thrilling than the average indie band. On January 29th, the Cork, Ireland band will release their new album In Heat Not Sorry via Art For Blind / Penske Recordings.
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Stephen Wyatt: Has Warp records ever released anything remotely mediocre? Bibio’s Steven Wilkinson is no exception, celebrating ‘70s classic R&B and borrowing from the era’s greatest luminaries, Isaac Hayes and Curtis Mayfield with his standout track, “Feeling”. Wilkinson blends the funk with the end-of-the-house-party mood, imploring his suppliant that “You shouldn’t mess with the timing”. And timing is everything as Bibio ensures that a good time should be had by all. [8/10]
Stephen Wyatt: Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon’s favorite band, Poliça, returns with a delectable synthpop lament ironically titled “Wedding”. Gayngs’ Ryan Olson and vocalist Channy Leaneagh continue to champion the finest aspects of electronic minimalism, focusing on lining each song with subtle innuendos and bass-driven grooves. Leaneagh’s voice, reminiscent of Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino’s come-hither delivery, adds mystery and intrigue to love’s cumbersome deceptions. “Wedding” is far from a joyous celebration of the matrimonial sacrament. It coyly teases fans of Poliça’s with slithery hooks and restrained rhythms, promising of even better songs to come. [7/10]
Canadian indie rockers Paper Lions have been on a hot streak of late. Last year the band’s 2007 video for “Travelling” suddenly went massively viral and it has opened all kinds of doors for Paper Lions. They now stand poised for a huge mainstream breakthrough and they are most definitely ready as their new set of songs from Full Colour, releasing this April, is jam packed with arena-sized pop nuggets that could easily see some major chart success. Perfectly fittingly, Paper Lions titles their new single “Believer” and fills the tune with soaring harmonies declaring that they “want to believe”. So do we because we still need our pop heroes.
Stephen Wyatt: Nearly seven years after Mercury Rev’s last gift to the world, Snowflake Midnight, rumors abounded that the much beloved band was no more. To the delight of many fans, the rumors were unsubstantiated. The fact that their music would be a slight return to the heralded Deserter’s Songs-era—the band’s crowning musical achievement—generated further enthusiasm from a fanbase eager to welcome them back. True to form, Mercury Rev released “Coming Up for Air”, a song that delights in the language of Brian Wilson while penning a cavity-sweet chorus that swirls around the band’s familiar baroque orchestration. Jonathan Donahue’s boyish vocals and gentle performance emboldens the song’s charming ode to difficult break-ups. [9/10]