Robert Pollard, Johan, South, Summer Hymns
Robert Pollard --"Supernatural Car Lover "
From Normal Happiness on Merge Records
On the heels of From a Compound Eye, Dayton, Ohio resident Robert Pollard's much-lauded first post-Guided By Voices effort, comes Normal Happiness, a stylistic hopscotch-jop from F.A.C.E., but no less coherent, fully-formed, and accomplished.
Johan -- "Oceans"
From THX JHN on Excelsior Recordings
The use of superlatives in music is rarely justified, but in the case of Johan, it is an apt way to describe their sound. This is real music...plain and simple. It is popular music elevated to an art form. You can feel it in your bones when you hear Jacco De Greeuw sing. The melodies soar, and the emotions are worn on the sleeve.
South-- "Up Close and Personal"
From Up Close and Personal on Young American Recordings
This fall, London’s indie rock heroes South returns with a career spanning double-disc DVD and CD package entitled Up Close and Personal. The DVD portion features over 60 minutes of live concert footage taken from their last tour, new music videos, and a slew of behind-the-scenes footage. The CD portion features new versions of some of their biggest singles, including OC favorite “Paint the Silence,” and “Loosen Your Hold.”
Summer Hymns -- "Pity and Envy"
From Backward Masks on Misra Records
Fans will recognize Backward Masks as the Summer Hymns record you always thought they'd make, the one they've hinted at for many moons. It is a record that emerges as if fresh from the womb, untainted. The songs don't hide behind reverb or elaborate production-in fact, it's as if they're pure enough that they wouldn't even know to hide their real, raw beauty. Instead, subtle orchestration cradles simple, remarkable melodies so familiar and well-crafted they might be the sound at the end of the tunnel.