The Postal Service- Give Up Deluxe 10th Anniversary Edition(Sub Pop)

DISC 1

This is one of the seminal indie album of the past 15 years. It’s influence is everywhere: The Postal Service led the charge of proto-chillwave, bringing back 80s synths and simple structures into both pop and indie. So with all that added weight, does Give Up hold up well after 10 years?

Yes. Everything is exactly as good as it was when I first heard this album 8 years ago. “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” is one of the greatest tracks of 2000s. “Such Great Heights” is the song everyone knows. “Clark Gable” and “Brand New Colony” are great radio cuts. Everything but “This Place Is A Prison” is, actually– although “Natural Anthem” works best as an affecting, poignant closing song for a show. “We Will Become Silhouettes” still might be the best co-track (tied with “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight”), all shimmering synths and chiming guitars while Ben Gibbard evocatively describes apocalypse. Gibbard tends to be a ham-fisted lyricist with Death Cab for Cutie; here he perfectly balances his romanticism with Jimmy Tamborello’s emotionally distant beats. The effect is striking. Even after 10 years, Give Up still has it; this is one of the greatest albums of the past decade.

 

DISC 2

The first two tracks are new! Both the new songs are different from Give Up, but good when you adjust your expectations. “Turn Around” is darker, “A Tattered Line of String” is more radio-friendly. Still, neither are as euphoric or transcendent as anything on the original Give Up, but they’re still really good tracks. The third track through the seventh track were previously released on EPs and sound more like what you’d expect. “Be Still My Heart” is great. The Shins’ cover, “We Will Become Silhouettes”, is fantastic! Cannot reccommend it enough. Breezy and jangly, early Shins fun. I’ve never liked Iron & Wine’s version of “Such Great Heights”; personally I find him overly morose and self-indulgently sad-sacky, but your mileage may vary. Some of the remixes are interesting (the eighth track to the twelfth track), but nothing special. The live version of “Recycled Air” is beautiful and all acoustic like “Such Great Heights”, but far better. It’s a radio recording, so it doesn’t sound live. Highly recommended.

-Jamie Stoike

Landing on a Hundred – Cody ChesnuTT (self-released)

I dare you to find a more enlightening, uplifting, and enjoyable socially critical album released in the last 5 years. There’s and old school R&B vibe to many of the songs but it only adds to the genius of Cody Chesnutt, as he’s been crafting this album for a numbers of years.  This is well-mastered, orchestra-accompanied R&B.

You Knew – Mother Falcon (Creme Fraiche)

Mother Falcon is an 18-piece orchestral indie rock band, complete with horns and strings. The sound is oftentimes slow and melodious, always epic. Both male and female vocalists are ok, and original sound and musical complexity make up for lack of stronger vocals. Good stuff for indie shows that want something a little different; I bet they would be a blast to see live!

K. Koschewa, 8/24/13

Pink Balloon – Diamond Carter (Tyler Tuohy)

Diamond Carter is a local rock artist originally from Southern California.  Inspired by sixties bands like the Grateful Dead, the music could be appropriately described as groovy, funky, and a perfect summer soundtrack.

L. Rahner, 4/13/13

Cayucas – Bigfoot (Secretly Canadian)

Upbeat/catchy indie pop! If you like bands like Vampire Weekend and The Drums (and who doesn’t?) this CD will be right up your alley. Running through the album is a relaxed, laid back vibe perfect for a lazy summer. I particularly recommend the first four tracks. “Cayucos” makes a jolly addition to any surf rock playlist, while “Will the Thrill” and “A Summer Thing” are more for relaxing on the beach. “A Summer Thing” might be my favorite track here: it employs exotic instrumentation and group vocal flourishes akin to Beirut to tell a compelling story about trying to hold on to a summer fling. Overall, Cayucas packs a bunch of sunshine and positivity into just 30 minutes, and I could really see them catching on. Highly recommended for rotation. – Zach Shealy, 3/29/2013

Regions of Light and Sound of God- Jim James (ATO Records)

Brilliant. Jim James, leader of My Morning Jacket, nails is on this, not his first, solo release. Imaginative syncopation behind his nuanced but powerful vocals drive each song to make an impression from first listen. “State Of The Art (A.E.I.O.U)” is simply beautiful, simple but satisfying  There is a distinct element (apart from the stellar writing and production) in each song that separates it from typical indie fodder, such as the gradual vocal corruption in “State Of The Art (A.E.I.O.U)” , the odd swing melody that phases out “Know Til Now”, or the guitar scrapes and stabs near the end of “Dear One”. I love this album to bits already, and recommend it.

-Will Doran

Delta Spirit–Delta Spirit (Concord Records)

Delta Spirit is a straightforward rock ballad type of band. They craft guitar driven epics with soaring vocals and pounding drums, but the album’s strong first few songs are followed by average sounding reproduction of the same idea. “Empty House”, “Tear It Up”, and “California” will grab your attention but the rest is utterly forgettable, save for “Yamaha” is a nice somber close. -Judson Lancina, 2012