LADYGUNN REVIEWS: APRIL ALBUM RELEASES

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A quick preview of six album releases in April 2013 that you need to hear!

REVIEWS / LOGAN BRENDT


 

BLEACHED / RIDE YOUR HEART
Dead Oceans
release date: April 2, 2013

Ride Your Heart, the debut from LA band Bleached, is a sun drenched offering that mirrors the atmosphere of the West Coast. Formed by sisters Jennifer and Jessica Clavin (formerly of Mika Miko), their jangly guitar-pop and punk spirit is best represented on the opening track “Looking For A Fight”, but it doesn’t end there. The playful lyrical side and lively tempo on “Waiting By The Telephone” creates one of the catchiest and most relatable songs on the album, and it’s a necessity for your upcoming summer playlist. The theme of love and heartache travels across their debut, including the vibrant and obviously titled “Love Spells”, but the reduced tempo of “Guy Like You” conveys further sincerity without getting too angsty. And if you’re looking for more accelerated beats, “Next Stop” will make you halt and take notice. Bleached proves why girls can rock better than boys can.


 

IO ECHO / MINISTRY OF LOVE
IAMSOUND Records
release date: April 2, 2013

Ioanna Gika, the frontwoman for genre-bending Io Echo is an icon in the making. Complemented by multi-instrumentalist Leopold Ross, the Los Angeles band’s debut, Ministry of Love, resurrects imagination and originality. Darker tones of electronic pop are intermixed with colorful, sparkling sounds of Japanese koto harps and Chinese violins. The title track possesses shoegaze elements that are akin to early 90s Lush while “When The Lillies Die” summons the mystique that Siouxsie and the Banshees were known for both musically and vocally. Tracks like “Ecstasy Ghost” and “Forget Me Not” continue to maintain this enigma with its waves of celestial vocal perfection backed by revitalizing beats. It’s not often enough that a band comes along with a brilliantly crafted album that expresses the level of timelessness that Ministry of Love has.

DARK HORSES / BLACK MUSIC
Last Gang Records
release date: April 2, 2013

Dark Horses drives clear bursts of pop through the echoey shards of classic shoegaze on their debut Black Music. The Brighton, U.K. band additionally adds stronger, more present vocals to their brand, along with embellished mesmerizing beats. The rhythm of “Alone” marches across as vocalist Lisa Elle commands and psychedelic components are integrated. And there is an air of mystery following the emphatic climax of “Count Me In” when Tom Meighan of Kasabian emerges to assist, creating a compelling spark with Elle. Dark Horses further exhibits their distinctive sound on their track “S.U.N.” by dazzling in a thick instrumental blaze of distortion and ghostly vocal stammering. Primarily channeling the obscure, Black Music also elegantly conducts itself in a direct manner.

RILO KILEY / RKIVES
Little Record Company
release date: April 2, 2013

After a hiatus that created confusion on whether Rilo Kiley had officially disbanded, their 16-track compilation of unreleased songs, b-sides and rarities titled RKives could either be the final goodbye or hope for a new beginning. It’s an essential collection for those enchanted by the Jenny Lewis fronted band and their celebrated integration of country, folk, and pop elements. There are even welcomed contrasts, for example, when their 2007 track “Dejalo” is remixed to feature rapper Too $hort. It also initially appears that the clean, melancholy guitars on the intro of the rare B-side “A Town Called Luckey” could nestle comfortably within Cocteau Twins’ Heaven or Las Vegas. Helping to complete this ideal variety for RKives, previously unreleased songs like “Let Me Back In” rests in twangy sincerity whereas “It’ll Get You There” is emphasized by the pastiche of a 70s guitar solo.

PYYRAMIDS / BRIGHTEST DARKEST DAY
Paracadute Records
release date: April 9, 2013

When OK Go’s Tim Nordwind joins with singer Drea Smith, brilliance is conjured through PYYRAMIDS. The Los Angeles-based band with Chicago roots release their full-length debut, Brightest Darkest Day, which is occupied by deep bass lines and cool synths all drenched in a hypnotic haze. “Do You Think You’re Enough” thrives on the intensity of guitars and pounding drums, and “Smoke And Mirrors” proceeds to be driven by the beat, but also further haunts as a result of Smith’s vocals. There is diversity in “Don’t Go” with its rhythmic elements that solemnly utter 50s pop while the slowed down “Time” engages with its lamenting keys. Sounding like a mixture of Santigold, The Strokes, and New Order, Brightest Darkest Day illuminates within the upsurge of new bands also inspired by British post-punk.

DECADES / DECADES
White Girl Records
release date: April 30, 2013

Toronto-based Decades finds strength in post-punk tendencies on their self-titled debut, but parallels to shoegaze and a hint of Catherine Wheel are more pronounced. Even though vocalist Mike Kaminski occasionally snarls, like on their opening track, he flawlessly softens into the blissed-out “In Sequins” and “Can You Love Me Now”. Indulging in guitar distortion and reverb that at times can resemble the guitar work of Ride, their melodic bass style is also exceptional. “Celebrate” is propelled by a tribal, marching band-like beat, and the blistering guitars on “Washed” is complemented by the polarity of lengthened vocal phrasings. But it’s the impressive opening track, “Tonight Again”, that resembles a melancholy but spirited tone that instantaneously feels familiar, demonstrating why Decades is one of the most promising bands to emerge in 2013.

 

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