LADYGUNN REVIEWS: OCTOBER ALBUM RELEASES

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A quick preview of five album releases in October 2013 that you need to hear!
reviews by / LOGAN BRENDT

SPIRIT ANIMAL / KINGDOM PHYLUM EP
self-released
release date: October 1, 2013
NYC-based Spirit Animal are making insane party music for the trendy set, implementing psychedelic-funk elements without any fucks to give about any current musical trends. This comes off as genuine since they seem to be completely mystified by their own product, and their image is also unclassifiable and uncontrived. The EP Kingdom Phylum compares to the stimulating sound of bands like Gang of Four or the Red Hot Chili Peppers when they were really strung out and didn’t take themselves so seriously. At times, Spirit Animal’s EP even walks the delicate line between transcendent and horrible with disposable lyrical gems like “Had a little bitch up in my nose, kinda like an itch, yeah I suppose”. But amidst the self indulgent guitar freak-outs and ridiculous slap bass riffs, for some reason they get away with it. If you don’t find yourself dancing to this stuff, something is wrong with you.

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RUBBLEBUCKET / SAVE CHARLIE EP
Communion Music
release date: October 1, 2013
The psychedelic and bizarre unfolds on the new EP by Brooklyn darlings, Rubblebucket. Lead singer Kalmia Traver expresses crystal clear vocals (think Patty Donahue of The Waitresses or Monique Powell of Save Ferris), but she seems to dip more into experimental melodic phrasings and less straightforward pop. However, that’s not to say that Traver can’t bring some hooks. Covering the Doobie Brothers classic, “What A Fool Believes”, it hardly bears any resemblance to the original as it goes from a synth drone to bombastic disco. The horns also accent throughout all of the EP tracks, throwing the listener a curveball if they’re not ready for it, but it definitely provides for some spring in their step. Sounding a bit like Stereolab because of the synthesizers and analog squelches, songs like “Patriotic” however have a slight nursery rhyme spirit to it. And you can’t always judge a book by its cover, but sometimes you can judge how unconventional a band will be by their name.

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THE CEREMONIES / THE CEREMONIES EP

Atom Factory Music/Capitol Records

release date: October 8, 2013
Taking the listener on a rip-roaring trip down a treacherous sleazy back alley of bluesy post-punk anthems, The Ceremonies excel on their debut EP. With timbre and inflection similar to that of Ian McCulloch (Echo & the Bunnymen), vocalist Matthew Cook is backed by his brothers and band members, Mark and Michael Cook, that alternatively provide an anthemic sound with tons of theatrics that are reminiscent of Arcade Fire. The songs are dynamic and incorporate varying tempos that give this versatile band a wide range of styles to hone in on, even incorporating a New Order-esque bass line on their track “Wolf Dance”. At times beautiful and delicate, they however always keep a meandering strut and there are plenty of bells and whistles, xylophones, and booming percussion that provide additional compelling elements. Accomplished and confident, The Ceremonies have demonstrated that their music is original enough to crossover in a big way.

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ST. LUCIA / WHEN THE NIGHT
Neon Gold/ Columbia Records
release date: October 8, 2013
St. Lucia, the band fronted by musical mastermind Jean-Philip Grobler, provide a pleasurable collection of electronic jams in the vein of Foster the People and M83. Drawing inspiration from parties and late night cityscapes, the lyrics on When The Night are beautifully sung with an 80’s new wave melodic style and have all the uplifting energy of that era. What’s particularly unique here is the dense instrumental backing which features a mix of synth arpeggios, saxophones, and ethereal, heavily effected guitars. The synth washes give a chiming pulse that keep things grooving along nicely with some great bass lines throughout the whole record, taking the listener on a journey into a blissful state of consciousness. It’s great music for a road trip from LA to San Francisco if you took the scenic route along the coast and made a pit stop for a dance party at the Madonna Inn.

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VANDANA JAIN / ANTI VENUS
self-released
release date: October 29, 2013
Brooklyn-based artist Vandana Jain challenges the archetype of the female pop star with Anti Venus. Intelligent, dark, and alluring, Jain’s moody and heavy synth melodies on her debut are complemented by her lamenting vocals. Musically drawing from a brilliant era of EDM/IDM artists such as Autechre, Aphex Twin, and The Orb, Jain’s sound is also imbued with clean production, and it’s remarkable that she is able to pull great vocal melodies from such a bizarre rhythmical and musical palette. Transporting you into an exotic paradise, “Sonar” delivers a dense and acid washed synth treatment, and her voice on songs like “Acid Drone” are akin to Madonna’s Ray of Light era, but far more competent and sophisticated. But it’s the opening track, “Ecstatic”, and “Claw” that will linger within you long after listening. Through the metaphysical resonance, it’s almost as if your brain is transported into a musical k-hole, but you won’t mind it at all.

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