Tag Archives: obtuse metaphors

Tearjerker – Hiding

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This Hiding EP is a blast from a cryptic past—the soundtrack to a photo album that only exists in a stranger’s mind. It’s easy to envision what Tearjerker are getting at, and it’s familiar and foreign at the same time (see the video for “You Can,” below, for a tangible illustration).

Bon Iver meets Washed Out, made in Toronto. They’ve got a new full-length coming out later in the year; it’s highly anticipated.

-Scott Bryson

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Doomsquad – Kalaboogie

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It was only a matter of time before a Canadian band made an album that sounds like the lunatic hockey game from Strange Brew (crashing beer bottles and all).

Here as well, mind-control is the primary objective. Part shamanic ritual, part industrial march, Kalaboogie entrances and tramples in equal measure. It’s like taking a chainsaw to a room full of hippies and wind chimes.

You’ll be hard-pressed to recall encountering a stylistic range of this fortitude since GusGus’ This Is Normal, in 1999 (everyone did encounter that album, right?). Doomsquad are as comfortable crafting lyricless drone as they are building rhythmic dance parties full of Isaac Brock rants; check out “Waka Waka,” down below, for a sample of the latter.

This’ll give your kids nightmares.

-Scott Bryson

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NO – El Prado

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If Interpol dug an emotional ditch in the rock landscape, then NO will be the band to fill it.

There’s no denying that NO’s debut full-length sounds like an Interpol record, but it runs sentimentally counter to an album like Turn On The Bright Lights. There’s a distinct Diamond Rings-ish ambiance on El Prado; it’s overcast and brooding, yet romantic and danceable.

Check out “Stay With Me,” below, for a sample (not exactly a toe-tapper, this particular tune, but you’ll get the picture). And no, it’s not a cover of that Shakespeare’s Sister song, but it’s not really that far off. El Prado hits stores next week.

-Scott Bryson

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Dog Day – Fade Out

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They’re Pod People. It’s the only way to explain this very pod album (which we’ve been steadily soaking in since its December release).

They look like Dog Day, they act like Dog Day, they even mostly sound like the Dog Day we’re used to, but there’s an intangible something about Fade Out’s tidy pop leanings—check out “Lurking Fear” for evidence—that pegs Seth Smith and Nancy Urich as alien replicants. They’ve managed to become creepier by turning normal.

This isn’t a cheery album, mind you; the opener’s chorus is a repeated “Number of the beast… number of the beast.” Smith and Urich are still weirdos at times, too: “All of my friends are in sandwiches. Who am I eating this time?”

Dog Day has always come across—whether it’s true or not—as an insular band, and fittingly, the album that may prove to be its swan song (Smith recently mentioned a perhaps-permanent hiatus) doesn’t seek to reference anything outside of itself, save briefly in “Get High,” whose opening melody could be the intro theme for a radio show.

Listening to Fade Out is like watching an infomercial for a cult. You know you probably shouldn’t join, but you’re tempted, regardless. Check out “In Another Life” down below.

-Scott Bryson

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Beliefs – Beliefs

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The coat bed: it’s the bed at a party where everyone tosses their jackets. It’s also—if you’ll allow an obtuse analogy (they’re a dime a dozen, ’round here)—where you might imagine yourself when you’re listening to this album: in the bed, buried under the coats. There’s a weight on you, but it’s soft. You can hear the party, though it’s muffled. You could get up and join everyone, but it’s convincingly comfortable under those coats.

Beliefs is the sort of record you have to listen to all the way through three times before you can start to enjoy it—not to pick up subtleties, necessarily; the multiple spins are to train your ears. It takes considerable effort (at first, at least) to hear past the ever-present buzz of Beliefs’ guitars. There are sad-sack pop songs in here—think The Diableros meets Hawaii—and you’ll find them, eventually, like that time you found the schooner in the Magic Eye poster.

Destined for year-end top-ten lists, for sure. Check out “Lilly” down below.

-Scott Bryson

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