Symbiotic Recommends: 10 Albums, June 2011

22 05 2011

With so many good albums flooding my eardrums lately, it is next to impossible to write full reviews on all of them. With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of 10 recently released albums that I feel are worth checking out. Here it goes!

June 13, 2011

by Jericho Cerrona

Here is a downloadable .zip folder with all the songs listed below!

MAC: Hold “Control” + click on link, “Save as”, follow steps to save file

PC: Right click on  link, select “Save link as…”, follow steps to save file

Jesu “Ascension”

Song: “Birth Day”

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Justin Broadrick, who played guitar for the seminal metal band Napalm Death (ushering in the genre known as grindcore), as well as solo project Godflesh in the late 80’s, has made another excellent album under his Jesu moniker called Ascension. Full of drone-heavy riffs, unearthly keyboard, and submerged vocals, this is darkly beautiful shoegaze/metal that defies categorization.

Crystal Stilts “In Love With Oblivion”

Song: “Precarious Stair”

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Crystal Stilts second LP is a breezy bit of 60’s-inspired pysch/garage pop, with warm keyboards and jangly guitars accompanying singer Brad Hargett’s dreamy reverb-soaked vocals. The fuzzy, lo-fi production only adds to the album’s overall charm.

Chad VanGaalen “Diaper Island”

Song: “Burning Photographs”

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Chad VanGaalen is a Canadian singer-songwriter that has released three excellent LPs of fractured, bedroom-tinged pop as well as producing the last two records for the band Women. His latest, (recorded for the first time in an actual studio) is less musically scattershot than his previous work, but this sense of cohesion results in an album overflowing with multi-track guitar lines and Sonic-Youth style noise rock. This is VanGaalen’s simplest and most straightforward album yet.

Gypsyblood “Cold In The Guestway”

Song: “Take Your Picture”

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Chicago-based band Gypsyblood’s debut LP is a rollicking bit of fuzzed-out summertime fun, with surfy cascading guitars, heavy bass lines and pounding drums. Recorded inside a warehouse, the album has an almost cacophonous punk vibe, at times sounding like Pavement while at other times creating a Joy Division-inspired sound. But this is no rip-off; Gypsyblood combine different influences and make something all their own.

Krallice “Diotima”

Song: “Telluric Rings”

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This New York four-piece play pummeling black metal with a decidedly progressive edge on their third record in four years, a visceral and exhausting musical experience. With four of the album’s seven tracks spanning over 12-minutes, this is heady stuff; dizzying solos, growled/shrieked vocals, long stretches of instrumental aggression, and soaring layered walls of sound. Diotima is massively ambitious and yet at times, strangely intimate.

Cults “Cults”

Song: “Go Outside”

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Cults are a mysterious girl/boy duo from San Diego, now living in New York as film students that have made a fantastic 7’’. This is 60’s-tinged pop filtered through a modern C86 sensibility; gloriously retro yet brimming with a novel freshness, thankfully focusing on great songwriting rather than just riding the twee pop revival wave. Infectious, expertly crafted stuff.

Coma Cinema “Blue Suicide”

Song: “Her Sinking Sun”

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South Carolina’s Coma Cinema is essentially another one of those “one-man indie pop” projects that feature jangly guitars, vibrant synths, and an overall splintered bedroom recording style. Created by Mat Cothran, Blue Suicide somehow escapes many of the inherent trappings of the recent batch of lo-fi revisionists, with melodic hooks aplenty and a welcome sense of hazy wonder.

The UV Race “Homo”

Song: “Burn That Cat”

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Australia six-piece The UV Race concocts a noisy bath of feedback on their sophomore album. Rambling vocals, punchy organs, out-of-tune horns, and an all around grimy wall of lo-fi sludge dominate the record as catchy melodies pop up occasionally amidst all the sloppy garage rock distortion.

tUnE-yArDs “WhoKill”

Song: “Bizness”

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32-year-old Merrill Garbus makes a sonic leap forward with her follow-up to 2009’s Bird-BrAinNs, a playfully eccentric melding of styles and musical genres—from afrobeat to bossa nova all the way to bizarre R & B-style groves. Though fans of her earlier DIY recording style may find this a bid for mainstream acceptance with bigger production and cleaner sound, even a cursory listen disproves this notion. This is wildly ambitious and quirky stuff.

Gang Gang Dance “Eye Contact”

Song: “Glass Jar”

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Gang Gang Dance’s fifth LP, and first for the 4AD label, is a captivating mishmash of swirling synths, alien-like layered vocals, dancey neo-soul beats, and trippy percussion. The 11-minute opener “Glass Jar” alone is simply majestic, as synthesized electronics collide with singer Lizzi Bougatsos’ dreamy singing. Eye Contact straddles the line between accessibility and experimentation beautifully.



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