Returning with their first album in four years (has it been that long?) Doves spent a year and a half tracking this set in a farmhouse in the English countryside, with Dan Austin on board again for co-production duties. This album harkens back to the days of Doves Lost Souls album, as its more moody and ambient than their last set, Some Cities, which did less well on the charts stateside than such an accomplished band might expect. Its a well-balanced set on which they still rock a bit, too - Jetstream is one of those rockers, with a Euro-club heavy beat, while the title track wraps the whole thing up nicely with its atmospheric SFX and prettily shuffled melody lines.
Great Lake Swimmers - Lost Channels - Nettwerk
Singer-songwriter Tony Dekker helms the cargo ship that is Great Lake Swimmers, with their load of well-referenced indie-folk-pop. For this album, they really went into the depths of history, relying on a local Canadian historian to guide them to interesting venues (an old arts center, a castle) in which to record their dense, layered songs amidst genuine reverb. Whether its a surprise banjo on The Chorus in the Underground, the buoyant guitar on Rivers Edge, or the mention of several Toronto landmarks in Concrete Heart, theyve tried to build this particular album in order to capture the feel of their recording locale, and from the sounds of this, theyve succeeded.
Tinted Windows - Tinted Windows - S-Curve
The singer is Taylor Hanson (yes, of the brothers Hanson pop group); the bass player is Fountains of Waynes Adam Schlesinger; the guitarist is Smashing Pumpkins James Iha; and the drummer is Cheap Tricks Bun E. Carlos. And no, Im not making this up. Hanson and Schlesinger first met in the mid-90s and discussed collaborating, as Schlesinger did with Iha; once that trio was established, they brought in Carlos. The result? An uber-peppy and way New Wave/rock set that somehow manages to both sound like... and completely different from... all of the referenced bands, especially on the feisty Kind of a Girl and the 80s-heavy Messing With My Head.
Vetiver - Tight Knit - Sub Pop
It takes a few listens to squeeze all of the subtleties out of a Vetiver record - especially this one, which is even more detailed than the previous three efforts - but that listening proves well worth it once you realize the rich depth of the songs as written by Andy Cabic. Reminiscent of a slightly more exotic take on Brian Wilsons quieter, more folky side of songwriting (complete with 60s organ), other influences, such as The Shins, surface on songs like the synth-inflected More of This, while that Wilson-esque beachy groove continues through such tracks as the comfortable trot of On the Other Side and the slightly (but just slightly) peppier feel of Everyday.