Electro-rock band Klaxons stepped out of Europe and into Los Angeles to record their sophomore set with producer Ross Robinson, and have added even more of an alternative feel to their music via several experimental elements and plenty of dark harmonies. First single Echoes presents a zippy beat and chiming guitars, while the title track ventures into unusual vocal territory with high falsettos and electronica fx; Future Memories sets the tune to a military beat, and Flashover echoes Interpol with its near-disco beat and heavy instrumentals.
Gasoline Silver - Gasoline Silver - Victorian
Lead singer Ron Franklin (who eerily resembles former Battles singer Tyondai Braxton) is at the wheel of this Minnesota band, whose debut disc offers a punk-pop feel that is sprinkled with everything from soulful dance music to electronic folk. They somehow manage to blend all of that into a sound that works, whether theyre putting harmonica into The Wild Farewell or throwing the vocals into an echo bin on Its All Over But the Crying. A solid start for a band that already seems to know how to blend the unusual with the catchy.
Manic Street Preachers - Postcards from a Young Man - 101
Serving as the follow up to MSPs 2009 set, Journal for Plague Lovers, the bands latest, produced by Dave Eringa and mixed by the skillful Chris Lord Alge, harkens back to much earlier releases with its thick ranges of string work and layered choruses and choir backing vocals. The songs are very quickly memorable, whether theyre slow or quick of tempo, and theyve invited some interesting guests along, too - Echos Ian McCulloch sings along on Some Kind of Nothingness, and Manics bassist Nicky Wire contributes vocals to The Future... A dense, concise set.
Vincent Minor - Born in the Wrong Era - SSR
Minors debut EP is well worth the purchase, even though its limited to five of the singer-songwriters spiky-smooth tunes. Anchored mostly on piano, this is pop with a lyrical purpose, as Minor sprinkles intriguing expressions and phrases throughout his compositions, even as hes setting them to 70s pop lite foundations that have been pushed into the modern age. Fanfare is reminiscent of the early work of the Ben Folds Five, and is perhaps the most catchy song of the set; Late Night Show and the title track also hold their own special appeal.