Seattle harmony-fans Moondoggies (think Crosby Stills and Nash, not Gidget) teamed up with Erik Blood, Kurt Bloch, and Phil Ek for this set, which finds the band in a more determined mood production-wise, and a more shoegazey mood musically (firmly within their Americana vibe, of course.) Theyre strong on the melodies, too, with plenty of songs that offer hooks without pandering to radio - retrofied organ sounds coupled with simply micd pianos and guitars set the groundwork for songs like the languid, drawling Its a Shame, Its a Pity, the violin-seasoned Lead Me On, and the chugging, organ-tuneful Down the Well.
Middle Brother - Middle Brother - Partisan Records
Featuring singers from Delta Spirit (Matthew Vasquez), Dawes (Taylor Goldsmith), and Deer Tick (John McCauley), the wittily-named trio brings a wealth of indie rock and folk experience to this project and to the album itself, which recorded in something of an old-school tone, much like some thrown-together basement tapes (albeit with far better equipment.) A bluesy-garage sound permeates tracks like Blue Eyes, Someday, Blood and Guts, and Million Dollar Bill, while a more folksy approach is taken on tunes like the acoustic ballads Wilderness and Thanks for Nothing, and the 70s-inspired Theater.
Tino Ghost - Until Autumn - CDB
Los Angeles musician Jay Rivera - aka Tino Ghost - takes the singer-songwriter label to the next level, with a nice balance of alterna-folk and rich pop influences. Featuring dense guitars and pianos and chilled-out vocals, the arrangements here are concise, while the songs tell tales of aggrevation over slowly dissipating dreams, failing relationships, and an attempt to keep everything together. The dichotomy between the pretty melodies and the somewhat serious, introspective lyrics keeps things interesting without veering too far into the melodramatic, and Rivera/Ghost himself has the talent and the skill to pull off such complexities.
Twilight Singers - Dynamite Steps - Sub Pop
Best known for his work with Afghan Whigs, Greg Dullis latest project - well, one of two, the other being Gutter Twins - offers up its first album in five years, although it makes only a minor impact. Last Night in Town opens the set in reverse motion with a piano flourish and rumbling low end, moving fairly quickly on to Be Invited (featuring Mark Lanegan on backing vocals), On the Corner, and the Joseph-Arthur-featuring Gunshots. A slow shift in the middle of the tracklisting begins with the pretty She Was Stolen, and continues in a quieter fashion through Never Seen No Devil and The Beginning of the End to close the set.