September 22, 2020

Band of Horses– Acoustic at the Ryman– Brown Records

By Kristi Kates | Feb. 23, 2019

Captured at a two-night stand of acoustic performances at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, this mini best-of from Band of Horses uses specialized gear from direct stream audio, so you can hear every note and every rattle (or small mistake); this adds a very “you were there” quality to the set. It’s also very interesting — likely more so for dedicated fans of the band — to hear these tunes stripped of their usual studio embellishments, making the harmonies of “Everything’s Gonna Be Undone” and the emotions of “No One’s Gonna Love You” come through precision-sharp yet still earthy. ***

LCD Soundsystem – Electric Lady Sessions – Columbia
Greenwich Village’s Electric Lady Studios (NYC) — home to many a ’60s and ’70s rock legend — also hosted the recording of this studio session, in which LCD tracked a dozen live version of tunes from its American Dream album plus some other bonuses. The session opens direct from the left field with the band’s on-point cover of The Human League’s “Seconds,” and covers scratchy-synth tracks like “Call the Police” and “Emotional Haircut” from … Dream, as well as fan fave “You Wanted a Hit,” and a rollicking take on Chic’s “I Want Your Love.” ** ½
Panda Bear – Buoys – Domino
Mixed by band collaborator Rusty Santos in Portugal, Panda Bear’s sixth effort puts singer Noah Lennox’s voice directly out in front, as he leads this experimental pop effort through a shortlist of mostly cohesive acoustic-electric tunes. Opener “Dolphin” features an appropriate amount of burbling synths, while “Cranked” steps out into country-western territory (albeit briefly). Highlights “Token” and the title track offer up big alt-pop hooks, even as they have to wade through the sometimes too-heavy bass that runs like a thick current throughout the album. **

The Cardigans – Gran Turismo – Polydor
With the resurging interest in ’90s pop music, comes The Cardigans, the Swedish pop band who brought us the inescapable “Lovefool.” The band’s fourth studio album, on which it settles nicely into a dark-electronic sound that was as much a return to its roots as a rebuttal to the lightness of that hit single, is digitally remastered on this latest release, adding extra heft to tunes like opener “Paralyzed,” videogame anthem “My Favourite Game,” and the shifty “Hanging Around.” ***


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