January 21, 2020

Moon Taxi – Let the Record Play – RCA

By Kristi Kates | Feb. 3, 2018

The first outing at the new major-label home for Nashville indie-rock band Moon Taxi is an interesting switch-up for the band, in that the label shift seems to have pushed the band toward more polished, radio-ready tunes — and farther from the melodically catchy and significantly hipper tracks they were producing before. The result: an uneven record that wavers between poppy singles (“Not Too Late,” the Adam-Levine-esque “Good as Gold”), and tracks that sound truer to the band’s original sound, like “Too High.” **

Bahamas – Earthtones – Brushfire Records
This solo project of singer-songwriter Afie Jurvanen — another acquisition of fellow singer-songwriter Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records label — follows along the same thoughtful-folk line of most of the rest of the BR catalog: essentially, musicians pondering the stories of their lives in song. Jurvanen especially focuses on friendship on this set, and infuses his folk with a little soulful R&B, which adds a welcome, unexpected twist to tracks like “Everything to Everyone,” “So Free,” and the super-catchy “No Expectations.” ***

The Go! Team – Semicircle – Memphis Industries
The Brighton, U.K. outfit, an ever-rotating cast of musical characters now on its fifth album, sticks diligently to its quirky power-pop formula, as group guru Ian Parton dispenses more of his bright, layered melodies inspired by everything from the early oughts back to the ’60s. “All the Way Live” is perhaps the best track on the set, with its rowdy football-stadium feel and an instantly chant-able chorus. “Semicircle Song” even brings in a few laughs as the band tell you what its sign is (literally). ***

Tune-Yards – I can feel you creep into my private life – 4AD
A dozen new tunes (yeah, we went there) from Tune-Yards has just arrived, newly welcoming Nate Brenner to the previously solo outfit. The surprisingly bouncy set is also an experimental one, to a degree, with frontwoman Merrill Garbus dragging together, not always willingly, disparate sounds like disco with rap, and arena-big drums with hippie tunes. It’s an interesting, if not always compelling, collection of tracks that show Garbus is at the least willing to try new things. **


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