September 22, 2020

Teenage Fanclub – Man-Made – Merge

By Kristi Kates | Jan. 12, 2019


The Scottish alternative rock outfit wound up 2018 by releasing this special edition vinyl pressing right before the year ended, with a dual press effort on both the band’s own EU PeMa label and Merge in America. The trio recorded this set in Chicago with John McEntire, adding a different kind of urban edge to the liveliness of the city itself via myriad clicking synths roiling underneath each track. Each bandmate wrote four songs; the best is opener “It’s All in My Mind” (Norman Blake) and Raymond McGinley’s layered “Nowhere,” both rife with harmonies. *** 

Breathless – Green to Blue - Victor House
Dominic Appleton fronts this shoegaze-y, “psychedelia light” ensemble, who are experts at conjuring up diffused melodies awash in echo chamber effects and tumbling guitar riffs. It’s a pensive, slow, sometime gloomy album that drones on a little too long, but just take a break and come back for worthy-upon-second-listen tracks like “Rain Down Now” and the most upbeat tune on the set, the strummy “Just for Today.” ** ½

Cosmic Eye – Dream Sequence – The Roundtable
This one’s been a long time coming from the legendary English psychedelic jazz-pop outfit. It’s the first legitimate reissue of this landmark set that was pulled from its original master tapes. You might see only two tracks here, but that’s the point: “Dream Sequence I” and “Dream Sequence II” were equally divided a part of a studio experiment led by guitarist Amancio D’Silva, who brought in East Indian instrumentation to craft these worldly and modernist musical excursions. ***

Uranium Club – All of Them Naturals – Static Shock
The Midwestern band’s second set finds it digging even farther into the toy box — Uranium Club s known for stitching various sounds and clips into audio pranks — to embellish its latest collection of punk tracks. More jittery beats, á la Talking Heads, holds down the low end. “The Lottery” kicks in the band’s sharp, aggressive, darkly humorous side, while “Opus” keeps the focus on the guitar work, especially when those guitars crank up to 11 in the middle section. But the sum of these sometimes jagged parts makes an impressively focused album for the hyperactive punk outfit that they are. ** ½


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