February 22, 2019

Traps PS – New Chants – Innovative Leisure

By Kristi Kates | Sept. 8, 2018

Short tunes, directly to the point, charging in and crashing right back out again. That’s the modus operandi of Traps PS, which purposefully keeps its tracks abbreviated, not wasting a single note or beat that isn’t meant to be there. But these songs, tightly wound and laser-focused, are only more effective in the shorter span they have to grab your ears, from the fast-moving “Waking Hour” to the (slightly) more paced “Tradition” and “Fourth Wall.” ** ½

Death Cab for Cutie– Thank You for Today– Barsuk Records
Teaming up with Fiona Apple/Muse cohort Rich Costey on production, DCC’s ninth studio set is already being hyped with a series of upcoming fall tour dates, and for good reason; it’s one of the band’s most polished albums to date. Single “Gold Rush” best exemplifies the overall feel of the album. Built around a sample of a Yoko Ono song, the track sings of nostalgia, a theme that crops up elsewhere on the album as well. Additional highlights are the commercial-ready “When We Drive” and the cutting “60 and Punk.” ***
Weathered – Stranger Here– FD
Minnesota quartet Weathered mixes alternative indie-rock with tempered shoegaze on its latest set, using a diverse mix of components that shuffle around pop-friendly chorus refrains and guitar hooks that get a little muddy to add some low end. The title track ramps up the drums to draw you in, utilizing big dynamics to pinpoint the verses. “Burn” slows things down a little, getting faintly emo and adding some echo into the guitar tracks to craft a more haunted sound, while “There is One” is just plain pretty. ** ½
Papa M– A Broke Moon Rises– Drag City
Using four acoustic guitars stacked in quirky layers, Papa M’s (aka David Pajo’s) compositions are simultaneously bold and careful, striking out in complex directions on the composition side while keeping the moods familiar enough to attract new listeners. Opener “The Upright Path,” at just over four minutes, crafts its own ’90s-inspired road, while additional highlight “A Lighthouse Reverie” keeps things with its restrained choruses, and “Shimmer” brings in some expert processing for effective FX. **


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