Album reviews

Album reviews

W-X: SELF-TITLED

November 28th, 2015

Here, Presley invites us behind the curtain, and the reveal is delightful, if a bit disorienting. Across 20 tracks, Presley dabbles in rubbery, tight-lipped funk (“Running from the Dogs”), cut-and-paste sound collage (“Copping in the Afternoon,” “Restless Leg”), noisy reverb-rock (“Clean It Glen”), burbling hip-hop beats (“The Lurk”) and swirling synth-psych exercises (“Dancing Lips,” “Brazilian Worm Band”). Occasionally—“Steer Clear,” for example—Presley lifts his veil and shows off the fuzzy pop chops that has made him one of this city’s vital artists over the past decade. But those are palate cleansers in this set.

Album reviews

BILLY CHANGER: SELF-TITLED

November 23rd, 2015

Billy Changer has the name of the everyman in a Philip K. Dick story, and like the everyman in a Philip K. Dick story, there may be something special about him—something powerful even—that he neither knows about nor fully controls.

Album reviews

WILLIAM ALEXANDER: STRANGEST THINGS

November 20th, 2015

There was a more than a little well-deserved buzz surrounding his 2014 release Girl’s Basketball, and now William Alexander has done it again with his new Strangest Things. It's a blend of 60s-style pop-melody wizardry and space-y samples and loops, and it presents Alexander as a California pop songwriter in the Beach Boys tradition. However, his combination of sunny melodies with introspective lyrics and plenty of technological fiddling is as much in debt to acts like Animal Collective as it is to Brian Wilson.

Album reviews

MEDIA JEWELER: $99 R/T HAWAII

November 18th, 2015

In sum, the album is essentially clinically precise mood music for those with short attention spans. A lyric on track 3, "Passport Invalid," aptly summarizes the album: "More black coffee. Anxiety."

Album reviews

CONTACT FIELD ORCHESTRA: MAPPING THE FUTURES GONE BY EP

November 16th, 2015

It’s a thoughtful and deliberate experiment in creation in the spirit of a mad scientist from a B-movie, built from raw sampled beats from the original source material and brought to life with keyboards and atmospherics a la Pink Floyd. There are tones—and songs—here reminiscent of early Moby recordings at times, as well as some as strange as anything that Tom Waits has come up with. (The guitars themselves sound haunting and even slightly drunk.) At times, music really can be the highest of art forms, and here we are given a great example.

Album reviews

WILL IVY: SCRAP PLASTIC 7″

November 14th, 2015

Will Ivy (of L.A.’s Dream Boys) steps out for his debut solo release with two songs of heart-on-sleeve pop with transcontinental inspiration from the U.K., New Zealand and Australia—that means it’s smart, it’s art and it’s got heart, of course.