1 Grinderman “Grinderman 2” LP Mute
It's pure rock fury as Nick Cave again steps away from the Bad Seeds and into the trashy, no holds barred, wolfish pomp of Grinderman. Comprised of Cave and three Bad Seeds members, this second foray as a stripped down garage band takes it to new levels of noisy bombast and sleazy lyricism. Haven't been so sonically punished in years, and the live show is even more intense!
2 Magic Lantern “Platoon” LP Not Not Fun
Where Cameron Stallone's Sun Araw side project favors the thubbing, bass-heavy, dubbed out side of psychedelia, the newest (possibly final) release from Magic Lantern, brings it back around to it's Hendrix-inflected, guitar wailing, funk-blues origins. If you were lucky enough to grab the first few copies of this release that contained a bonus 7", then you know the power of Magic Lantern's funk side, displayed on their cover of Iron Knowledge's "Showstopper".
3 DA! “Exclamation Point” LP Factory 25
One of the many forgotten legends of Chicago music, DA! played a gothy, arty style of punk that should not be understated. With haunting female vocals, its not hard to imagine an influence of Siouxsie Sioux lurking behind the Joy Division-esque guitar and drum work, but there is much more here than mere post-punk artiness. This album collects many of their oft unheard songs into one convenient package, although I highly recommend trying to get your hands on their original EP "Time WIll Be Kind" and single "Dark Rooms/White Castles". Great liner notes and artwork comprised of old flyers and photos complete this essential release!
4 Group Inerane “Guitars of Agadez” LP Sublime Frequencies
Simply put, this is one of the best releases of Taureg guitar music I've yet heard. Transcendent tribal rhythms and call and response chanting meet raw, trance-inducing guitar grooves. These songs of protest against the Niger & Mali governments can strike a chord with anyone willing to listen, knocking down the barrier of language in the process.
5 Zola Jesus “Stridulum” 12" EP Sacred Bones
I was first blown away by the beauty of Nika Rosa Danilova's music when I heard her first full-length on Sacred Bones. Recently she's cut through the grit and grime of previous releases to reveal gorgeous baubles of pop-inflected synth-washed gothic anthems. Can't wait for the next full length!
6 Silver Bullets “Citta Invisibili” Cassette Stunned
These Italians should not be overlooked by anyone interested in the recent rush of tranced-out minimalist psych bands popping up all over the country (and world for that matter). Building on their stunner (no pun intended) of a debut "Free Radicals", the band has begun to let fly with a more experimental bent that sits nicely alongside their ethno-driven grooves.
7 Emeralds “Does It Look Like I’m Here?” LP Editions Mego
Moving away from their purely analog beginnings, Emeralds has transcended both past and future to usher in the purely "now" sound of the digital age. Lush ambience provides a sweeping lull that allows the scattering shards of melody to take us beyond the dense drones and noise blasts of previous releases, making this record Emeralds' most approachable and aurally attractive album to date. Fans of Nova should take note!
The great Neubauten return with a compendium of songs collected from releases of the past 8 years. Their sound has advanced so much since earlier classic albums like "Halber Mensch" and "Kollaps" that one might be under the impression that these pioneers of Industrial music might be losing steam. Not the case however, as their songcraft has developed to include not only elements of metallic percussion, power tools, and noise, but now contains spoken word, pop traces, digital sampling, field recordings, and laptop electronics. Simply beautiful stuff on this double album.
9 Sun Araw “Off Duty” 12” EP Woodsist
A return to form for Sun Araw! After the genre-defying juggernaut that was "Heavy Deeds", I was unfortunately less than impressed by the sprawling double album "On Patrol". On "Off Duty" Cameron Stallones brings the dub I was so desperately missing and in the process reminds us that although the heavily-reverbed lo-fi sounds of his contemporaries are fast getting played out, he can still delivery a solid dose of drugged out bliss that sounds completely his own.
10 Cave “Pure Moods” 12” EP Drag City
This EP gives just enough of a hint of what's to come from our boys in Cave. A great blend of the Krauty rhythms that have defined them since their first release and their newer synth-driven Kosmische sound.