Dark, buzzy, propul-
sive, and minimal.
-- Andy Beta,
San Francisco's Wooden Shjips came first, but Moon Duo (Er-
ik "Ripley" Johnson and Sanae Yamada) has quickly acquired a
similar reputation for gloriously unhinged guitar work and hyp-
notic motorik rhythms (yes, I overuse the word "hypnotic").
Last year's mini-LP Escape follows up on 2009's Killing Time
EP on Sacred Bones, and features only four tracks, but they're
plenty expansive (the release clocks in at 28:48 minutes).
While the band doesn't eschew vocals, they downplay them; those
that do materialize never compete with the oceanic instrumenta-
tion--guitar, organ, and drum machine--which takes center stage.
They're like a cross between Neu!, Suicide, and Loop (their AMG
bio also cites Spacemen 3 and Silver Apples). On the title track,
however, Johnson and Yamada speed up the pace, lighten the
mood, and evoke Jesus and Mary Chain by way of Suicide.
Click here for "When You Cut" from upcoming album Mazes.
Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Belong,
Slumberland/Collective Sounds [3/29/11]
I definitely see this album as keeping with what
we started doing at the beginning, only more.
-- singer/guitarist Kip Berman
Their first record was a hit, so New York's Pains of Being Pure
at Heart have upped the ante--and will probably meet with even
greater success. Belong doesn't represent a radical departure,
but rather a bigger, bolder version of their signature sound. Cre-
dit the participation of producer Flood (PJ Harvey, U2) and mix-
er Alan Moulder (My Bloody Valentine, Jesus and Mary Chain).
If anything, it's too slick for my taste what with the super-sized
guitars and drums. If John Hughes were still around, and still
making movies about disaffected teens, these songs would fit
comfortably on the soundtrack next to selections from Simple
Minds and the Psychedelic Furs, which is good news for '80s re-
vivalists, but I prefer M83's spacey, electronic take on the era.
Click here for my review of their debut.
Seapony, Go with Me, Hardly Art [5/31/11]
I am obsessed with this band.
-- Marco Collins, KEXP
Seattle trio Danny Rowland, Jen Weidl, and Ian Brewer offer up
reverb-drenched pop in the C86/Slumberland/Simple Machines
vein. Tour mates Pains of Being Pure at Heart have helped to re-
vitalize this style, on which Seapony puts their sunny stamp.
Other than their timekeeper, an Alesis HR-16, though, there isn't
much new going on here, and I'd prefer greater urgency--"I Real-
ly Do" and "Nobody Knows" feel a little sluggish--but the tam-
bourine-shakes and handclaps keep things humming along.
Click here for "Blue Star" and here for "Dreaming."
Endnote: Moon Duo plays the Funhouse on 4/8, while Sea-
pony plays the Havana Social Club on 4/4 and the Crocodile on
4/22 with Pains of Being Pure at Heart. For more informa-
tion about the latter, please click here. Image from SF Weekly.