Friday, April 15, 2011

Wagon Christ

Artist- Wagon Christ
Album- Toomorrow
Label- Ninja Tune

Luke Vibert, is a British electronic artist who records under the aliases Wagon Christ or Plug. Wagon Christ features a lot of cool, funky hiphop samples over laid-back beats (in the way that the Beastie Boys sample, for example). Overall, it’s a cool laid-back album.. A lot of the hiphop samples are jokey – “get on the dance floor” type of 80’s/90’s thing but overall it’s not too bad. The closest comparison I have for this is Squarepusher or Plaid. WC deftly weaves samples together in an interesting way that always holds my attention.

Wild Palms

Artist- Wild Palms
Album- Until Spring
Label- One Little Indian

Despite being signed to One Little Indian, home to Bjork, Wild palms aims for an 80’s stadium rock sound not unlike 80’s era U2. The singer tries for that emotive, yearning quality but just doesn’t seem to get it. The guitar and bass often are intertwined, sounding a bit like newer band Warpaint. In the end, Wild Palms is too derivative (even their name is cribbed from Twin Peaks) and too wimpy.


Artist- EMA
Album- Past life Martyred Saints
Label- Souterrain Transmissions

Erika M. Anderson, formerly of the noise-folk groups Amps for Christ and then Gowns, strikes out on her own with an eerie album of freaky guitar feedback and raspy vocals. EMA is great at riding the line between quiet and loud, sounding at times like early Cat Power and PJ Harvey or Kim Gordon. “Milkman” is a fuzzed-out stomper, while “Marked” has Erika singing over some creepy as hell guitar string scratching. This album is definitely weird, but at the same time it makes for a captivating listen.

Monday, April 4, 2011

RIP LCD Soundsystem

Goodbye to one of WPTS' longtime favorites

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Arc in Round

Artist- Arc in Round
Album- Diagonal Fields
Label- Uniform

Formerly named Relay, this newly renamed Philadelphia 4-piece makes shoegazey yet noisy indie-rock. Dream-pop, but still experimental and heavy on the references to rhythms of classic Krautrock sound. The rich textures on this CD are its true charm – Jeff Zeigler’s vocals are heartfelt without bullshit melancholy, riffs are soaring without being too cloying. Kurt Vile randomly shows up to play trumpet on the final track (“Slow Ceiling”) – by far the most experimental tracks but it’s also very pretty. “Spirit” is the most straightforwardly dreamy & poppy song of this 5-track EP, but I prefer the more interesting layers of “3 A.M.” or “Follow” personally. Excellent semi-debut.


Artist- Yelle
Album- Safari Disco Club
Label- Co-op

The French synth-pop threepiece is back with another album of fun chirpy tunes, following up on their 2007 debut Pop-Up. Singer Julie Budet’s calmed down a bit since her previous release: gone are the bratty sexual rhymes of “Je Veux Te Voir” (a song making fun of a particularly chauvinist male rapper’s genitals). Instead, the dance-pop on this album is darker and more emotive.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Curious Mystery

Artist- The Curious Mystery
Album- We Creeling
Label- K

The sophomore release from this Olympia-based band (practically a requirement for K Records) is a rich exploration into 60’s psychedelic and smoky atmospheric garage guitars, produced by Karl Blau. Vocals are evenly split between of (desolate)Nicolas Gonzalez and (lovely, breathy and yearning) Shana Cleveland, though it’s best when the two combine. The music has a desert vibe, almost shimmering at time, the guitars sometimes joined by sitars and mellotrons. It’s neo-psychedelic and drifting at times, but the instrumental bits of songs feel nicely-paced.
For fans of: the 60’s, Wye Oak, Desolation Wilderness, Fungi Girls, K Records.


Artist- Boats
Album- Cannonballs, Cannonballs
Label- Kill Rock Stars

Cute Winnipeg band released second album of indie-pop on Kill Rock Stars. A reviewer describes them as “the Arcade Fire without the drama”; I’d agree except that singer Mat Klachefsky’s vocal delivery recalls both Daniel Smith (aka Danielson) and Mac McCaughan (Superchunk). It’s nasally, in short. These songs are spastic and twee, featuring cheap keyboards and xylophones.

Adebisi Shank

Artist- Adebisi Shank
Album- This is the Second Album by a band named Adebisi Shank
Label- Sargent House

Adebisi Shank is a cool, instrumental math/post-punk threepiece band out of Ireland. It has a lot of finger-tapping, angular postpunk rhythms, and funky bass. It basically sounds like Holy Fuck meets Hella or Battles, filtered through some 8-bit noise – experimental with a math rock base. I think my main qualm is that one of the songs is literally titled ‘(-_-)’. Conor O’Brian of Villagers guests on “Europa” but his vocals are mixed way down.


Artist- R.E.M.
Album- Collapse into Now

R.E.M. is still trying to appeal to college kids? The 80’s are over, dudes. The best parts of this album simply sounds like retreads of songs from decades past. This album is most successful when going the ballad route – “Walk It Back” is a nice mature song all around. Unfortunately, it’s not clear where R.E.M. is going with this album – it clings to their old sound while a few songs are too aggressive and not very R.E.M. in nature.