It’s a great week for new music if you like supporting local acts. Half of the new albums reviewed below have connections to Boston, and all bring a different perspective to the table. Don’t be a square, give them a listen.
While you read, you can listen to Perry Eaton chat with RadioBDC’s Adam12 and Steph Mangan about some of these new records:
Krill – “Steve Hears Pile in Malden and Bursts into Tears”
In two quick years, Jamaica Plain trio Krill has seen a quick rise to recognition, both locally and beyond. “Steve Hears Pile,” which Krill describes as a “failed concept album,”
is a perfect follow-up to the band’s 2013 LP “Lucky Leaves,” continuing with angst and curious guitar structures, but digging into its left brain a bit further for peculiar metaphors and maddening sentiments that drive the album. Krill is a band that requires a bit of a “get it” factor, but EP could very well be the “gateway drug” for many new listeners.
For fans of: Pixies, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Kal Marks, Porches
New York electronic rock duo Phantogram rode a wave of relevance right to the top when it broke on the scene in 2007. Mixing the jolty glitch-rock of acts like Sleigh Bells with a smooth synth fluidity, the band quickly had a recipe for success. “Voices” could be the band’s most accessible release to date, though that doesn’t mean the album doesn’t experiment. As a matter of fact, there are plenty of moments filled with discordant noise and guitar-fueled recklessness. It’s the electronic bounce, mixed with Sarah Barthel’s layered vocal hooks, especially on tracks like “Black Out Days,” that gives this album legs.
For fans of: Sleigh Bells, Cults, Neon Indian
Solids – “Blame Confusion”
Montreal punk-gaze duo Solids is the next step in over-fueled Canadian music. With less of a pop-punk approach than Japandroids and more of a wall of sound than Metz, the band still finds a way to touch upon the best qualities of both bands. Moreover, guitarist Xavier Germain-Poitras covers the ground of multiple guitarists while mixing some color into his chords, comparable to the bright fuzz achieved in earlier Yuck recordings. If you’re looking for a pit to toss around in, catch this band at Great Scott on March 27.
For fans of: Young Adults, Japandroids, Cheatahs
Michael Christmas – “Is This Art”
Local rhymer Michael Christmas’ debut album won’t drop until tomorrow
, but there’s plenty to look forward to. The young Roxbury native has already stirred the pot with a handful of singles and videos that reflect goofy wit, subtle jabbery, and the ability to not take himself seriously at all. In ways, his style is super modern, almost Tumblrwave, with his constant references and assonance-reliant flow, but in its feel-good nature, the album has plenty of appeal to old-school snobs.
For fans of: Earl Sweatshirt, Cities Aviv, Chance the Rapper
Lake Street Dive – “Bad Self Portraits”
Indie soul quartet Lake Street Dive got its start right here in Boston at the New England Conservatory. Now, after a self-titled debut and an EP, the band has found a home in Brooklyn to release its sophomore LP “Bad Self Portraits. The band’s feel-good dance groove is infectious, and heightened by full-bodied harmonies that give Lake Street Dive almost a family band aesthetic. The music-school prowess shows its skin too, whether it’s toying with time signatures on “Better Than,” swaying over the upright pulls of bassist Bridget Kearney, or basking in the power of lead vocalist Rachael Price. These powers combined make “Bad Self Portraits” an early taste of spring and a promising glimpse at the bright future of the former locals.
For fans of: David Wax Museum, Susan Tedeschi, Thao and the Get Down Stay Down
Angel Olsen – “Burn Your Fire for No Witness”
Chicago-based songwriter Angel Olsen haunts with dramatic emotion and minimalist sparsity on her new full-length, “Burn Your Fire for No Witness.” Her bold sincerity, mixed with a haunting vocal hollowness, traces to some of Fiona Apple’s more moving work, while more plugged-in tracks draw similarity to the interesting structures found on Cate Le Bon’s latest album. Olsen’s heavy-hearted approach comes timely in the depths of February, but provides an audible catharsis for any broken romantic.
For fans of: Fiona Apple, Cate Le Bon, Julia Holter
Art Decade – “Art Decade”
Local orchestral pop quartet Art Decade has always taken advantage of the music degrees that its band member wield. Expansive string arrangement composed by lead man Ben Talmi gives the band’s sound a grandiose feel, almost like soundtracking the culminating scenes in a dramatic movie. It’s this type of movement that gives the band’s new record arena-like sway in the vein of Arcade Fire, while staying very poppy, almost akin to bands like fun.
For fans of: The Mars Volta, Muse, Grizzly Bear
Shocking Pinks – “Guilt Mirrors”
New Zealand multi-instrumentalist Nick Harte, known more commonly as Shocking Pinks, picked a good time to release “Guilt Mirrors.” My Bloody Valentine’s reunion early last year helped America realize its affinity for super-noisy shoegaze, and Harte’s new album delivers just that. The overbearing fuzz of the record gives it almost a relaxed, ambient feel, while some tracks take interesting shapes, like the new wave inspired “DoubleVisionVersion” or the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink percussion on “My Best Friend.” It’s a bit of a drowsy album, but also quite amorphous and interesting throughout.
For fans of: My Bloody Valentine, Black Dice, Amen Dunes
[Photo: Jarrod McCabe]