FM Belfast – Don’t Want To Sleep
Label: Morr Music (2011)
Sounds Like: Chew Lips, Architecture in Helsinki, VHS or Beta
Review by TG Keas, KXUA Music Director
Not long ago, the compilation Made In Iceland IV hit our library and gave me my first taste of a band called FM Belfast and their specific brand of eccentric, synth-ridden pop. Now that a month or two has passed, FM Belfast has released their newest album that features…more of the same eccentric, synth-ridden pop. Having an entire album of this stuff is a bit different than one single amidst another twenty. For one, the incessant exuberance and silliness becomes grating annoyance. But to be fair, obnoxious music can be really fun (in measured doses). FM Belfast is really good at translating a particular flavor of manic fun through music. Just spin with care, or you’ll crumple under the weight of sugary joy.
Smoke Fairies – Through Low Light and Trees
Label: V2/Co Op (2011)
Genre: Folk, Americana
Sounds Like: Simon & Garfunkel, Neko Case
Review by Ginny Garber
Looking for sweet two-part lady harmony, light electric guitar, and lyrics worth a damn? These fairies got ’em. Developing their choral-duo dynamic as teens in Mother England, Katherine Blamire and Jessica Davies traveled to America to further their dream of music, soaking in blues influence in New Orleans, and later working with musician/producer Jack White. Try “Strange Moon Rising” for a blend of haunting, airy harmony and gritty blues.
Mace Hibbard – Time Gone By
Review by Zeek Martin
Complicated and almost fractal, other times relaxed and cruising, the horns on this album really, really, really work well together. Mace is a virtuoso of the sax, coupled with long time bandmate, and equally impressive horn blower, Melvin Jones (who’s amazing album Pivot just dropped last month), track after track builds up, then smashes down – sometimes into another frenetic buildup, sometimes pulling off the road for a leisurely trip until someone blasts you in the face with some more serious horn action. Though the horns take front stage for me, there is no denying that the rest of the musicians are masters in their own rights. Some tracks are a little slow for my personal tastes, but that is quickly rectified by hitting the next track. I must admit that the cover art had me doubting this album initially; turning it over to see what appear to be five angry cats staring me down remedied my dismissal. Never, ever, judge a jazz album by it’s cover.
Inevitable End – The Oculus
Label: Relapse (2011)
Genre: Grindcore, Crust Punk
Sounds Like: Disrupt, Dillinger Escape Plan, Converge, Cephalic Carnage
Review by Joel Bunch
Hailing from Sweden, Inevitable End wed technical ability and a broad range of influences with high energy on their second album. While the band genre hops quite a bit, that probably won’t mean anything to you if you don’t listen to extreme metal. All you need to know is the music is intense, it shifts mood and changes tempo regularly. The intensity is occasionally broken up by weird instrumentation (slide guitar, among other things). In this case, technical ability plus weird equals awesome.