New This Week: The Drums, This Will Destroy You, Goat, Soft Shadows, and The Juan Maclean

The Drums - EncyclopediaThe Drums’ new album Encyclopedia shows the band continuing to push their sound into new directions. This album has a far more complex tone as opposed to the band’s previous releases. There is a plethora of synth pop work mixed into the bands usually guitar based indie rock. This album also contains a deep rooted postpunk element that carries on throughout with its dark themes and sounds, but the album shifts from these dark moments to more traditional indie pop that The Drums are known for. The band recorded the album in what they described as a very uncomfortable location. This discomfort can definitely be felt throughout the album. If you are a big fan of the drums you might be taken aback by this album but it is still worth a listen. Will

Recommended Tracks: "Magic Mountain", "I Can't Pretend", "Kiss Me Again", "Face of God"

This Will Destroy You - Another LanguageTWDY may hate the label post-rock, but I can’t think of a more accurate way to describe this album. The haunting melodies and soul-crushing walls of sound that coarse through Another Language could just as easily serve as the soundtrack to a post-apocalyptic thriller. Not only is this post-rock at its finest, it is an exercise in the music that might exist post-humanity. Due to the cinematic nature of Another Language one can easily envision what events the music might accompany. “New Topia” for instance can be seen as a process of reconstruction, like a phoenix arising from the ashes, society (portrayed by the haunting aria of a female vocalist) begins to rebuild itself after some catastrophic event. The new topia evidently does not last long as we begin to encounter metaphorical and literal dissonance on “Dustism”. In the following track, all hope once again crumbles; the track begins to skip as if an internet stream is buffering, progress halts, and a tidal wave of crashing cymbals and overdriven guitar washes over us. The cacophonous assault leaves us in ear-bleeding despair. The graphic destruction of such crippling crescendos is expertly coupled with eerie yet beautiful melodies throughout the album. In the last track, “God’s Teeth”, a general undercurrent of waffling overdrive finally takes center-stage, like a hydrogen bomb that has detonated far off in the distance. War sirens begin to blare as the noise draws ever closer. The album ends, and we are left in a silence almost as marvelous as the music itself. SHILL

Recommended Tracks: “New Topia”, “Dustism”, “Serpent Mound”, “God’s Teeth”

Goat - CommuneThis is a musical round-trip calculated to delight anyone who has previously enjoyed Can or Amon Duul's loose-limbed walks on the cod-tribal wild side--(and enlighten anyone who hasn't). Goat's debut World Music catapulted the mysterious Swedish voodoo-rock outfit onto the world stage with its mixture of frenetic wah-riffing, energetically chanted vocals, mystical polyrhythms, with colorful and hyper-kinetic live rituals to match. Thankfully, this is a band with ambition to match their hype, and Commune is far from simply World Music part two. It's joyous and explosive and repetitive and strangely moving; an exasperated primal howl for unity that descends into soaring string abuse amid a backbone of stellar drones. There are some fuzz tones that are just so gnarly and righteous that they make you glad to be alive! The signature moves from the first album are still present, but the emphasis here is much more on repetition: drones and deeply danceable tremolo indulgences often reveal a darkness that was previously unheard. If you're willing to set sail afloat a sea of tumultuous rhythms and open-water jam sessions, spin Commune until you reach the horizon... Nick

Recommended Tracks: "Words", "Gloat Slaves", "Hide From the Sun"

Soft Shadows - Reverb Is for LoversThis is ostensibly unrelated to my reception of this album, but my roommates are BLASTING that Jessie J/Nicki Minaj/(someone else) song, and it is really stressing me out. I mention this only because “Reverb Is for Lovers” is maybe the perfect song to take me to a psychological “happy place” with its catchy indie guitar melody similar to that of “What a Pleasure” [again the song, not the album] by Beach Fossils. It’s light and fun and makes me want to bust out my mom dance moves (specifically the one where you make peace signs in front of your eyes followed by the one where you plug your nose and pretend to go underwater… I can demonstrate if you need a visual). While much of the album incorporates the same type of indie-inspired guitar sound, the majority of the songs have a much more post-punk, distorted sound – exemplified by the energetic “Cheap Signals,” the guitar accents in the soothing “Whatever You Say,” and the combination of vocals and layers of guitar melodies in the mellow and almost discordant (though not in a bad way) song “A Soft Night.” A couple of the songs have some seemingly out-of-place semi-electronic intros (namely “Love Is a Dog from Hell” and “Gamma Collider”), but although I find them a little confusing, the songs greatly improve and seem more cohesive with the rest of the album once the singing actually starts. In other words, I can dig. ASHLEY H.

Recommended Tracks: “Reverb is for Lovers”, “Cheap Signals”, “A Soft Night”

The Juan Maclean - In A Dream: The Juan Maclean is the lovechild of John Maclean of Six Finger Satellite and Nancy Whang of LCD Soundsystem (she gets egged in the Drunk Girls music video). This is some real spacy, groovy shit. Her voice is perfectly suited for this meeting point of booming grooves and dance-punk. In “A Place Called Space,” Maclean is master of synth, layering house-y beat over el electric guitar, his and Whang’s voices in conversation. I WANT TO SEE THIS LIVE. The LCD influence is strong in that one. This album is the lovechild of a duo that has definitely found its sound. They present to us a callback record that’s simultaneously timeless. Not every track is entirely on point, but it always remains fun! FUN. I really really like “Running Back To You,” super funky. In A Dream is a good time the whole way through, ending with a 10-minute juicy, fruity jam of a track. AA

Recommended Tracks: “A Place Called Space”, ”Love Stops Here”, ”Running Back to You

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