A novel idea here: both bands contribute an original, perform one of the other’s songs, and add a great, obscure cover. OFP continue with the excellence of their self-titled LP, their dreamy post-punk and J Robbins’ inimitable vocals never sounding better. Daria, from France, work with a more driving, straightforward rock template and gritty punk spirit. They provide a fine Leatherface cover to boot, whilst OFP offer a fantastic reworking of a Rifle Sport tune.
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The new project from folkstress Kimya Dawson and hip-hop luminary Aesop Rock, this is an odd combination of confessional guitar strumming, campfire songs, ultra fast rhyming about pop culture and even some playful, almost kids’ music interludes. From serious to trivial subject matter, and sounds that are beyond quirky to direct, focused beats, you wouldn’t think mixing lo-fi folk-rock with literate rap would work this well. Enjoyable and charming in a very atypical fashion.
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The debut of gentle, dreamy electro pop from Jamie Ward (Maybeshewill) and James Stafford (Kids In Cars), Centuries first surfaced around 2010 and now gets a deserved reissue courtesy of Function Records. The Postal Service (or perhaps Dntel) influence is palpable throughout, Stafford’s drowsy, personable vocals a similarly favourable counterpart to Ward’s airily atmospheric, piano-strewn beats and glitches. Things never really stray beyond the calm tempo, and the record can at times be a little too content to drift in its ambience, but you’ll be won over by the understated charm long before that becomes a problem.
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All the Pond hallmarks are here on his major label debut: smooth singing, interesting guitar work, and near perfect balladry. Some surprises are a banjo, much synth and an overall more pop-rock feel. Less dark than Several Arrows Later (his masterpiece as far as I’m concerned), with a more mainstream slant and even some orchestral moments, this certainly could be his breakthrough album. If so, I say about time and well deserved.
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A 15+ orchestral pop ensemble who leave an indelible mark on this sophomore album, the lush arrangements, dual gender vocals and light use of horns help cultivate a nice balance of indie-rock meets jazz flourishes. Symphonic strings keep the mood light and graceful, though things occasionally build into more straightforward soaring rock moments. It’s nice to see someone giving Arcade Fire a run for their money.
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New West, 2013
A young songwriter who writes with a mindset well beyond his years, Gomez’s debut blends alt-country, pop-folk and ’70s rock with very skilled guitar work. Blues moments, ballads, and roots spirited folk music come out as thematically he mostly explores love from both ends – its triumphs and its heartbreak. Reminiscent of a more optimistic Ryan Adams, Gomez sets the bar high on this first album.
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