Album Picks: The Twilight Sad, Medicine, Useless Eaters, Bell Gardens

Posted by Billy Gil, October 28, 2014 10:56am | Post a Comment

The Twilight SadNobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave (LP, CD, Download)

The Twilight Sad are masters of misery, plying heartbreak directly into their guitars on their stunning fourth album. “There’s a Girl in the Corner” is an epic breakup song, with James Graham’s repeating “she’s not coming back,” his Scottish brogue piercing through sheets of minor key noise. “Last January” is propulsive with a perfect layering of synths, displaying at how well The Twilight Sad have folded their recent new-wave leanings into their core noise-pop sound. The band also continue to show an uncanny ability to repurpose familiar influences like R.E.M., Joy Division and My Bloody Valentine and still come out with something fresh and enjoyable on tracks like “It Was Never the Same,” touching on these influences without being beholden to them, or letting Graham’s voice soar over a Suicide-style drum machine on the title track. The band has often been noted more for its atmospherics than hooks, but “Drown So I Can Watch” is one of their catchiest songs yet, with a relatively light, lilting melody that eases some of the downer mood. And they allow for more space on Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave than on previous albums, ending on a pair of spare, beautiful tracks. It’s the best thing they’ve done since their electrifying debut.


Medicine Home Everywhere (CD, Download, LP Out Nov. 10)

The L.A. shoegazers return with their second post-reunion album, and it’s even better than 2013’s To the Happy Few. Tracks like “The Reclaimed Girls” are wild and shambolic, feeling urgent and utterly contemporary, while “Move Along – Down the Road” brings the noisy goods and Beatlesesque melodies like no newbies possibly good. It’s looking like Medicine will be another Dinosaur Jr. situation—their post-reunion material rivals the originals.


Useless Eaters Bleeding Moon (LP)

New Castle Face signees Useless Eaters deliver the kind of blistering garage rock the great S.F. label is known for, but the band’s tunes are cranked and tightened ‘till they nearly burst, drawing man-mechanical influence from Wire and new-wavers like Devo. Crippling anxiety’s never sounded like so much fun.


Bell Gardens Slow Dawns for Lost Conclusions (LP, CD)

Named after the Southeast L.A. city of the same name, this L.A. band specializes in scenic, sometimes breathtaking slowcore, with country and ambient touches and spectral harmonies, in the vein of Stars of the Lid, Low, Radar Bros and The Besnard Lakes.


Also out today: Reissues of Led Zeppelin’s IV and Houses of the Holy!

See all of this week's new releases

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Album Picks (146), New Albums (213), New Releases (214), The Twilight Sad (5), Medicine (8), Useless Eaters (4), Bell Gardens (2)