This Month's Picks

Endless Scroll (CD)

Bodega
NYC art punk band Bodega traffics in throwback post-punk meets jangle pop meets riot grrrl jams with a sometimes satirical edge. Co-fronted by Ben Hozie and Nikki Belfiglio, their latest, Endless Scroll , is rife with serious riffs, punchy vocals, and smart, silly lyrics. The band sings about the character of Jack in the movie Titanic (yes, on the track “Jack in Titanic”) and out-of-date left-wing slogans (“This machine you know it don’t kill fascists/This machine you know is just a guitar” on “How Did This Happen?!”) One moment the focus is on the rollicking vocals and entertaining lyrics; the next it’s on the super tight, angular melodies. Thoroughly enjoyable. More
Genre: Rock

Sundays (CD)

Tanukichan
Oakland-based Tanukichan makes a hazy, blissed-out debut on her first full-length, Sundays . It’s an evocative listen — dreamy and slightly melancholy, the perfect soundtrack to those strange in-between days, the end of summer, and yes, lazy Sunday afternoons. Steeped in nostalgia with a timeless sound and contemporary vibe, Sundays is a welcome addition to the modern dream pop scene. This is the type of album ideal for whiling away the day, for enjoying the small pleasures in life and absorbing all the beauty in the world. More
Genre: Rock

Noble Ape (CD)

Jim Gaffigan
After releasing several self-deprecating comedy specials, Jim Gaffigan finds himself treading new territory with Noble Ape . When his wife was diagnosed with a brain tumor last year, Gaffigan was forced to contemplate major life changes including possible retirement to take care of the couple's children. The resulting catharsis in finding humor during a medical crisis is the main focus of Ape , adding a more personal resonance to the proceedings alongside the laughs. More
Genre: Comedy

Annihilation [OST] (CD)

Ben Salisbury, Geoff Barrow
In Alex Garland’s visually stunning new psych/horror/sci-fi epic, a team of female scientists must explore a lysergic no-mans-land called The Shimmer, populated by increasingly bizarre and terrifying hybrid creatures and weird flora. Paranoia, lost time, freaky colorfields and interpersonal melding abound, and it’s not clear whether anyone who enters can escape. Key to the hypnotic power of this mesmerizing tale is the spare, eerie, brooding score, crafted by Bristol buds Ben Salisbury and Portishead’s Geoff Barrow. Having studied the soundtrack work of the ‘70s and ‘80s masters, they abide by the spacious, less-is-more blueprint, using acoustic guitar, a touch of electronics, strategically deployed orchestration and a haunting four-note motif. Subtly mirroring the journey from ordinary suburbia to glowing hallucinatory swampland, the score gradually mutates and decays into an understated but nightmarish experimentation. Let Ben and Geoff guide you through. More
Genre: Soundtracks

Wild Alee (CD)

Talos
Irish architect Eoin French applies the form, balance and structure taught by his trade to the soaring emotional hooks of his indie pop project Talos. His striking new album Wild Alee , recorded in Dublin, Cork and Iceland with co-producer Ross Dowling, builds on the series of catchy, powerful singles Talos released over the past three years. These slow-building anthems evoke melancholy and inner fire, carefully crafting spare northern soundscapes from guitar, drums and electronics, all guided by French’s skilled, yearning falsetto. Songs like "Tethered Bones," "In Time" and "Your Love is an Island" express deep struggle and the tenuous but all-consuming connections that link separate souls, in the vein of James Blake or Jon Hopkins. Powerful meditations that move between autumnal warmth and glacial isolation. More
Genre: Rock

The Make It All Show (CD)

Skating Polly
Skating Polly makes riot grrrl-influenced lo-fi punk with a mastery that belies their age (stepsisters Kelli Mayo and Peyton Bighorse launched the band when they were nine and fourteen) and a youthful urgency that gives the genre a timely update. On The Make It All Show , they alternate between playful and sweet, aggressive and formidable. The band has cited luminaries like Kat Bjelland, Kim Deal, and Exene Cervenka among their idols, and their impact is clear in both the stylized, raw vocals and the heavy guitar riffs. (Cervenka even makes an appearance on “Queen for the Day.”) A much-needed jolt of electricity that’ll have punks young and old alike stand up and take notice. More
Genre: Rock

Resistance Is Futile (CD)

Manic Street Preachers
From the title Resistance Is Futile to their cover art based on a photograph by Franz von Stillfried-Ratenicz titled “Samurai Warrior 1881,” Manic Street Preachers have a lot to say on their thirteenth album. This is an album about not giving up, about persevering in the face of trials, and the band’s sound echoes that, crescendoing in big, bold, arena rock ready choruses. In fact, the songs on Resistance Is Futile seem tailor-made to be sung by large groups, down at the pub, in the cheap seats at the stadium, anywhere people come together to fight for a better future. Sometimes melancholy but usually buoyantly hopeful, on their latest LP, the beloved Welsh rockers have served up anthems aplenty for our trying times. More
Genre: Rock

Errorzone (CD)

Vein
Little can prepare you for the ferocity of Vein’s debut record. The Boston metalcore band has been touring and self-releasing material for years now, and their first full-length sounds appropriately sharpened for battle. “virus://vibrance” unleashes a tornado of swirling metal chords played for maximum velocity, reminiscent of At the Drive-In at their nastiest. “Doomtech” offers a more straightforward entry point, its detuned anchor point and shrieked vocals giving way to a melodic vocal counterpoint, recalling post-hardcore heroes like Converge and Deftones. But, like aforementioned acts, Vein aren’t merely interested in pulverizing noise — though they do that pretty well — lacing its songs with dynamics and experimentation. On “Demise Automation,” the band sounds like it’s simultaneously playing and destroying its guitars, its shredded vocals going toe-to-toe with bludgeoning riffs and squealing feedback. Brainy yet accessible enough for the average metal fan, Vein’s debut LP is a stiff gut punch of barely controlled chaos. More
Genre: Rock

No Sounds Are Out Of Bounds (CD)

The Orb
Pioneering English outfit The Orb return with the eclectic, exciting No Sounds Are Out Of Bounds , a fitting title for this joyfully genre-bending album. “Rush Hill Road” is an instant classic, featuring the vocal talents of Hollie Cook while “Wolfbane" is soulful and sultry. Also along for the ride: Jah Wobble, Youth, Guy Pratt, Gaudi, and Roger Eno. These tracks were meant to be turned up loud and it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see these songs in their proper context: at a summer music festival somewhere in the British countryside, the audience with their hands in the air, singing along to every word, loving life. More

Bon Voyage (CD)

Melody's Echo Chamber
After a six year hiatus, Melody’s Echo Chamber returns with the lovely Bon Voyage . Clocking in at a tantalizingly brief thirty-three minutes that’ll have fans immediately hitting the “repeat” button, the tracks are lush, layered, and hypnotic, occasionally melancholy, sometimes strange. The production of the album was a collaborative effort between some of the most cosmically-inclined, genre-bending indie artists working today; members of Pond and Dungen join songstress Melody Prochet in piloting this spaceship. Bon Voyage is a dream you won’t want to end. More
Genre: Rock