11 Sep 2010 @ 1:28 PM 

For all the records that August and September 2010 have brought us so far, none have been more noteworthy than those I bring you today. I’m highlighting a few bands that I have some history with as well as a couple of newcomers. I won’t bore you with the details just yet, but lets just say it didn’t turn out as nicely as I would have hoped in all cases. In fact, emotions range from absolute disgust to positively pleased. And we’re walking…

Les Savy Fav: Root For Ruin– For the last 14 or so years, Les Savy Fav have pretty much rocked the face off of everyone they’ve come across. Even today they can still be classified as edgy post-punk as much as they were when they first came onto the scene. Root For Ruin is everything I hoped it would be and completely lives up to the rest of their work in every respect: Creative, slightly unpredictable, full of energy and all Les Savy Fav. At times it even reminded me of 3/5 and Go Forth as far as their energy level goes. My only significant complaint is that its probably going to take another couple of years before they put out another great record like this. Hopefully LSF can continue their great song-writing ability for years to come…9.1/10

Sleepless in Silverlake

Frontier(s): There Will Be No Miracles HereFrontier(s) combines the talents of Chris Higdon (formerly of Elliott) and little else. Coincidentally, 2 months ago I was listening to False Cathedrals by Elliott and thinking to myself, ‘I wonder what these guys did when they broke up’. Well as it turns out, they weren’t doing anything for the last few years until just recently when the aforementioned Higdon decided to re-brand himself as the lead of his new band, Frontier(s). This got me really excited and I immediately downloaded their 2-song EP. Sure it was just okay, but I wanted to give them the benefit of a full-length review… Let me just say that this is in no way like Elliott other than Higdon’s vocal style and typical song structures. Other than that, its not what I expected. Not since Jeremy Enigk‘s OK Bear has the title of an album unintentionally said so much about it beforehand… and in case you’re wondering, OK Bear? Just okay. There are 2 major problems with this record: 1) The drummer is one of the worst I’ve heard in quite a while. Everytime this guy tries to do a fill, I cringe. Not only because he fails and comes back in late half the time, but also because he obviously loves doing them– as if he were good at them or something. And 2) This whole band is a blatant attempt to revive Elliott and all the success they had when in fact, this sounds like a sloppy garage band. Also, the closed parenthesis on the S in Frontier(s) is just fucking stupid… I don’t know, I think I’m just angry now. I suppose if this were Higdon’s first band and there weren’t any expectations attached to it, this might score a couple of points higher, but thats simply not the case. This record is pedestrian on nearly every level and a real punch-in-the-stomach to fans of Elliott and what that band was…3.6/10

Poor Souls

The Prids: ChronosynclasticThe Prids are based out of Portland, OR and though they’ve been around for awhile now, they’re pretty new to me. With that in mind, Chronosynclastic is a guitar-driven pop record with harmonized slacker vocals that combined with subtle underlying keyboards makes for a pretty awesome listening experience. Taking influences from that of Sonic Youth and The Pixies, The Prids have come up with a sound that is as distinctive to themselves as the aforementioned bands sounds were to them. Chronosynclastic flows very smoothly, almost as if it were a shoegaze record, when in fact its much more powerpop than that. With a cup of 90s drone rock and a dash of punk, Chronosynclastic is one of the most surprisingly delicious cakes this year…8.8/10


The Clientele: MinotaurThe Clientele write 60s-era pop songs and have accomplished multiple spectacular albums over the years and literally surprised the hell out of me that I loved them as much as I did. In short, I couldn’t quit them if I tried. Minotaur is a slight departure from other things they’ve done in the past and for the most part, this EP sounds largely experimental for them. The songs on this album don’t really seem to gel as much as their past works did and it almost sounds like an album of B-sides. Everything they’ve pushed the envelope with in the past is pushed even further on this record. Whether it was the ‘heavy metal-esque’ solo on Gerry, the mysterious piano concerto No.33 or the odd audiobook-like story(with sound effects, of course) of Green Man, this left me scratching my head as to how these were supposed to be smooth transitions into each other. It was just all a bit strange. But, as a whole, despite all of the oddities that seemed to be strung together to look like a single piece of work, the songs themselves were as heartfelt and beautiful as anything I’ve come to expect from them…7.2/10

Nothing Here Is What It Seems

Film School: FissionFilm School have been crafting moody indie pop for the last few years and in that time released 2 records– one that subsequently improved over the last. Fission continues that upward trend, but in a slightly different way. While their first 2 releases focused more on indie pop creativity, their focus has shifted towards not only crafting great songs, but also focusing on the atmosphere and mood of this record more. The result is less indie pop and more dream pop. This suits their sound much better because while I really liked them before, they really didn’t make as big an impression on me as they could have– something was missing. As it turns out, it was atmosphere. They’ve mastered it on this record and I couldn’t be happier with the result. In fact, most of these songs could be remixed with a drum machine and just as easily be categorized as synth pop in the vein of Depreciation Guild or Deastro if they wanted to be. In any case, Fission is a significant improvement over their last record that I didn’t expect or want, but am glad they made…8.8/10

Still Might


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