June 10, 2012

Required Summer Listening III

It's an official annual tradition here on AwkwardSound that arrives at some point point before the longest day of the year, right as students are no longer bound to desks and homework and those of you in the real world might be planning your escape from work worries: AS' Required Summer Listening. I do my best to bring a review your way on a weekly basis, but at the pace I consume music on top of other life responsibilities, not every great album that enters AS' earbuds gets a deserved level of attention. These are the album's whose temperatures read at red hot levels on AS' music score thermometer, and here's hoping they'll be warming up your days as well in the upcoming months if you haven't checked them out...

Chromatics - Kill for Love

At this time last summer, people were losing their shit over the sleek noir stylings of the Ryan Gosling-starring crime thriller Drive, and part of that film's exuding coolness came from its soundtrack featuring electro-pop makers Chromatics. The Portland band's latest effort Kill for Love could very well double as the score of a chic old Hollywood classic set in Paris filled with romance, intrigue and car chase scenes if you're up for some role playing while making your way in and out of the city limits. Chalk that up to bedazzling synths and dark, cool moodery produced by band mate and Italians Do It Better mastermind Johnny Jewel, whose execution of cutting-edge pop and electronic is flawless.

Death Grips - The Money Store

The Sacramento rap-noise trio of hardcore throater Stefan Burnett and production team of drumming maniac Zach Hill and keyboardist Andy Morin better known as the BUZZSound alumni Death Grips began making waves last year with their Exmilitary mixtape, but it's The Money Store crashing down on the shorelines. The beats here are laced with crushing percussion, sun-blistering synths and tough-spitted rhymes that should get the party vibes amped up whether it be spending your afternoons at the skate park or entertaining a backyard barbecue.

Joie de Vivre - We're All Better Than This

Mid-western emo revivalists and 2010 breakthrough artists Joie de Vivre have the dubious distinction of being an integral part of AwkwardSound's inaugural post over two years ago. After preemptively breaking up for a few months last year, the Rockford, Illinois band is back -- and sounding wiser -- on their sophomore effort We're All Better Than This. Where as 2010's excellent debut The North End was lifted up by downtempo horns and twinkly melancholia a la Mineral and American Football, Joie de Vivre return with an aggressive emotive edge that is still easy going enough to sink your toes into the hot sand to.

King Tuff - King Tuff

Surf's up with King Tuff! The recent BUZZSound's latest self-titled effort on Sub Pop (and Burger Records for all you cassette enthusiasts out there) is a brash mix of tight garage pop jams, a psychedelic swarm and touch of punk made to be stuffed into your stereo whether you're chillin' by the backyard pool, catching waves or carrying out a fun-filled late-night as its infectious lead single "Bad Thing" soundtracks the debauchery. Reasons to have fun aside, King Tuff is Kyle Thomas' most certain breakthrough that rides rays of melodic pop so sunny that even he's perpetually donning sunglasses.

Lotus Plaza - Spooky Action at a Distance

Spooky Action at a Distance, the second solo outing from Deerhunter guitarist Locket Pundt is a full realization of sorts for the artist as both a songwriter as well as fans of his other project who may have been underestimating those in the band whose name is name is not "Bradford Cox." Under the pseudonym Lotus Plaza, the BUZZSound fine-tunes a meticulous style of layering delicate hazy guitar textures into an ethereal breeze for those summer evenings relaxing amongst the mosquitoes and June bugs as the sun sinks into the ground.

Nude Beach - II

After a string of limited run cassettes, singles, compilations and self-released efforts, Brooklyn-centric garage-bound BUZZSound Nude Beach are finding a wider audience outside the NYC parameter with their sophomore LP II. The Men-approved trio don't do flavor-of-the-month fashion trends and instead go with a classic -- Rock 'n roll that's equally parts classic Springsteen, Petty, jangly power pop and a touch of punk that makes for a feel good listen in any blue sky setting. If you prefer your music physical over digital, you may have a tough time finding this one for the time being -- II's first run is currently low supply, but a wider distribution is set for August 14th on Other Music.

Torche - Harmonicraft

Floridian metal-gazers Torche take the next step closer toward committing themselves to arena rock anthemry on their third LP and first for new label Volcom on Harmonicraft. As evidenced by their 2008 breakthrough Meanderthal, Torche possess a tight grip on tunefulness that's rarely heard of within the metal scene, and in turn, it's allowed them to transcend the genre with listeners in the alternative and indie circles. Make now doubt about it, though -- Harmonicraft contains a heavy helping of piston-paced sludgy riffs held up in a cloud of swamping humidity tailor made to speed down the freeway with the windows wide open, wind tornadoing around.

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