Few labels have fed the shoegaze/dream-pop hydra as regularly as Oakland-based Slumberland. Wild Peace is the label's latest offering, the debut from London duo Echo Lake. Guitarist Thom Hill never met an effects pedal he didn't like.
Somewhere in a coastal town right now, Van She's synthpop anthem "Beat of the Drum" is playing while groggy, bubblegum-pink, already-nostalgic 20-year-olds move out of the beach house they rented for a week. Idea of Happiness, the Australian foursome's first album since 2008's V, succeeds in its diligent quest to soundtrack our summers.
Technology makes secrecy well-nigh impossible, so Black Moth Super Rainbow settle for employing it as a narrative device. Complete with adopted pseudonyms, latex masks, and a penchant for myth-making, the Pittsburgh band have effectively created avatars of themselves.
Ben Chasny is the thinking man's shredder, a chin-stroking, Gaston Bachelard-quoting antithesis to philistine six-string savants like Steve Vai. The lone mainstay in the ever-evolving Six Organs of Admittance, Chasny believes that what's on a guitarist's bookshelf is nearly as crucial as his choice of gear.
If this is truly, certainly, most definitely the final Candlemass album (the doom-metal progenitors called it quits in both 1994 and 2002, only to reform both times), then the swan song on their swan-song release is "Black as Time," a middling, excessively lengthy number that features a 90-second spoken-word opening delivered by a gentleman who sounds like a barmy, untenured philosophy professor.
"I think my greatest achievement is to keep ensuring that I am beginning again," conceded director Rufus Norris, one half of the creative partnership behind Dr Dee, an opera delving into the life of 16th-century alchemist and astrologer John Dee.
Swans albums are the unparalleled expression of multi-instrumentalist Michael Gira, who often sounds like he's either deranged with enthusiasm or deranged with bitterness. Then again, Gira — Swans' guts and soul for three decades now — may just be deranged.
Scotland does boldly inventive/wildly playful indie-pop (and prior to that, post-punk) with such machine-like efficiency that it's been a detriment to the country's other genres. Righting this wrong requires worthy torchbearers; Young Fathers are poised to assume this role for Scottish hip-hop.