Sin Fang – “Strange House”
Half Dreams

An excellent EP packed with some just plain great songs. This one in particular has a wonderfully varied structure, swinging from jangle to piano-and-surf to Elephant 6 psych. Calming but still upbeat and musically interesting. (insound)

Efterklang – “Sedna”

I’ve discarded two whole albums from Efterklang due to a lack of focus, which the earlier Tripper, by contrast, had in excess. “Sedna” is the first new song by them that has not only arrested my attention but truly sounds Efterklang-y to me, yet evolved and different. Imagine Talk Talk mixed with DNTEL — understated and beautiful. Also look for the almost Graceland-esque “Dreams Today.” Great cover art, too. (insound)


Johann Sebastian Bach – “Prelude #1 In C major”
The Well-Tempered Clavier

The opening track from Bach’s historic collection of keyboard pieces is a simple and delicate piece, but with lots of room for expression. Glenn Gould plays it crisply on the piano, but with a precious air, and at any rate I prefer the richer overlapping tones of the harpsichord. This is a nice recording, but it was Luc Beausejour’s that originally caught my ear.

Austra – “Lose it”
Feel It Break

The feminine electro-pop of Sister Crayon crossbred with turn-of-the-90s dancefloor synth, resulting in a slightly repetitive but ferociously catchy tune. Great timbre. (insound)


The Most Serene Republic – “Career In Shaping Clay”

If you’re familiar with TMSR, you know what to expect: bombastic, somehow geometric indie rock, with a sort of uniquely multitracked vocal effect that, to be honest, isn’t for everyone. But it makes for really great songs now and then, like this one, which stumbles a bit in its second quarter but really nails it for the climax. Phages is probably still a better intro to the band, but Population is still a quality record. (insound)


Minotaur Shock – “Local Violin Shop”
Chiff-Chaffs & Willow Warblers

A classic “organic electronica” album I always associate with Four Tet’s Pause, Fridge’s Happiness, and Manitoba’s Start Breaking My Heart. “Local Violin Shop” is a great example of this vanguard of cross-pollination. Its lively drumming and occasional drilling loop makes it a bit too active to be played in boutiques, but it’s still eminently likeable while also rewarding closer listening. (insound)


Lights Dim / Gallery Six – “Sea of Tranquility”
Moon EP

This short ambient album was put out to commemorate the 43rd anniversary of the moon landing. It’s very reminiscent of the Fennesz/Sakamoto collaboration, Cendre, but a bit noisier. Only 21 hard copies were made (and sold), but you can pay what you like to get it at their Bandcamp page or download it for free at Archive.org.

Gregorio Allegri – “Miserere mei, Deus”

No day like today to reflect on the enormities of mankind, the number and scope of which have, incredibly, survived centuries of prayer. The piece itself (I have learned) was forbidden to be performed outside the Vatican or transcribed, on pain of excommunication. It was only after a 14-year-old Mozart memorized it during attendance and copied it out from memory that it escaped the confines of the Sistine Chapel; the Pope himself praised Mozart and the music was released for general performance.

Jack Rose – “Dusty Grass”
The Black Dirt Sessions

A bit like a minor-key “Rappahanock River Rag” at the beginning, but morphing into something more complex and urgent once it departs from its initial jangly theme. This EP is host to a number of excellent tracks, including an extended “Cross the North Fork” and a melancholy pair of tracks closing out the B side. Certainly worth a listen for fans of Jack Rose (RIP) and acoustic guitar in general. (insound)


The Willowz – “Cons and Tricks”
Talk in Circles

Just some straight-up noisy garage rock. Love the “busy” tone about 2/3rds through. Apparently this was on Jersey Shore? Doesn’t matter, great song.