Bear In Heaven – “Werewolf”
Red Bloom of the Boom

If nobody had told me it was them, I wouldn’t have been able to connect this vastly varied and ambitious album to Bear In Heaven’s interesting but ultimately unfulfilling follow-ups. Red Bloom of the Boom is a dream of melody in battle with a nightmare of noise: multilayered headphone music that demands your attention and deserves it. This track is pretty subdued, though. (insound)


CFCF – “Camera”
Music for Objects

A brief and diverse collection of (what else?) object-themed music, Music for Objects is less about hitting a catchy groove and more about creating unique sounds. “Camera” makes the biggest impact, but the keyboard-dominated “Ring” and “Glass” (bookending the album) are an airy side of CFCF I don’t hear often. (insound)


Savages – “Shut Up”
Silence Yourself

I’m not entirely sold on the vocals in this band (or their all-caps “messages,” though I don’t object), but the wailing guitars, clear growling bass, and mega-tight percussion are impossible to not stomp along to — they deserve the hype. You can skip the first 45 seconds or so, which is just album intro stuff. Note: Savages are the kind of band that would punch you for doing that. (insound)


Balmorhea – “Constellations”

In the predawn gloom you can just make out the pianist slouching in the parlor, reeking of laudanum and rose water, deliriously tapping out a sparse gothic paean to hollow euphoria, then listing, toppling, and waking in the morning having forgotten all of it — the ecstasy, the agony, and the ivory. (/pitchfork) (insound)


Crocodiles – “She Splits Me Up”
Crimes of Passion

It’s really hard to find anything at all wrong with this song. The bass line is strong and gives tone to the beat, the vocals are pleasantly and fuzzily multitracked, the glittery guitar has the deft precision of a harpsichord. Even the initially atonal opening riff falls exactly into place. True, it doesn’t change much, but neither does it overstay its welcome. A summer jam I’ll be inserting into many a playlist. (insound)


Gauntlet Hair – “Human Nature”

Dark electro with a No Age-esque edge. Deserves to be played at high volume, so you get the power of both the dubby backbeat and the noise-rock counterpoint. (insound)

Hauschka – “Paige and Jane”

Delicate yet rich, a piano and cello weave together and create something heart-stopping. This album is short but absolutely exquisite. (serein)


Houndmouth – “Penitentiary”
From the Hills Beneath the City

This folk-orchestra item impressed me in the car with its resonant chorus harmonies and authentic sounding insertions of “oh mama” and “oh lord.” Not my usual wheelhouse, but a great song is a great song. (insound)


Lotus Plaza – “Monoliths”
Spooky Action at a Distance

It’s hard to pin down the sound exactly – Jesus & Mary Chain crossed with Women? However you define it, this Deerhunter side project makes solid, fuzzy psych-rock and “Monoliths” is an ebullient nugget of just that. (insound)


Brambles – “Salt Photographs”

Another subdued album of what might be called ‘enhanced chamber music’ from the label that owns that space, Serein. This song, the longest on Charcoal, combines atmospheric noise and percussion with delicate and precisely-placed strings and keyboards. I love the transition and slow build, like a cross between early A Silver Mt Zion and label-mates Nest — a nearly flawless ambient work. (serein)