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Michael Toland: December 23, 2012

Ketchup Pt. 8

Another 10 records I can’t dig into in detail, but are definitely worth your time. So much music, so little time. Alpha by artist.

  1. Autumn’s Grey SolaceDivinian (Projekt)

    AGS records tend to sound very similar to each other, making them hard to distinguish. But the duo’s Cocteau Twins -like take on dream pop – lush, pretty, sexy, with extra dream – is so unfailingly appealing it feels bitchy to complain. Picks to click: “Écelic,” “Divinian”

  2. Big DipperCrashes On the Platinum Planet (Almost Ready)

    I’m surprised that there’s a new Big Dipper LP, but I’m glad they’re back. Crashes finds a midpoint between the sweet dissonance of the Boston band’s early work and its slick (and only) major label effort – quirky, witty, melodic and jangly as hell. Picks to click: “Robert Pollard,” “Forget the Chef”

  3. Kevin Bowe & the Okemah ProphetsNatchez Trace (Applause)

    Minneapolis’ Bowe has a ridiculously prolific résumé as songwriter, guitarist and/or producer with Jonny Lang, Etta James, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Paul Westerberg, the Rembrandts, Leo Kottke, the Meat Puppets and Leiber and Stoller (who signed him to his first publishing deal). Several of those notables, as well as Freedy Johnston, Chuck Prophet and Bob Dylan‘s 70s-era violinist Scarlet Rivera, appear on what’s only his second LP in a two-decade career. On his own, Bowe puts power pop and classic rock through a roots rock filter, letting his melodic songs carry the weight, no matter how high profile the guests (or fiery his guitar work). Picks to click: “Every Little Bit Hurts,” “Gutters of Paradise”

  4. Crushed OutWant to Give (Cool Clear Water)

    The Brooklyn duo of Frank Hoier and Moselle Spinner eschews both the electropop twinkiness and blues rock riffology expected of co-ed duos these days. Instead the pair prefers country-surf rock & roll that owes as much to Johnny Cash and Nick Lowe as to the White Stripes. Picks to click: “Sharkbite,” “Black & Purple”

  5. The GatheringDisclosure (Psychonaut)

    The Netherlands’ the Gathering has evolved so much since its beginnings as a progressive death metal outfit that newcomers who sample both ends of its spectrum wouldn’t believe it’s the same band. Disclosure is a shimmering shoegaze/prog/psych/pop wonder that damn near equals the group’s masterpiece How to Measure a Planet, and should definitely intrigue readers of this fine magazine. Picks to click: “Heroes For Ghosts,” “Paralyzed”

  6. Midnight WoolfI’ll Be a Dog (Off the Hip)

    Melbourne’s Midnight Woolf plays garage rock as if it’s the most fun gig in the universe. Drawing its inspiration from Them, the Cramps and booze, the quartet blasts away at its R&B-fueled jams with the energy of a sugar-soaked three-year-old and the glee of a serial killer. Picks to click: “I’ll Be a Dog,” “Take It Off”

  7. Red Jacket Mine – “Amy” b/w ”Any Major Dude Will Tell You” (Fin)

    Another smart, catchy and utterly delightful pop tune from this excellent Seattle outfit, plus a Steely Dan cover that stamps it with the band’s personality. RJM is getting ready to take over the world, I swear. Picks to click: both

  8. Ringo DeathstarrMauve (Sonic Unyon)

    This Austin power trio fits pretty firmly under the “shoegaze” banner in that it practically chokes the guitar sounds in effects, plus sings with a sense of dreamy detachment. But the band gets aggressive too often to float on the edge of dreams – more Bailter Space than Slowdive, in other words. Picks to click: “Girls We Know,” “Please Don’t Kill Yourself”

  9. SnakehipsMust Be Present to Win (Twister/Feralette)

    Memphis stalwart Snakehips keeps on keepin’ on as the city’s purest blend of melodic power pop and rootsy rock & roll. Still led by songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/ Willie Nile soundalike Mark Harrison, the collective digs into a greasy Americana groove on its sixth LP – the ghost of Jim Dickinson smiles. Picks to click: “Can’t Turn You,” “New Day”

  10. Various ArtistsAlive at the Deep Blues Fest (Alive)

    This is part neo-classic rock underground fest, and part showcase for Alive’s current roster. Alive’s version of “deep blues” has less to do with genre puritanism and more about spirit, which is why decidedly non-bluesy rockers Buffalo Killers, Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires and Brian Olive join more overtly (but still a long way from purist) bluesy garage/punk/power rockers John the Conqueror, Left Lane Cruiser, Radio Moscow and Henry’s Funeral Shoe. Picks to click: “The Red, Red Dirt of Home” by Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires, “Be Your Own Invention/Stranger Big” by Henry’s Funeral Shoe