By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
"Wild Mountain Nation"
From Wild Mountain Nation (self-released)
Like chewing three sticks of Juicy Fruit on a sunshiny, cloudless afternoon in the Rockies. These self-sufficient, self-perpetuating Oregonians issue a good-natured cattle call here, inviting urbanites and suburbanites alike to drop out of society without getting all McVeigh-militia or hippie- commune about itnot at first, anyway. Carefree ooooo-oooos and ad-libbed yeahs sweeten the pot; fulsome, deep-fried, squealing guitar leads lace up them hiking Timbs; drums that mimic tramping up a slope seal the deal. Onward, then, to REI, and then to the trail! And all this talk about wolves and eagles hints that Wolfmother, Wolf Eyes, the Eagles of Death Metal, and AIDS Wolf can tag along toobonus! Stoked!
From Sensuous (Everloving)
Like cracking the foil on a fresh pack of Orbit while chilling on aTron set. Are those accentuated finger snaps or compressed handclaps erupting in the crisp, busy mix? Don't know; don't much care. Regardless, they're just stark ingredients in Keigo Oyamada's dynamic, conveyor-belt future-pop. Electronic drums, prim keyboard hooks, handfuls of glistening magic dust, and laid-back, overprocessed Oyamada vocals (in his native Japanese) cooperatively exist in the same realm while obeying totally separate orbits. Conflicted? Nope. Jaunty? Yep!
Avey Tare and Kria Brekken
From Pullhair Rubeye (Paw Tracks)
Like April Fool's Day gag chewing gum that turns your mouth wet-black. When bro-sis duo the Fiery Furnaces shellac backmasked shaggy-doggerel onto prog-pop tuneage, it's wackily risqué. When hubby-wife duo Tare (Animal Collective) and Brekken (ex-Múm) go so far as to DJ-reverse their entire freak-folk debut, though, it's straight-up unforgivable. Quickie "Sasong" is emblematic of Pullhair Rubeye's vortexual mindsuck: What may have once been synth and/or guitar hills-qua-valleys now morph into nightmarish pitch-shifts as Alvin, Simon, and Theodore trip hard on brown LSD and gossip conspiratorially. Behold, the bent echo in Timothy Leary's rotting skull, dreadful and dread-inducing!