CDs Nuts 

Supposedly this Portland, Oregon, band writes songs in little instrumental loops using some kind of studio software that lead singer Brent Knopf programmed himself. Whether their new album sounds like it was recorded this way, I have no idea. I do know that Friend and Foe sounds like it was recorded by three nerdy guys with too much time on their hands, so the story’s entirely plausible. But songs such as “Evil Bee” and “Muscle ‘n’ Flo” remind us that nerdiness has always been an asset in indie rock: Odd, unique, and fun in the best possible ways.


When you release an album called Roadkill Overcoat with songs named “The Troglodyte Wins” and “Mr. Mistakes (Bested by the Whisper Chasm),” and your name isn’t Yoko Ono, you’re going to confuse people. Of course, weird song titles and repellant fashion choices aren’t the only factors keeping this awkward Wu Tang Clan/Native Tongues Posse bastard child off the charts, but Busdriver clearly enjoys perplexing the shit out of us, and who are we to take that away from him?


OK, full disclosure time: I’ve had some throat problems recently so I’ve been drinking a lot of cough syrup. With that in mind, this is one of my favorite new albums. While the name and artwork make you think this will be a straight-up noise record, Cryptograms is far too ADD to classify that easily. On their sophomore album, Deerhunter flirts with most of the noisy, trippy genres you’d want when you’ve had a little too much of the Hobo martini. From shoe gaze to noise rock to fuzzy Britpop, the album never gets as heavy as Lightning Bolt or as ambient as Brian Eno, but the fact that I got to use both names in the same sentence makes this a Tussinhead’s best friend. At least until Panda Bear’s new album.


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