CDs Nuts

On Disappearing
Harpeth Trace
(Rockets Red Glare)

How does an album manage to be both minimalist and psychedelic? Honestly, I have no idea. It’s hard to say exactly how the Harpeth Trace manages to pull this off. With three-minute songs constructed of sparse, lingering musical notes and Josh Kasselman’s pretty but sorta-spooky vocals, the Harpeth Trace somehow achieves a feeling of absolute other-placeness without the bloated and bizarre orchestration or guitar-solo masturbation usually associated with psychedelia. Credit the band’s canny musical restraint and apparent disregard for how songs are generally supposed to work for giving us this half-hour of pure
hypno-pop pleasance.

Do You Like Rock Music?
British Sea Power
(Rough Trade)

“I’ll be the first to admit this is a bright but haunted age,” we’re told toward the beginning of album highlight “Atom,” but that instrumental blitzkrieg breakdown at the song’s end isn’t going to help our generation of geniuses sleep easier at night. Do You Like Rock Music? makes a compelling case for the indie-fication of arena rock (or maybe the arena-fication of indie rock). The thumping percussion, jangling guitars, and chanting choirs could bring an audience to their feet for sure, but the ambient interludes and soothing vocals are better suited for lying down. Maybe an anthemic album for the apathetic is just what this “bright but haunted age” could use.

This Gift
Sons and Daughters

I’m tempted to videotape myself listening to This Gift just to prove to myself that I’ve heard the album in its entirety. No matter how many times I hear the third album by Glasgow’s Sons and Daughters, I can only manage to recall the three songs (“The Nest,” “Rebel With the Ghost,” “Chains”) that abandon the tired angular guitar-rock horseshit (popular a few years back) for garage-rock and doo-wop (popular since its invention). Other than that hat trick of semi-sweet ’60s goodness, my brain has apparently declined to register the rest of the album as it bounces from one earphone to the other.

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