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New Album Reviews:

Ty Segall: Manipulator
Buy! - (Drag City)
The latest album from this prolific now LA-based rocker is his cleanest, most polished recording, and it’s also his best, expertly blending elements of glam-rock, psych-rock, power pop, ‘60s garage-rock, ‘70s hard rock, grunge, punk and more into 17 knockout rock songs with fiery guitar work, occasional organ and strings, tight, muscular rhythms, pristine harmonies and stuffed with catchy song hooks. 8/15/2014 - Don Yates

Other Ty Segall album reviews:

Sleeper - 8/16/2013
Twins - 10/12/2012

J Mascis: Tied to a Star
Buy! - (Sub Pop)
The Dinosaur Jr. frontman follows up his 2011 solo album Several Shades of Why with another strong acoustic-oriented set featuring some gorgeous finger-picked acoustic guitar along with occasional fuzzy electric guitars accompanying his drawling vocals, wistful melodies and bittersweet lyrics. 8/15/2014 - Don Yates

Owl John: Owl John
Buy! - (Canvasback/Atlantic)
Owl John is the new project of the now LA-based Scott Hutchison, lead singer of Scottish band Frightened Rabbit. His debut album under that name is a more brooding and experimental take on his band’s anthemic folk-pop that combines a diversity of styles and textures with his plaintive vocals, stirring melodies and often self-deprecating lyrics. 8/15/2014 - Don Yates

Tomten: The Farewell Party
Buy! - (Versicolor)
This Seattle trio’s second album is an impressive set of gentle, psych-tinged baroque-pop that employs a variety of colorful instrumentation including guitars, piano, organ, analog synths, strings, horns and more to flesh out the band’s dreamy melodies and bittersweet lyrics. 8/15/2014 - Don Yates

Other Tomten album reviews:

Wednesday's Children - 12/2/2011

Buy! - (Secretly Canadian)
This Swedish duo’s third album is an often-entrancing blend of moody electro-pop, hip hop/R&B, orchestral pop and other styles, combining an ethereal, heavily atmospheric sound with soaring pop melodies and Elin Kastlander’s airy vocals. 8/15/2014 - Don Yates

Dilated Peoples: Directors of Photography
Buy! - (Rhymesayers)
This LA trio’s fifth album (and first in eight years) is a rock-solid return-to-form of underground hip hop. Produced by an all-star production team including DJ Premier, Jake One, Alchemist, 9th Wonder and Oh No, the album combines sample-heavy production, dark, old-school boom-bap beats, lots of turntable scratching and Rakaa and Evidence’s typically workmanlike rhymes. 8/15/2014 - Don Yates

Other Dilated Peoples album reviews:

The Platform - 5/15/2000

Justin Townes Earle: Single Mothers
Buy! - (Vagrant)
The 5th album from this New York-based artist is a strong set of well-crafted roots-rock steeped heavily in soul along with elements of rockabilly, country and more. With accompaniment by Centro-Matic’s rhythm section along with the guitar and pedal steel of Paul Niehaus (Calexico, ex-Lambchop), Single Mothers is often low-key, but packs a powerful emotional punch. 8/15/2014 - Don Yates

Other Justin Townes Earle album reviews:

Nothing's Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now - 3/2/2012
Harlem River Blues - 8/24/2010

FKA twigs: LP1
Buy! - (Young Turks)
This British artist’s debut full-length is a knockout set of futuristic R&B with a spacious, slow-burning sound combing glitchy electronic textures and eerie narcotic beats with her breathy vocals and intimate lyrics of longing and vulnerability. 8/6/2014 - Don Yates

The Pharmacy: Spells
Buy! - (Old Flame)
This Seattle band’s fifth album is a moody, well-crafted blend of psych-pop, folk-rock and garage-rock with a reverb-drenched sound featuring fuzzy psych guitars, atmospheric keyboards, hazy vocals, reflective lyrics and hypnotic melodies. 8/6/2014 - Don Yates

Other Pharmacy album reviews:

Stoned and Alone - 9/7/2012

Celebration: Albumin
Buy! - (Bella Union)
This Baltimore band’s fourth album is a more polished and dynamic take on their bewitching blend of arty post-punk, psych-rock and soul, combining fuzzy psych guitars and searing organ lines with Katrina Ford’s soaring, elastic vocals. 8/6/2014 - Don Yates

Other Celebration album reviews:

The Modern Tribe - 10/2/2007

Operators: EP1
Buy! - (self-released)
The debut EP from this new band led by Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade/Handsome Furs/Divine Fits) and also featuring drummer Divine Fits drummer Sam Brown and Macedonian keyboardist Devojka is a fine set of ‘80s-steeped electro-pop with bright analog synths, propulsive rhythms and catchy pop hooks. 8/6/2014 - Don Yates

Spoon: They Want My Soul
Buy! - (Loma Vista/Republic)
This veteran Austin band’s eighth album is a masterfully constructed set of rhythmic pop-rock with consistently strong, beautifully detailed songs combining jagged guitar lines, bright keyboards, taut rhythms, grainy vocals and enigmatic lyrics. 8/1/2014 - Don Yates

Other Spoon album reviews:

Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga - 6/19/2007
Gimme Fiction - 4/4/2005
Kill the Moonlight - 8/15/2002
Girls Can Tell - 2/15/2001
A Series Of Sneaks - 4/15/1998
Telephono - 5/15/1996

Benjamin Booker: Benjamin Booker
Buy! - (ATO)
This young New Orleans-via-Tampa Bay, FL artist’s debut full-length is a powerful blend of energetic garage rock and postpunk with gritty blues and soul, featuring a variety of visceral songs with explosive guitar riffs, rollicking organ and often-frenetic rhythms accompanying Booker’s raspy vocals and spiritually troubled lyrics. 8/1/2014 - Don Yates

Twin Peaks: Wild Onion
Buy! - (Grand Jury)
This young Chicago band follows up their promising 2013 debut album Sunken with another strong full-length blending raw garage-rock and sunny psych-pop with bouncy, hook-filled power pop. 8/1/2014 - Don Yates

Other Twin Peaks album reviews:

Sunken - 7/26/2013

The Rosebuds: Sand + Silence
Buy! - (Western Vinyl)
Now living on opposite coasts, Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp got together for their sixth album. Co-produced by Justin Vernon, BJ Burton and The Rosebuds, it’s a typically well-crafted set ranging from moody, soul-influenced songs to bright, jangly rockers. 8/1/2014 - Don Yates

Other Rosebuds album reviews:

Loud Planes Fly Low - 5/24/2011
Make Out - 10/15/2003

Spider Bags: Frozen Letter
Buy! - (Merge)
The fourth album from this Chapel Hill, NC band led by Dan McGee is another strong set of ramshackle garage-rock flavored with psych-rock, surf, folk-rock and more, with songs ranging from catchy anthemic rockers and edgy psych-rock jams to dark, moody ballads. 8/1/2014 - Don Yates

Other Spider Bags album reviews:

Shake My Head - 8/8/2012

Mirel Wagner: When The Cellar Children See The Light Of Day
Buy! - (Sub Pop)
This Ethiopian-Finnish artist’s second album is a stunning set of haunting, blues-tinged folk-pop, combining a stark, slow-burning sound with Wagner’s airy vocals and dark lyrics of death and desolation. 8/1/2014 - Don Yates

Allah-Las: Worship The Sun
Buy! - (Innovative Leisure)
This LA band’s second album is another well-crafted blend of ‘60s-steeped psych, surf, garage and folk-rock with jangly reverbed guitars and dreamy pop melodies. 8/1/2014 - Don Yates

Other Allah-Las album reviews:

Allah-Las - 8/17/2012

The Murder City Devils: The White Ghost Has Blood On Its Hands Again
Buy! - (self-released)
This Seattle band’s first studio album in 14 years is a visceral blend of menacing garage-rock and moody post-punk, combining a raw, gritty sound with Spencer Moody’s gravelly vocals and dark lyrics. 8/1/2014 - Don Yates

Other Murder City Devils album reviews:

Thelema - 8/15/2001

Shaprece: Molting EP
Buy! - (self-released)
This Seattle artist’s latest EP is a strong 6-song set of moody electro-R&B. Produced by Seattle’s IG88, the EP combines atmospheric synths and ambient textures, lush strings and laid-back electronic beats with her sultry vocals and intimate lyrics. 8/1/2014 - Don Yates