Buzzmutt – Static in the Mind’s Eye Chpt. 1Self-released, online2.5 / 5-out now Put four self-described indie noise-rockers hailing from San Fran in a room and what do you get? Hopefully not something like Buzzmutt’s Static in the Mind’s Eye, a dozen way underground tracks that aren’t afraid to mimic any sonic sources, including an plane’s extended flight (“The Trickster”). These tracks are angular and, yes, “indie”; so don’t expect an easy way into them, or out of them, or around them even. Our issue with this release is the material’s shade of pretense: these tracks are fairly basic, and it doesn’t take much toRead More →

Big Science – DifficultySelf-released, online-out now3 / 5 The difficulty with albums ones like Chicago transplants Big Science is that they’re not bad: it’s a fair selection of classic-80s-inspired alt rock that the quartet has assembled here. But we’ve got to make the distinction to you guys (and/or gals) so it’s gotta come down to whether you should purchase a release or not, and ultimately we’re going to pass on this otherwise decent album. What is it lacking? We’re not entirely sure; the song construction works on their confidently-paced “Loose Change Century” and the anthemic “Blind Our Eyes.” When we hit “Headlight Song,” the crewRead More →

Bury Me a Lion – Year of the LionSelf-released, online– out now4 / 5 From out of nowhere comes this leaping lion at us from New York City, a quartet’s worth of slightly punked modern rockers. Go ahead, spin up that opener; if “Be Your Own Bomb” doesn’t swagger like a Mick Jagger then maybe you’re hearing wrong – these guys are the real deal, and they sway with as much confidence as any sum of Strokes has. Actually, that’s probably our best approximation to the Lion’s sound: a Strokes kind of drive with a more enthused singer (and he’s really solid to boot). OurRead More →

Michael Kiwanuka – Home AgainInterscope Records-out now3 / 5 The heartfelt Brit has been making quite a splash on the other side of the pond there; his debut full-length has garnered comparisons to soul icons including Bill Withers and vintage vinyl sound. Sonically, these comparisons are fairly accurate: take a warm voice and soft guitar, and maybe you get one of James Talyor’s contemporaries. Maybe. But as much as we like the opener, Taylor’s session-man Kiwanuka is not – if you get that particular grammar. The title track is a fairly run-of-the-mill “gotta be movin’ on” kinda thing, and if you peruse the other titlesRead More →