Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Music In Brief

As one of the few folk-pop bands to sing songs about werewolves and driller-killers, Doleful Lions have a weirdo legacy to uphold, and Chicago-based singer-songwriter Jonathan Scott and his North Carolina correspondent/producer David Jackson keep the oddity level fairly high on Shaded Lodge And Mausoleum (Parasol). The album announces its intentions with the opener "Sham Magic In The Night Gallery," a lo-fi magical mystery tour that charts a Byrds-like flight path. This is a record for people who like light psychedelia with nods to B-movie culture. Bonus points to Doleful Lions for the pretty ballad "Watch The Skies/A Boy's Life," with a title that offers a sly bit of Steven Spielberg trivia…

Also weird: Head Of Femur, a post-emo supergroup whose album Hysterical Stars (SpinArt) is full of careening, cacophonous pop like "Easy Street," which is essentially just a couple of lines and a crazy carnival of instruments. The band seems more committed to throwing as many sounds as possible into every song than in sorting out which ones actually belong, but the madness does occasionally leads to tracks as miraculous as "Elliott Gould Is In California Split," which is both delightful and informative…

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Brooklyn wall-rattler Mobius Band packs sound tightly on its debut, The Loving Sounds Of Static (Ghostly International), which relies on heavy, danceable beats and loud, twangy guitars. It's a simple formula that works wonderfully on songs like "Radio Coup," which ropes a good rhythm and rides it, and the moody "Taxicab," which holds to a sparsely picked guitar, some electronic percussion, and an allusive description of the title object…

Chicago (via Austin) drone artist Palaxy Tracks shrugs off some of the frilliness of its previous records on Twelve Rooms (Peek-A-Boo), which sticks more to spare, quiet songs like the six-minute lullaby "Grey Snake." The mumble and hush of tracks like "Me & You & Him" makes the rare uptempo songs—like the electrifying "Legs On The Ladder" and the roaring "Dead Language"—stand out like hills in a Midwestern landscape…

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Neo-post-punk may be played out already, but there are still a few great songs yet to be heard from bands that think guitars should be angular. Get Him Eat Him's Geography Cones (Absolutely Kosher) offers two should-be classics: the frenzied, buzzing "One Word," and "Not Not Nervous," which begins with pillowy atmospherics and builds to a vocoder-aided chorus that owes as much to prog as to new wave…

Always one of the more personal bands on the indie-rock scene, The Jim Yoshii Pile-Up goes even further inward on Picks Us Apart (Absolutely Kosher), on which bandleader Paul Gonzenbach explores his recent bout with depression. It's a pretty kind of sad, typified by the opening song "A Toast To The Happy Couple," with its chugging rhythms, chiming guitars, pleading vocals, and overlay of art.

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