REVIEW: The Kraken Quartet – “Separate | Migrate”

Conventional time signatures, beware the Kraken! Polyrhythms rule the roost on Separate | Migrate, the new record from Austin’s The Kraken Quartet, self-released by the band this Friday. On songs like “Ox,” that’s a real blessing – the way marimba or vibes jigger and jaunt through a crescendo of sound before landing on their feet…

REVIEW: R. Ring – “Ignite The Rest”

You can tell right from the get-go, from the very first shot right out of the gate, that this thing is going to be pretty damned good. Kicking off in fine form with the single “Cutter,” an infective blast of surging guitars and smoky vocals, Ignite The Rest, the full-length debut from Ohio supergroup R….

REVIEW: Dw. Dunphy – “Your Saturday Sins” 7-Inch

It begins, as Dw. Dunphy’s finest work does, with the voice and the voice alone, this one sweetly multi-tracked into an infinite background. “And when it’s all laid out and you wonder what it’s all about / And when it’s all played through you start to question what’s wrong with you / When the music…

REVIEW: Zu – “Jhator”

It’s hard to imagine that the group behind these two pensive, funereal epics, out now on House of Mythology, is the same one that released Cortar Todo, a kaleidoscopic mélange of thudding post-metal, just two years ago. But such is the case with Zu, which has been upending expectations and rewriting formulas for the better…

REVIEW: Those Who Walk Away – “The Infected Mass”

Talk about a great idea for a ambient recording – just not quite fully realized. Those Who Walk Away’s debut, The Infected Mass, available now on Constellation, is the product of Winnipeg-based composer Matthew Patton. On the record, Patton, who lost his brother in a plane crash, seeks to compose a high-art brand of minimalist…

REVIEW: Anjou – “Epithymia”

It’s tough to pin down and make any kind of broad-stroke judgments about Epithymia, the second LP by ambient power duo Anjou. I’m using the term “power” duo, of course, lightly – maybe even with a trace of sarcasm – as there’s very little thrust or vim and vigor to the new record, out a…

REVIEW: STNNNG – “Veterans of Pleasure”

STNNNG simply has outdone itself with Veterans of Pleasure, its fifth full-length record, out tomorrow on vinyl, CD and digital platforms via Modern Radio Records. The 11-song collection, the first from the veteran Minneapolis post-punk quintet since 2013’s Empire Inward, cuts and slashes at your ears with edgy pronouncements about sex, death and conspicuous consumption,…

REVIEW: High Plains – “Cinderland”

Soundscape master Scott Morgan (better known by his working name, Loscil) and the cellist Mark Bridges have birthed and produced, as the duo High Plains, a debut record of trembling, authentic majesty, and critics will be left puzzled with ways to describe the riveting tones and shuddering beauty of their collaboration. It’s just that good: Top 10 year-ending lists…

REVIEW: Various Artists – “I Said No Doctors!”

Ugh. Just ugh. What more can I say about the compilation I Said No Doctors!, which takes a good premise – what if we recorded an alt record with alt instruments? – and stumbles around before falling short of its goals. The group String Noise impressively echoes Crumb, Oval has his moments, Dan Deacon comes…

REVIEW: Crystal Fairy – S/T

Don’t get me wrong: I like Crystal Fairy’s self-titled debut, I really do. I just don’t love it as much as I think I should. The name on the spine says Crystal Fairy and there’s been lots of pomp & circumstance but the record, out last week, is less a document of a super-group in the making…

REVIEW: Papa M – “Highway Songs”

At first blush, Papa M’s Highway Songs LP is a mess or, at best perhaps, unbalanced. But first blushes, like a journalist’s first drafts of history, are frequently pockmarked with misconceptions and quotes demanding corrections. Many watched as Papa M’s sole member and primary muse, the Slint and Tortoise alum David Pajo, struggled with god…