CHANGES IN ATTITUDES DEERHOOF – “Mountain Moves”
THE GOOD: California indie rockers Deerhoof come back with a varied fourteenth.
THE BAD: Nope.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Written and recorded after our 2016 presidential election, “Mountain Moves” is another case of indie rock challenging the Right. When Deerhoof brings on its mix of bubble gum, noise rock and trashy funk though, any feelings of anger or frustration still sound merry and completely danceable. The record may begin in a dark place, but after 20 minutes, you get swept up in its sunny hopeful vibes.
Guest vocalists include Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner and Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier. The band even tackles a couple of cover tunes courtesy of Bob Marley and the Staple Singers (lead singer Satomi Matsuzaki’s joyful chirp throughout “Freedom Highway” will make your day).
So, politics or not, “Mountain Moves” is another Deerhoof triumph; a study in both simple melodies and wild unpredictability. And as the band approaches the 25-year mark, the unique sounds and fresh ideas remain abundant.
BUY IT?: Yep.
THE HORRORS – “V”
THE GOOD: British alt-rockers the Horrors continue to morph and progress on the band’s fifth.
THE BAD: Depends upon what you crave…
THE NITTY GRITTY: If you listened to 2007’s “Strange House” and then jumped straight to this new release, it would take some serious convincing to prove both were products of the same band. The two records hail from completely different planets.
What started as a noisy, trashy, goth-garage outfit has slowly developed into a more refined new wave act. Five albums over the past decade have seen the band exploring styles as disparate as punk, shoegaze, electro and 80s neo-romantic. Now on “V” (that’s “five”), the lads lock into multi-layered grooves and swirling psychedelic backdrops to bring forth melodic guitar/synth hybrids that can be classified as both experimental freak-outs and pop gems.
Combining mid-period Cure, prime Dandy Warhols and splashes of both the Stone Roses and New Order, “V” ends up another happy accident that leaves us clamoring for the band’s next unpredictable chapter.
BUY IT?: Surely.
WOLF ALICE – “Visions of a Life”
THE GOOD: British indie rock outfit Wolf Alice dodges the sophomore slump with a varied second.
THE BAD: “Visions” is so diverse, it practically lacks any cohesive direction. Go with it though, and enjoy the ride.
THE NITTY GRITTY: A few dire missteps aside (I can’t wholly embrace the juvenile stupidity spread across “Yuk Foo” or the prog-rock bombast dominating the title track), “Visions” is actually a decent alt-rock album that kind of doubles as a really cool mixtape.
Fronted by the always tough yet strangely charming Ellie Roswell, the band bounces from the dream pop of “Heavenward” to the cool funk carrying “Beautifully Unconventional” to the harmonious flirtations on “Don’t Delete the Kisses” effortlessly. They make the jagged transitions all sound so easy.
From there, it’s on to the Brit-pop stomp of “Space and Time” and the gentle coo that makes “After the Zero Hour” so damn irresistible. There are so many different flavors to savor. I suggest you get started.
BUY IT?: Surely.