DEATH – For The Whole World To See… 4.5 / 5 Drag City
(Detroit's own lost gem of garage/punk and pop). This is the biggest EP you'll listen to all year – just ultra, humongous…flavored with both Townshend's windmill guitar theatrics and Iggy Pop's windmill-stage-dance-destructions – it struts out with a distinctly smoky 70's punk-n-grit hey-day sound, back to that beautiful and mystifying era of the trailblazing monstrosity of Stooges-sounding pre-punk dashed with tighter (and unbelievable) rhythms—herking, jerking, MC5 or Alice Cooper-like spectacles of roundhouse-kicks to the head. Born and raised in Detroit, brothers David, Bobby and Dannis Hackney formed Death in their parent's garage, 1971. This, (along with an ultra-cult-y, hard-to-find single) is there only known recording! For those of us drunk on Detroit's garage legend, this EP reveals the pages that got stuck together, the record that got lost under the dusty receiver. An epiphany – coming out sounding as good as their fellow legendary players named above with whom the recordings here find an equal – they were as DIY as you could be, then and now, both selling and giving away recordings on the streets. What hits you most is the tightness, the kind where the bass and drums lock into a beat so powerful with a perfect balance between noise shred and sweet-toned melody that you can't help but go out of your head to this music.
The Acorn – Glory Hope Mountain 3.5 / 5 paper bag
Oh, sweet, rustic campfire escapism – dreamy moonlit foliage rolling by a steadily fogging passenger-side window with the glistening lake just over the next hill – The Acorn's Glory Hope Mountain is satisfactory transporting music that's adroitly structured in often measured delivery for full snuggle-up-and-sniff-the-tea, earthy/lovelorn balladry. My quick and dirty punch, to you shelf-readers out there, would be take the rousing rhythms and swooning vocal talents of My Morning Jacket (or even newly-Starbucks-loiterers Fleet Foxes) with the resolutely nature-themed crackling neo-folk/tribal-pop of the Bowerbirds. An array of guitars, electric, acoustic, banjo, intertwine, often all at once, with warm pianos and eclectic percussion, and syrupy sunset vocals to boot.
Little Joy – Little Joy 3.5 / 5 rough trade
"Keep Me In Mind"
Tropicalia and Brazilian pop meets reverie both for NY-punk and classic rock n roll, which ends up ringing as very heartfelt, seeming to soundtrack dreamy eyed city-street star-crossed wanderers finding their way toward that significant other in the swooning rounds of this disco-ball-spinning gymnasium of a world we're slow-dancing through…Brazilian singer/songwriter Rodrigo Amarante joins Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti on a quick and modest record that aims for theatrical romanticism of both Caetano Veloso and Jonathan Richman – but gets confused with indie-punk-revivalist blandness at times. A few select tracks will be dynamite for some of your mixes! Here's to summer love (in winter.)