New Soundbites: Avi Buffalo, Maps & Atlases, The Acorn, Deerhunter, Tame Impala, Sleigh Bells, Trans Am

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The new Bob Dylan? The new Neil Young? Possibly, maybe.



Avi Buffalo: Avi BuffaloAlbum of the Week
Sub Pop
If you believe what you read, Avi Zahner-Isenberg is the new Bob Dylan. No pressure, then? The soundbite is convenient to say the least, as they’re both Jewish and write a helluva lyric, but how about if I up the ante and suggest there’s actually more Neil Young to this phenomenal new talent.
When Getintothis first watched Avi and his four-piece Buffalo roll into Minehead – to open this year’s Pavement-curated All Tomorrow’s Parties it was a staggering introduction.
Here was a precocious prodigy barely able to look at the small assembled crowd, let alone stammer a full sentence properly, yet when he turned it on, it was breathtaking – heartfelt heartbreakers and a closing hurricane of guitar-fuelled magic which, while not stylistically similar, certainly recalled the first time we had our mind blown by fellow ATP openers Battles.
After another phenomenal weekend, spoilt with music highs, there was but one record these ears couldn’t wait to hear – and the self-titled debut by Avi Buffalo didn’t disappoint.
What it did though, was reflect a suspicion that there’s so much more to come. The translation of beautiful, yet naive, lullabies – Jessica, What’s In It For?, and Truth Sets In to name but three perfect gems – was close to complete such is their simplistic beauty.
But it’s the absence of the fire – that ire which has lent comparisons to that other raging troubadour, Conor Oberst – which suggests there’s a special artist waiting just round the bend.
But make no mistake, that talent, however, is imbued across the board here – it’s just irresistibly exhilarating to think of what’s still to come – Five Little Sluts is a delicate, veiled thriller with a stinging sexual lyric while Can’t I Know is a whirling melody borrowed from Deerhunter‘s Bradford Coxs‘ handbook.
But it’s the closing two numbers which really rip it up. Where’s Your Dirty Mind? contains Avi’s best harmonic interplay with Rebecca Coleman – another feature of their live set – with a mellifluous lick which you’ll find impossible to shake while penultimate track Remember Last Time is simply one of the great rock songs of the last decade. Essentially a two part suite – the first a cute pop song with Coleman and Zahner-Isenberg engaged in a romantic dual of wills before confessing, ‘I’ve never written a love song – but I will for you.‘ The second a guitar freakout closing in a warm ocean of vocals and fuzzed out bliss. It’s a corking track on a corking debut – something both Dylan and Young would be equally as thrilled to put to tape.
8.5/10

Sleigh Bells: Treats
Columbia
Heavy and loud are two adjectives usually scoffed at by the purists when referring to pop but Sleigh Bells have produced a record heavier and louder than any dark warlord noise merchant these ears have heard in quite some time.
In fact it was Britney‘s Blackout which was brought to mind when this first slammed into our inner ear and despite last week’s mixed reception during Liverpool Music Week, there’s no escaping what a thrilling proposition they are on record.
The combination of Derek E. Miller‘s sledgehammer guitar crunching, Alexis Krauss‘ girlband vocal, nifty breaks and lop-sided beats result in a banger which goes off unrepentantly for the duration. It may not be on your stereo in a year’s time – but for now, it’s worth hammering.
7/10

Deerhunter: Halcyon Digest
4AD
Bradford Cox – up there with Yannis Foals – the perfect indie popstar for this generation – whatever it is.
A bubbling fireball of soundbites, new fashions and best of all a steady supply of the goods.
When Halycon Digest dropped at the backend of September it wasn’t so much of a shock – for this is merely a continuation of the band’s staggeringly healthy output; three albums (one of which a double), two EPs added to Cox’s solo output under Atlas Sound in under three years – but a delightful surprise.
Instant plays, though, were tinged with hesitancy – not so much that this new Digest was underwhelming or far from it unpalatable, but it certainly felt the most staid of the band’s releases. Much floaty dreamscapes and spidery guitars so often a feature, were all present and correct.
Yet repeated listens – perhaps the key to Cox’s rapid-fire output – reveal an undeniable depth wriggling beneath the surface.
Obvious winners, like the 60s pop delights of Memory Boy, Revival and Fountain Stairs, actually fade in comparison to immersive brilliance of Helicopter, the Bowie-tinged art-rock, sax-assisted Coronado and the woozy spiralling magnificence of closer He Would Have Laughed.
Then there’s the centre-piece of Desire Lines which harks back to their earlier material on Cryptograms with a driven guitar outro which feels like it could go on forever and you’d happily get lost in it.
Like mathmatical geniuses effortlessly unravelling a puzzle, Cox appears to have pulled another first-rate out conundrum straight from the heavens.
8/10

Tame Impala: Innerspeaker
Transgressive
It tells you everything about this Perth quartet that when they played a recent London gig Noel G, Serge Kasabian, Weller and a whole host of other retro revivalists were there to champion a new set of kids on the block.
But before you make off, take heed, Innerspeaker is 11 whopping slices of winning psyche – a kind of middle ground between The Beatles and 13th Floor Elevators – which if any of those featured above had been responsible for, you’d be sick of reading the term ‘return to form’. And Lord only knows what Britain’s music press would be doing if this lot were from Manchester.
Well, actually, it’s not hard to imagine. They’d be changing their pants.
7/10

The Acorn: No Ghost
Bella Union
It’s been a mixed year for one of Getintothis‘ favourite labels – Bella Union. For some bizarro reason we’ve not really been blown out of the water by any of their 2010 offerings – a first, but this is our favourite.
Similarly to previous outing Glory Hope Mountain, Ontario’s The Acorn have crafted a luscious, autumnal record, with standout Slippery When Wet exemplifying their ear for a dusty, world-weariness.
7/10

Trans Am: Thing
Thrill Jockey
Like Kraftwerk on mescaline, Trans Am are the Maryland beatdown badasses determined to drive you to the brink of insanity with their warped breaks while imploring you to dance like a jerk.
Thing‘s horrific horror soundtrack sludge sounds like a number of on it bands doing the rounds, yet these guys were somewhat pioneers of the post-rock noise-kraut template – the funny thing is some of it can’t help fall into cliche.
Yet, when they get it right, like on the droning echo of Arcadia – which recalls a funky DFA-induced workout which !!! or Shit Robot would be chuffed with, or the album’s killer track Naked Singularity – all John Carpenter metallic keys riffs and a mechanoid disco-beat – they play like the leaders of the pack. R-R-R-R-O-C-K!
7/10

Maps & Atlases: Perch Patchwork
Fat Cat
Missing Maps & Atlases early this year was a mistake. Thankfully, I have my bud Sean here to remind me regularly: ‘Best gig, I’ve seen in AGES bro,’ he chides…
He is want to exaggerate, although, Perch Patchwork, backs up his statement somewhat, as for the most part it’s frickin rad. Aptly-named it’s a patchwork quilt of ideas, most marrying deft, woody rhythms, lovingly-crafted woodwind parps, Dave Davison‘s slightly daft, yet endearing croak and the type of poppy-math fretwork Vampire Weekend would lose a limb for – all choppy, tropical sun-kissed delights.
That tropicalia comes to the fore in pop belters like Pigeon and Israeli Caves but there’s a wealth of ideas here ensuring you’re eager for another blast long after the dancing strings of the title track have faded.
Now I must away, I’m off to build a cardboard cut-out band, get slowly pissed and play this record in a darkened room in the misguided hope of erasing the memory of that missed opportunity.
7.5/10

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