These reviews are written by our own music directors, enjoy:

Reviewer Name: Sara Sanchez
Review Date: 2012-10-19
Artist: Stars
Album: The North
Label: ATO Records
Review: Delivering their sixth studio album, this Canadian band is ready to capture or recapture your attention. Stars holds a very important place in my life; it was one of the first groups that induced me into the indie sound (whatever that means). The North proclaims its place as the mature album as they experiment with various sounds. Like their past albums, they are on the verge of reminiscing 80’s music with a modern twist. Heavy on the synths, the vocals of Torquil Campbell and Amy Milllan alternate through out the album. Even though it might not be their best album, it definitely does not disappoint. Recommended songs: “Through the Mines”, “The Theory of Relativity”, and “Hold on when you get Love…”

Reviewer Name: Sara Sanchez
Review Date: 2012-10-19
Artist: The xx
Album: Coexist
Label: Young Turks Records
Review: Approaching the margin of ambient music, the xx bring out once again a minimalistic sound in their second album, Coexist. This London trio (Oliver Smith, Romy Madley Croft, and Jamie xx) is back after their heavily acclaimed first album, xx. In this new album, lyrics are overshadowed by the distant but prominent bass, and the vocals of Oliver Smith and Romy Croft are a luxury. They deliver a rare combination of slow tempo with an upbeat feel. It definitely deserves a listen or two. One thing is clear: this band has potential. I’m already anticipating their next album, but in the meantime enjoying Coexist. Recommended tracks: “Tides”, “Reunion”, and “Sunset”

Reviewer Name: R. Forrest Dodson
Review Date: 2012-10-19
Artist: David Byrne & St. Vincent
Album: Love This Giant
Label: 4AD
Review: This album is a true collaboration of the two forces that are David Byrne and St. Vincent (Annie Clark). There are many well-blended aspects from both artists: funkadelic rhythms, sickening guitar licks, and the distinctive vocal prowess exhibited by each of them. Love This Giant is a sonic tsunami. It sings you into euphoric dreams at some points and then bombastically drops an assault on the ears at others. Every song is distinct and memorable. Be warned that you will have them stuck in your head for a long time. Byrne and Clark’s middle ground for the writing process is the heavy use of wind instruments – trombones, saxes, trumpets, and yes, the sousaphone. While this instrumentation is nothing new for either artist, the execution is much more grandiose and hip. The album is part musical, part marching band show, and part face-melting rock concert. The result is a sense of freedom that permeates the album and translates very well to the choreographed live performance. Love This Giant is music for music’s sake. There is this certain energy that Byrne and Clark shoot through every track that seems to permeate the compositions in animation. This is not necessarily a dance album, but it will get the body moving. Recommended Tracks: \"Weekend in the Dust\" \"Ice Age\" \"The Forest Awakes\"

Reviewer Name: Sara Sanchez
Review Date: 2012-01-24
Artist: Laura Gibson
Album: La Grande
Label: Barsuk
Review: In 2010 I was exposed to both of Laura Gibson's full-length albums: Beasts of Seasons (2009) and If You Come to Greet Me (2006). In those two albums, her fragile voice complemented the gentle folky melodies. Her new album doesn’t differ significantly from her previous works, but her increasing talent is evident. In La Grande, Gibson experiments much more with an array of instruments. Her songs are layered with percussion, viola, french horn, and clarinet (among other instruments). Her heavy folk and blues sound is still very much present but with added complexities that have totaled to a richer sound. Finally her distinct and unique vocals deliver messages of living and loving uninhibitedly through here well-crafted lyrics. This will be a great addition to your collection of albums for the serene winter evenings upon us. Highly recommend: “La Grande”, “Skin, Warming Skin”, “The Fire.”


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