Ten New Messages
The Rakes deliver more Brit post-punk with droll, Strokesy vocals on their sophomore album. The songs are memorable and wry, and, on occasion, effortlessly brilliant. There’s a bit of filler here, but just as the album begins to tail off, on comes ‘When Tom Cruise Cries’, a weary tale of post-modern angst (‘It reminds me of what that French guy said/From news to movies, all the crap we’re fed.’) and terror-era urban paranoia.
With a name borrowed from DNA, and having worked with members of Sonic Youth and Fugazi, Blonde Redhead have indie cred to burn. Their new album sees them continue in their ethereal ways, and deserves wider attention than their previous work, for being more grounded and more accessible. The band demonstrates total control of vocal and instrumental texture, as well as more conventional song structures. Enigmatic and excellent.
Turn the Lights Out
Chicago’s The Ponys have recorded an album so steeped in the best American indie rock traditions, and so immediately familiar sounding, that it takes a while to realise just how good it is. Most of the album features spare, echo heavy two-guitar productions, reminiscent of The Walkmen. ‘Maybe I’ll Try’ combines a Stereolab-esque pulsing organ with a Jeffrey Lee Pierce-style yelp. And on the gentler numbers, the singer sounds pleasingly like Thurston Moore.