#MusicMonday 83: Yo La Tengo, Pan, Milo Greene, Foxygen & more

What the CL Music Team is spinning this week (video included).


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Find out what the CL Music Team is jamming to rocket launch the work week. Click here to check out previous entries.

Evan - Yo La Tengo, Fade (2013)
The latest album by the Matador mainstays is just as easy on the ears as their 13 previous releases. Tracks like "Stupid Things" manage to be both fresh and timeless, and marked by the familiar indie pop trappings and feedback recognizable to those who've followed the Hoboken band since their 1984 formation. "Well You Better" almost sounds like a '80s synth-fueled lullaby — and just goes to show Yo La Tengo's sonic experimentation with different genres has not ceased. It's a great comfort that these indie forefathers are still around and still managing to be relevant.

Leilani - Gliss, Langsom Dans (2013); and Foxygen, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic (2013)
Langsom Dans is the latest LP by Danish-LA trio Gliss, is hazy, late-night synth-scaped dream pop that carries the pretty feminine sighs of frontwoman Victoria Cecilia. Their sound is vaguely reminiscent of Becoming X-era Sneaker Pimps (when they still had Kelli Dayton) along with those songs off the Twin Peaks soundtrack that feature vocals by frequent Lynchian collaborator, Julee Cruise - but more atmospheric than the former, and less less dark than the latter.

A buzzing indie act from LA, Foxygen is songwriting duo Sam France (vocals) and Jonathan Rado (guitar/keyboards) whose second full-length immediately caught my ear with its warm vintage aesthetic and obvious derivative influences - bright folk pop in the vein of The Kinks, modern psych tendencies ala MGMT and a bit of bluesy funky rock swagger that definitely tastes like the Stones. Video for my favorite track "Shuggie" after the jump along with the rest of this week's entries.

Ray - Pan, These Are Things I Love and I Want to Share Them With You (2012)
Far too often, instrumental rock bands get lumped in the "post-rock" category and South Carolina's Pan are a prime example. Yes, the Columbia-based five-piece craft sprawling ("God") echo-laden epics rife with soaring lead á la Explosions In The Sky or Fang Island, but most of the songs on TATTILAIWTSTWY are under five-minutes long (only the curiously upbeat "Leave Your Body" clocks in at over six-minutes). Whether this limit was deliberately self-imposed or not, the brevity of the cuts works wonders to make songs like the acoustic driven "The Things They Can't Take Away" instantly memorable and accessible to the average listener (audio below). Hell, the band even hits the mic on the joyous ode, "John From New York."

It's not that Pan have dumbed-down instrumental music, it's that they've decided against trying to find extra sounds and passages where they don't exist. Guitar lines play like verses ("Helen and Francis"), and the mountains of distorted guitars ("The Things They Can't Take Away") are as crushing as any pop chorus on the radio today. The band makes a strange, bottom of the bill appearance at New World Brewery on February 9.

Gabe - Adam Ant, Adam Ant Is the Blueblack Hussar in Marrying the Gunner's Daughter (2013)
Expectations and anticipation are high for Adam Ant’s first new album in 18 years. His loyal followers (myself included) have waited patiently as Adam took an extended break from the music biz and conquered and overcame some personal issues during his hiatus. On the heels of a successful worldwide tour comes Adam Ant Is the Blueblack Hussar in Marrying the Gunner's Daughter, Ant’s long-awaited comeback album. The results are, well, a mixed bag, really. The album clocks in at 70-plus minutes and consists of 17 tracks. Upon first listen, it's apparent the album would have fared better as a leaner, meaner, 40-minute release. There are plenty of quality selections here; “Vince Taylor” recalls the days of the early, rawer Adam and the Ants material. “Marrying the Gunner’s Daughter” rocks and features some blistering guitar work. The album seems to lose focus as it progresses, though. Too many similarly-paced songs around the mid-point of the album seem to plod along without much feeling or direction, and weigh the mood down a bit too much. Adam’s vocals are in fine form throughout and there’s plenty of welcomed experimentation and flirtations with electronic devices so, for ambition and creativity, the album is a success. The disc picks up steam and momentum as it draws to a close with standout numbers “How Can I Say I Miss You?” and “Bulls**t,” which help to restore faith in Blueblack Hussar and make Ant’s return an overall welcome affair.

Julie - Milo Greene, Milo Greene (2012)
Los Angeles quintet Milo Greene is one of the bands that got away from me last year. They've been compared to Local Natives, but Tampa Bay live music buffs might liken them to Sleepy Vikings, too. Milo Greene's shimmering melodies, co-ed vocals — lead singer/multi-instrumentalist Marlana Sheetz makes great use of her harmonious bandmates — and relatable lyrics about the tricky dynamics of love are both haunting and immediate. Overall pretty indie pop with punch that stands out in today's mire of instantly accessible mp3s.

Shanna - Alt-J, An Awesome Wave (2012)
I'm told that some of their lyrics are a tad on the dark side (like, the really dark side), but screw it, I'm not paying that close attention to the words. I'm too busy doing the robot dance around my apartment while these beats drop on a constant loop. My neighbor downstairs must hate me. This may just be one of my favorite albums from 2012 even though it took me until 2013 to discover it. Listen and read more here, and check out the video for "Something Good" below.

Deborah - Boombox, Downriverelectric (2010)
Funky, jammy, disco-dancey electronic pop with laid-back vocals; what's not to love? Add a ton of elements that continually remind me of Phoenix (especially the aforementioned vocals which, at times, are a dead ringer for Thomas Mars), and this album's guaranteed to be a new favorite.


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