Producer Nicolas Jaar and guitarist Dave Harrington (otherwise known as DARKSIDE) have managed to generate much hype since their 2011 inception, releasing a noteworthy EP and even remixing Daft Punk’s album Random Access Memories. Their new LP, Psychic, not only builds upon their established industrial sonority—it transcends it. DARKSIDE once again utilizes minimalist percussion and bluesy guitar riffs, but also masters the art of using silence as an instrument—accenting every last nuance. As a result, their precise attention to detail enables them to bring together two juxtaposing genres to conceive an entirely new one, propelling ambient electronic music into uncharted territories. Psychic is intelligent, dark, modern—and certainly one of the most praiseworthy albums to be released this year.- Magnolia Triplett
True Panther Sounds
Cameron Mesirow, alias Glasser, strikes me as someone who could easily write straightforward pop songs but that wouldn’t be half as interesting as what she offers up on her sophomore LP, Interiors. Her style is incredibly difficult to describe – at times I was reminded of Madonna’s Ray of Light and moments later I’d think of Aphex Twin. The one word that consistently came to mind was “beautiful.” This album shimmers and shines while still taking very strange and interesting directions, often mid-song. The track names have a theme of architecture; if this album were a building, there’s no doubt it would be as surreal and shiny as the album cover. I hate to use such bizarre metaphors but you’ll understand if you listen to the record… it’s quite difficult to describe. – Dan C.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
The Speed of Things
With a name that somehow made the jump from late night “hah- that should be a band name” to actually being a band, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.’s second album delivers a dose of dreamy dancey indie pop. Showcasing wordy hooks that are actually quite Reptar-esque [especially on the track “Run”], their catchiness is more lyrical than banal. Fairly typical indie rock goodness here, with enough innovative electropop elements, spacey breaks and little vocal harmonies/falsettos to keep you listening to your favorite songs. Sometimes memorable and danceable, like the aptly named single, “If You Didn’t See Me [Then You Weren’t on the Dance Floor]” or dreamy and low-key on songs like “Beautiful Dream” to straight up catchy but acerbic on “Don’t Tell Me.” This Detroit duo managed to avoid the Sophomore slump and seems to be working on a solid catalog to accompany their novelty band name. – Brett Bennett
Edited By: Nathan Kerce