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Editor’s note: Hey guys, as a new initiative for 2013 we are going to start featuring certain album reviews on our website a few times a week. Our music staff has been writing album reviews to help our DJs to decide what to play for years now but we have a lot of talented writers on staff whose work we thought deserved more recognition outside of the booth. So without further ado, welcome to our first “FEATURED ALBUMS” post of 2013. – Nathan Kerce

Christopher Owens
Lysandre

Fat Possum

True to form, Christopher Owens shares his personal experiences and deep anxieties on his debut solo album, Lysandre. The album has a narrative structure with many songs referencing Owens’ touring with Girls, his first band. On Lysandre he fully immerses himself in the role of singer-songwriter, crooning over music that walks a line between indie-folk, country, and Renaissance chamber music. These sounds certainly won’t be unfamiliar to fans of Girls but it’s clear that Owens had more control over the production here. There’s no shortage of saxophone solos or flute harmonies and after every few songs comes a variation of the motif featured in the opening and closing themes. The album’s biggest asset is Owens’ songwriting itself which shines particularly brightly on “A Broken Heart” and “Part of Me (Lysandre’s Epilogue)”. The emotions expressed here lyrically include the childish excitement of touring for the first time, intense self-doubt and downright heartbreak; this is a lot to pull off on an album that runs only 29 minutes. Despite such mood swings, everything fits into a unifying whole and that’s why Lysandre is best experienced in one sitting. -Zack Hunter

FIDLAR
FIDLAR
MOM + POP

On the surface it seems L.A. band FIDLAR (see: Fuck It Dog, Life’s A Risk) are making nothing more than noisy garage punk to listen to while they skate. While this is certainly true of their self titled LP’s instrumentation, frontman Zac Carper presents 14 vignettes with a range of lyrical topics (from drinking cheap beer to battling drug addiction) that would normally be too heavy for music this fun and enjoyable. FIDLAR show now shame in wearing their influences on their sleeves, it’s easy to pick out the Dead Kennedys in the riffs, Descendents and blink-182 in the melodies and Jay Reatard in the album’s tone and spirit. FIDLAR’s self-titled is a triumph because it perfectly achieves what it sets out to do. We all have a need to understand the dark undercurrents that permeate our lives when we least want them to. What better way to probe these issues than by making them fun as hell? – Michael Buice

Foxygen
We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic

Jagjaguwar

This Los Angeles duo’s second full-length album is an utterly charming romp through music history. It draws most of its influence from the ’60s and early ’70s evoking the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan with a touch of early Bowie and the Jackson Five. With their throwback style, they manage to stand out from the current music scene with their fusion of current and past influences ensuring they don’t sound like ’60s copycats either.  You can tell from their goofy name and long-winded album title these guys are just out to have a good time and they certainly succeed; their crazy jumble of sounds and influences works in a way it honestly shouldn’t. Their songs are peppered with so many unique breaks and interludes you can hardly believe it’s the same song in the middle as it was at the beginning. With songs that go from sickly sweet twee to cheeky Monkees psychedelia to breaks that sound like soulful ’70s radio hits, it’s a true adventure, sloppily and haphazardly grabbing influences from everywhere to create a sound that’s fresh and unique. Perhaps their self-proclaimed title as the “21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic” is less tongue-in-cheek than we think. Rarely do we get an album so bold and memorable, with every last moment both perfect and perplexing. It’s the most cutting-edge nostalgia you’ll ever encounter. – Brett Bennett

Reviews curated & edited by: Nathan Kerce

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