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Darkstar-News-From-Nowhere-WARP225

Artist: Darkstar
Album: News From Nowhere
Label: Warp Records
FCC: Clean
Darkstar-News-From-Nowhere-WARP225After touring the world in support for their critically acclaimed North LP, Darkstar
returns with an even stronger performance on their sophomore album News
From Nowhere. James Buttery’s lyrics come alive with an ethereal feel that would
make Jamie xx jealous and an orchestral sound that gives Kanye a run for his
money. The album builds quietly but consistently and by the time you hit the
third track, Armonica, you are lost in their world of processed vocals and glitchy
textures. The album climaxes on Amplified Ease, which could be mistaken for
an Animal Collective song with the repeated lyrics and drum loop echoing in
the background. Overlayed on top of that however are exotic whirs and hums,
rhythms and keyboard washes that rise and swell until it all flows into silence.
The influences of Bowie, Eno and Phil Oakley are all heard on this album as
James Young and Aiden Whalley, integrate these pioneers into their hi-fi, post-
garage masterpiece. With an album that can only be described as the love child
between Thom Yorke and Wes Anderson, let’s hope this group continues to

Darkstar
News From Nowhere
Warp Records

After touring the world in support for their critically acclaimed North LP, Darkstar returns with an even stronger performance on their sophomore album News From Nowhere. James Buttery’s lyrics come alive with an ethereal feel that would make Jamie xx jealous and an orchestral sound that gives Kanye a run for his money. The album builds quietly but consistently and by the time you hit the third track, Armonica, you are lost in their world of processed vocals and glitchy textures. The album climaxes on Amplified Ease, which could be mistaken for an Animal Collective song with the repetitive lyrics and drum loop echoing in
the background. Overlayed on top of that however are exotic whirs and hums, rhythms and keyboard washes that rise and swell until it all flows into silence. The influences of Bowie, Eno and Phil Oakley are all heard on this album as James Young and Aiden Whalley, integrate these pioneers into their hi-fi, post-garage masterpiece. With an album that can only be described as the love child between Thom Yorke and Wes Anderson, let’s hope this group continues to redefine the synth-pop scene. -Alex Cole

Sin Fang
Flowers
Morr Music

Flowers is the fifth full-length release since 2007 from Sindri Már Sigfússon, the prolific Icelandic singer-songwriter behind Seabear and Sin Fang, formerly Sin Fang Bous. Sin Fang offers many of the same cultural touchstones made familiar by fellow Icelanders like Sigur Rós and Björk, including electronic rhythms, ethereal and acrobatic falsetto vocals, and a panoply of orchestral string, brass, and woodwind instruments, but with more immediate and accessible pop sensibilities that more closely resemble the arena aspirations of Mew, Fanfarlo, and Of Monsters and Men. The instrumentation is dense but meticulous and repeated listens bring previously hidden ornamentations into focus but the hook-filled tunes are so bombastic and instantly catchy that multiple listens won’t be a chore. Album opener “Young Boys” is an absolute earworm that will be stuck in your head before the runtime even reaches one minute, and the Sufjanian “Look At the Light,” a piano, violin, and French horn laden ballad, is as charming a song as you’ll hear all year. Flowers was produced by Jónsi producer, collaborator, and boyfriend Alex Somers. – Gerald Burris

Guards
In Guards We Trust
Black Bell Records

Guards released their first full-length album, In Guards We Trust, on February 5th of this year. The anticipated album was preceded by their self-titled EP released back in 2010, which did not go unnoticed by the music community. As relatively new-comers to the indie-rock scene, Guards ambient tunes are refreshingly upbeat and chock-full of pleasant repetitive choruses. Though most cuts of the album have a scant number of lyrics, listening to the breathy voices of Richie Folin and Kaylie Church makes for easy listening. Folin is actually brother of Cults front-woman Madeline, and the influence is obvious, especially on tracks “Nightmare,” “Ready To Go,” and “I Know It’s You.” The pace slows down with “Your Man” and Kaylie’s voice coupled with the twang of the guitar is hypnotizing. This is definitely a band to look out for in the future. – Emma Cramer

Shugo Tokumaru

In Focus?
Polyvinyl

My introduction to Shugo Tokumaru, Japanese multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire was this; “He’s basically Japanese Sufjan Stevens.” this is a fair comparison in some ways, as Tokumaru utilizes instrumentally dense arrangements (average of 20 instruments per song!) that rival Stevens’ at his most bombastic. However, while Stevens is prone to moments of solemnity, all seems sunny and bright in Shugo’s world. A whirpool of acoustic guitars, keys, bass, various percussive items and more join in a chorus of cheerful pop exuberance. Across 15 tracks filled with Buddy Holly-esque subtle experiments, laid back folk charm and pure joyous bursts, Tokumaru weaves his whimsical music. give his happy pills a try. You may just dance a little. – Eric Pansen

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