Beach Fossils
Clash the Truth
Captured Tracks

Determined to capture the energy of Beach Fossil’s live performances, Dustin Payseur eschews the bedroom-rock method for a real studio, with production duties helmed by Ben Greenberg. The result is Clash the Truth,  a departure from the Brooklyn lo-fi style that doesn’t depart from the Beach Fossils’ aesthetic with every moment brimming with the passion of their live show. To say this album sounds better than their earlier material would come across as too subjective but this album is undoubtedly more aurally spacious. Jangly guitars and active bass lines emerge from the haze and a strong flavor of punk-like aggression keeps the music far away from any shoegaze labels despite the immense reverb in which every lyric is immersed. The percussion here is undeniably a step up from the previous album, bringing a lot of energy and driving the music forward with enthusiasm, sticking true to the meter of each song. Beach Fossils set the bar high for the DIY-to-studio bands and they sound great doing it. – Eric Pansen

Veronica Falls
Waiting for Something to Happen

Veronica Falls seem poised to take over college radio with their second album, Waiting for Something to Happen, a set of thirteen impeccable pop tunes about idle youth with barely any clocking in above three minutes. There’s not really a better summary of what this record’s going for than lead single “Teenage” which packs a whole high school movie’s worth of nostalgia, frustration and bittersweet acceptance into that four-line guitar part in the chorus. What’s it sound like? Songs like “Everybody’s Changing” that see their stubborn narrators being dragged into adulthood might echo some of the themes in a Cloud Nothings album, but the confident studio production (booming percussion, three-part vocal harmonies) gives this an even more hippie-era feel: check out the wall of sound that hits you when you play one of these ditties at full volume. This is one of the most confident and enjoyable new voices in retro-pop, ready to be a real bummer (“Buried Alive”) but always lifting your chin up with a driving, toe-tapping melody. Until the record ends, that is. It’s a short one. – Brendan Boyle

Pissed Jeans
Sub Pop

Honey is Pissed Jeans’ fourth album and a refinement of their crushingly heavy, sometimes dirge-like sound.  The songs here are more compact but the band sounds massive, the fuzzed out bass and drums just envelope the album in a sludgy mess that is exhilarating when at full volume.  There are echoes of past groups such as The Melvins and other doom metal acts but the listener is spared the longer songs associated with that sound.  Matt Korvette’s vocals are distant and distorted, as if shouting from a megaphone. These songs are about sad and desperate characters, such as a man working a dead end job in an infinite loop and drinking at night to ease the pain and cry, another with a violent paranoia and suspicion towards doctors. – Richard Hunsinger