No World

If The Backstreet Boys had matured, they might have hoped to sound like this. Bring the smooth rhythms of vintage 80s R&B to the 21st century and soak them in layers of warm space and you’ll get what brothers Andrew and Daniel Aged have created with their debut full length. A sharp, percussive mix of digital and analog drums punctuates gentle melodies laid out on guitar and keys. No track ever reaches a tempo above a slow simmer, but the breathy, intimate vocals and subtle grooves laced through each track just might set your heart racing a little. The two brothers sing in chorus with themselves and each other, their multi-tracked vocals blended and synthesized into the background instruments but preserved clearly. They dwell lyrically on emotional turbulence and dark sexuality, at once adolescent and matured. It’s difficult to avoid using words like sultry to describe the brothers’ atmospheric and sinuous set, but they wouldn’t be out of place as the soundtrack to lovemaking on a quiet evening. – Eric Pansen

Mount Moriah
Miracle Temple

North Carolina’s Mount Moriah ups the ante for their second album, tightening and strengthening their songwriting and arrangements. Despite bearing no close relation to the identically surnamed famous country singer, Heather McEntire sings with such a powerful, country-flavored voice that you’re forgiven for a double take. With gothic swagger borne of her time in post-punkers Bellafea, she delivers a dynamic and enchanting performance throughout the album. A flavor of her post-punk adventurousness remains alive here, especially lyrically, while the strong influences of southern music such as traditional country and gospel yield a band of a completely different color. Organs and steel guitars mingle with Jenks Miller’s clean, raw-edged guitar while a deft rhythm section keeps each mid-paced track moving. Their rough and ready yet graceful sound is excellently arranged with every instrument complimenting the others and never competing for space. The classic and contemporary meet with a great soul. – Eric Pansen

Review curated & edited by: Nathan Kerce