The Bones of What You Believe

CHVRCHES (pronounced “churches”) have finally released their hotly anticipated album The Bones of What Your Believe after months of hype and a few quality singles and EPs. One of the most popular singles from this album “The Mother We Share” opens the record and effectively displays what CHVRCHES’ sound is all about: big synths and drums, combined with Lauren Mayberry’s dazzling voice. The songs on The Bones of What You Believe are usually simple pop songs with an extra pinch of heartbreak but their scope, quality production, instrumentation and song craft put them into a level all on their own. Like their recent tour-mates Depeche Mode, CHVRCHES have recorded a collection of songs that are smart, catchy and sound ready to fill arenas all around the world. This strong debut is just the start. – Andy Tabeling

Oneohtrix Point Never
R Plus Seven

This is Brooklyn drone/experimental artist Daniel Lopatin’s fifth album under the Oneohtrix Point Never moniker. It’s easy to see some denouncing this for sounding like radio static interspersed with a jumble of disjointed sounds while others see it as sheer genius. As challenging as it is commanding, R Plus Seven seems to suck all life from the room; whether it be with harshly minimal tracks like “Inside World” or the daring fractured glitch panic of “Zebra.” There is an array of sounds- from soundscapey haze to dizzying synths to “someone dabbling with the choral setting on keyboards in Guitar Center while they wait for their dad to finish shopping.” But this collision of elements sounds carefully orchestrated, an insanity that was obviously mulled over. It is an album that doesn’t care what you think of it, but its stark, noisy intensity pretty much guarantees that you will listen to it. Dazzlingly avant-garde, it evokes a perplexed and morbidly intrigued reaction. It’s not an overtly dark album but there is something sinister weaving its way through. – Brett Bennett

Bill Callahan
Dream River
Drag City

The singer-songwriter, more than any other genre of music, has the power to establish an immediate emotional connection with the audience. So, the most masterful of musical storytellers will not only elicit a certain feeling, but will make you experience emotions on the furthest edges of the spectrum and make them feel entirely familiar. Bill Callahan achieves this with a straightforward narrative delivery comparable to the likes of Paul Williams or Leonard Cohen. Every song is slow and deliberate, with every word holding weight and every note reinforcing it. Bill has come a long way from the lo-fi days of Smog, and he’s only grown in both musical expertise and worldliness. He experiments with various forms of instrumentation on Dream River: to western string sections (“The Sing”) to North African percussion and woodwinds (“Javelin Unlanding”, “Summer Painter”). Despite the wide range of styles, though, the album’s tone is entirely cohesive due to Bill Callahan’s unflinching baritone, which speaks volumes with the subtlest difference of line delivery. Dream River invites you to stare wistfully out a window, raindrops slowly creeping down the pane; the world outside is so big, and there’s so much to see, yet you’re content with staying where you are – listening to the stories of others, and living a life vicarious. – Lawson Chambers

Edited by: Nathan Kerce