Natalie Prass – Natalie Prass


Natalie Prass is a singer-songwriter based in Nashville, TN. I bet that made you think of what she sounds like, and odds are, you guessed wrong. Prass stands out remarkably among a crowded field of modern singer-songwriters by accompanying her songs with the most enormous arrangements I’ve heard from a folk-ish musician since Sufjan Stevens. All of the songs on Prass‘ self-titled debut are filled with gorgeous string sections, soft horns and delicate woodwind passages. The artist that comes to mind for me is the mid-period of Scott Walker’s career (Scott 1, 2, 3, 4) where the arrangements are massive, but only add to already great songs. Thankfully, like Walker, Prass knows how to write a song. The opener “My Baby Don’t Understand” has a gorgeous, addictive melody that weaves itself around some of the most interesting instrumental accompaniment I’ve heard in a while. Tracks like the previously mentioned 1st track and the following track “Bird of Prey” both refuse to adhere to the boring song structures many of Prass‘ peers rigidly follow. Her voice, which sounds almost tiny compared to the orchestral majesty of the songs, takes a little bit of getting used to, but can prove addictive and lovable like the songs it’s a part of.  -Andy Tabeling

Twerps – Range Anxiety


Twerps combines their reverb based riffs with lead singer Marty Frawley’s warm but slightly off key vocals to create a lo fi album full of breezy harmonies and playful guitar. Range Anxiety, their second full-length, can be energetic, but also sensitive. “Cheap Education” is upbeat, while “Empty Road” is sung as a monotone ballad of love. “Empty Road” is a perfect mix of Twerps’s slacker roots and their sunny guitar. Singing “I don’t mind if you stay, I don’t mind if you go,” Frawley’s ode to apathy is actually a well thought out song that utilizes the power of his guitar to form a chorus in itself. Range Anxiety is a cohesive album that combines the easygoing ambiance of Real Estate with the musical depth of Yo La Tengo.  -Camilla Grayson

You Blew It! – Pioneer of Nothing


You Blew It! have returned with the 7” Pioneer of Nothing after their sophomore album, Keep Doing What You’re Doing.  On these three songs, You Blew It! Offer more of the same, which is essentially a good thing.  Back in the summer they did an EP covering Weezer’s the blue album, honoring the geek rock gods that came before them.  On this EP, however their influences lean more to the nineties emo of Dismemberment Plan and American Football. Despite what Ian Cohen says, we’re in the midst of an emo revival, which  7” keeps it going strong with the opening two tracks offering textured and intricate guitars that soon give way to angst ridden pop-punk hooks.  On “Lanai”, You Blew It’s! vocalist is reminiscent of Travis Morrison. Slow burning, heavy and sad-emo is back and here to stay at least for a little while.  -Tom Jurgens