By Simon McCormack
Hypatia Lake And We Shall Call Him Joseph (Sad Robot)
Hypatia Lake's previous release was a concept album about the fictional town from which the band draws its name. ... And We Shall Call Him Joseph focuses on the experiences of a particular resident of the town, Joseph Bigsby, who ends up starting a riot in the town's candy store where he works. Expansive, engaging and richly textured, Joseph is a splendidly complex LP that is consistent without becoming predictable. Lance Watkins' vocals and the Mercury Pop-, M83- and even Pink Floyd-evoking melodies create an atmosphere that reeks of depressingly stagnant suburbia. The whole package is bizarrely alluring.
Pistolita Oliver Under the Moon (Montalban Hotel)
Recent high school grad and former commercial jingle composer Conor Meads heads up Pistolita, the first band to sign with Montalban Hotel Records. The album encompasses the genre of "piano rock," although the group incorporates other instruments to a much greater degree than fellow genre mates like Something Corporate. There's plenty of aggressive, driving guitar and post-high school angst on the group's debut but temper tantrums are kept to a minimum (at least in comparison to the genre's surplus of such outbursts). The record probably isn't strong enough to attract new listeners to the emo/piano rock scene but it should certainly delight fans of the genre.
The Foxymorons Hesitation Eyes (Heatstroke Records)
Thank heavens the Foxymorons are not completely averse to the electric guitar. Without it, Hesitation Eyes, the band's long-awaited third release since the Morons' inception in 1994, would be nothing more than a drone-burdened waste of an album. However, electricity comes to the rescue of songs like "This Heart of Mine" and "Bending Back," making the alt.country-, pop- and indie-styled LP a heavily Wilco-influenced minor triumph. David Dewese and Jerry James' greatly contrasting lead vocal work also helps keep Hesitation Eyes from generating more than a smattering of disinterest.
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Delphia Giovanna • singer-