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 V.20 No.46 | November 17 - 23, 2011 

Sonic Reducer

Mazzy Star "Common Burn / Lay Myself Down" (Rhymes Of An Hour Records)

Ethereal pop duo Mazzy Star hasn’t recorded since 1996’s Among My Swan, and fans are abuzz about an as-yet-unnamed full-length (and tour) due in 2012. Stylistically, Hope Sandoval and David Roback’s new double single is nothing new. That’s a wise move. “Common Burn” takes up where Swan left off, while the major chord strums and lilting slide of “Lay Myself Down” harkens back to 1990 minus the paisley mystique. This pair of songs, as comfortable as an old and cherished sweater, is a familiar fit that will warm old devotees as well as lure new ones. (Captain America)


The Soft Moon "Total Decay" (Captured Tracks)

This album sounds like certain doom, but in a cartoonish, smiling jack-o’-lantern, paper devil, Masters of the Universe sort of way. And that is meant to be a glowing compliment. I bet if you play this EP with episodes of “He-Man” on silent, it’ll even synch up. The buzzing, droning, Krauty darkwave from Bay Area trio The Soft Moon is some of the best music I’ve heard all year. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)

Jens Lekman "An Argument With Myself" (Secretly Canadian)

The “An Argument With Myself” EP is Jens Lekman at his most annoying. You almost wouldn’t have to do anything to this album in order to turn it into Muzak. I don’t know how it’s even possible, but it sounds overproduced and underproduced at the same time, with a bunch of twinkling percussion, cheap synth and trilling horn sounds. There’s also a song that gives a play-by-play account of trying to track down Kirsten Dunst when she was in Lekman’s hometown of Gothenburg, Sweden, working on a Lars von Trier film. Yuck. I miss songs like “Black Cab” and “A Sweet Summer’s Night on Hammer Hill.” (Jessica Cassyle Carr)


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