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 V.20 No.49 | December 8 - 14, 2011 

Sonic Reducer

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Proving that bands often rock harder and with more success when some of the musicians are still novices on their instruments, Wounded Lion offers rudimentary, righteously sloppy masterpieces on this, its second, album. Do you like Flipper? The singer's got Will Shatter in his veins, the bass is an overdriven rumble and the feedback is like a lullaby. Slip It In-era Black Flag turn you on? The rhythm section here is channeling Kira Roessler and Bill Stevenson. Yet none of IVXLCDM is derivative. Worth buying for the anthemic "Roman Values" or the sludgy pop of "I'm Sad" alone. (Geoff Plant)

I like sugar cookies, Scrooged, and gift cards to J.Crew, but not Christmas music or the two months of the year when every speaker in the world rings with syrupy schmaltz. Clearly however, a large percentage of the American population finds it worthy of propagating in the sound space. So if you’re one of these incomprehensible people, this loungey, twangy, minimalist recording of Christmas classics from She & Him—kitschy cutie pie Zooey Deschanel and folky hipster M. Ward—may roast your chestnuts. Available on cherry-red vinyl. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)

Bleached, ex-Mika Miko, is blonde Los Angeles sister guitarist duo Jessica and Jennifer Clavin backed by a drummer and bassist. The art for this limited-edition 7-inch is what caught my eye—grainy, monochromatic images are promising, as they often yield fuzzy lo-fi or some other form of bona fide rock and roll (the old granularity/distortion corollary). These two songs are simple, raw punk numbers, the A-side having bubblegum qualities while the B-side is darker business with a righteous whistling part. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)


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