Night Sins struck a serious, un-ironic pose for a press photo at the King of Pop’s memorial in Gary, Ind. The threesome's debut album is a melodic outing with plenty of high points and only a couple of lows. Post-punk lures minimal wave to slow dance in a dilapidated school gym. Gothic sensibilities and neo-folk gossip and whisper from the bleachers. The result is catchy and deep. Pulsing, writhing bass lines never transgress into overly saccharine or derivative territory. Jam “Playing Dead” and “The Eternal Giver” while giving yourself a black-as-pitch manicure.
Brooklyn no wave / noise-pop duo Talk Normal is not named after that Laurie Anderson song. On this second album, Andrya Ambro and Sarah Register greedily and masterfully incorporate influences ranging from Big Freedia to Wire. The title track, “XO,” and percussion and drone-based closer “Hurricane” are particularly divine. This album doesn’t have the same anthemic potential as its predecessor, but it’s an interesting outing. If you fell in love with Ambro’s aggressive drumming on “In a Strangeland” or Register’s crush-worthy atonal vocals on “Grinnin’ in Your Face,” prepare for the only constant: change.
Meghan Remy is everything I want in an alt.pop star. She has a tough, gorgeous and tender voice. Boss oddball Slim Twig is producing her work now, and the experimental vocal manipulation is the true fixative on this third full-length. The undisputed jewel of Gem is a cover of Danava’s take on “Jack,” a Brock Robinson song that chronicles a through-the-eyes-of-Jack-the-Ripper dream; U.S. Girls’ revisioning transforms terrifying lyrics into a sinister glam-rock lullaby. Reverberating collage “Curves” is short but intriguing. Piano melody and Remy’s stunning voice jockey for position on standout closer “North on 45.”