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 V.22 No.12 | March 21 - 27, 2013 

Sonic Reducer

Kopecky Family Band Kids Raising Kids (ATO Records)

If derivative indie pop-rock is your forte, then Kopecky Family Band is for you. Mixing lush instrumentals with melodic vibrancy, the band uses horns, strings and prominent percussion to convey their sound. While that may seem fine and dandy, calling this band original is a bit of a stretch, but what makes them listenable is the joy they display, which is apparent on tracks like “My Way” and “Hope.” It's on songs like these where they exhibit their familial chemistry. Taking their obvious appreciation for neo-pop-folk bands like The Lumineers, they expand on it by adding a full-band and, at times, arena sound to their songs. Innovative may not be their tagline, but what's wrong with a little mellifluous banter? (Mark Lopez)

David Bowie The Next Day (ISO Records)

“We can be heroes just for one day.” But what about tomorrow? The next day is familiar territory for David Bowie. Aficionados and cynics could each argue that the (not-so-Thin) White Duke's first new album in a decade cannibalizes his past—repurposing Heroes' cover with the title crossed out and a white square obscuring Bowie. How do you solve a problem like Bowie—particularly when you are Bowie and your career is equal parts innovation, reinvention and appropriation? You face it (obliterated) head-on and make your best record in ages. “Dirty Boys” echoes “The Gospel According to Tony Day,” and “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” is hilarious and—like Bowie—skirts the line between fruitful and masturbatory. “Where Are We Now?” is less diva nostalgia and more rightfully earned senior satisfaction. (M. Brianna Stallings)

Youth Lagoon Wondrous Bughouse (Fat Possum)

Twenty-three-year-old Trevor Powers is Daniel Johnston with fangs, Deerhunter sans mythology and Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne without a bubble suit to protect crowds from his naked emotions. Powers' latest is more existential, psychedelic and cyclical than cheery-doom bedroom release The Year of Hibernation. It's most obvious on “Attic Doctor,” an echoing carousel jingle with the über-creepy line: “I don't mean any harm, you can trust me like you can trust your own brother. ... maybe even better.” Other standouts? “Dropla” is the perfect transition into “Sleep Paralysis”—the most Johnston-esque song save “Pelican Man”—and “Sleep Paralysis” could easily swoop back around to opener “Through Mind and Back.” Curl up with headphones and Wondrous Bughouse and trip down Catharsis Lane. (M. Brianna Stallings)

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