I'll give any art form a chance—and in the case of norteño, several chances. It's as pervasive as cactus and cowboy boots in the Southwest, but for the guera life of me, I haven't been able to embrace the accordion-driven genre until now. Seems like all I needed was for it not to be norteño, but more norteño-tinged pop-punk with the accordion subdued behind ripping guitars. Thank San Antonio, Texas-based Piñata Protest, and their latest album, El Valiente, for the turnaround. Nine infectious tunes celebrate a musical upbringing that's equal parts The Clash and Tex-Mex. “Life On The Border” and “Tomorrow, Today” are great rallying sing-alongs. “Guadalupe” is an Offspring-esque slow jam. And “La Cucaracha”? A frantically fast cover of that classic corrido. (M. Brianna Stallings)
Summing up Bass Drum of Death's new album in three words is easy: real good time. This garage-punk contemporary unleashes some mighty riffs and sometimes undiscernible lyrics to delightful effect. Whether he's jamming out for almost a whole track or cooing toward the thrash-inclined, this record is a nice sonic signal of the heat of summer’s arrival. Album opener “I Wanna Be Forgotten” and its first single, “Shattered Me,” give the album a punk-tastic overture, while songs like “Such a Bore” and “Faces of the Wind” provide a psychedelic twinge that rounds out the work’s influences in an inspired fashion. The band name may incite a smidge of trepidation, but once you hit play, it's nothing but garage goodness. (Mark Lopez)
Little Children's new EP, “Falling,” is an aural breath of fresh air. This Swedish import is bringing some sprightly stuff to the musical frontier, and there’s no surprise there. Think Red House Painters-meets-Beach House. I hate comparisons, too, but in this instance, it's a valid means of description. The EP—clocking in at about 20 minutes, with four tracks—is a mellifluous little piece of work. LC’s Linus Lutti delivers work that’s mesmerizing, sweet and jam-packed with elaborate arrangement. Personal favorite “Distant Shouts” electrifies the air with a haunting chill, and it precedes the more pop-styled “On and On.” And you wonder why acoustic indie-pop ain't dead. (Mark Lopez)
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