Jul 18 - 24, 2013 

Sonic Reducer

Brooklyn’s Tim Howard has released six albums as Soltero—every one with a different lineup, and every one an indie-rock masterpiece. Best Hits, a new retrospective, pulls songs from all of them, including the early “Communist Love Song,” which deftly conflates love with Soviet communism and promises, “If you’re ever less than certain / I will be your Iron Curtain / I will be your Berlin Wall / and I will never fall”; 2003’s “Fight Song for True Love,” an amazed outpouring of love to a woman standing up to an entire police force; and “June,” from his latest, 1943, on which he finally finds some happiness—and you can hear him finding it on tape. Forgive my breathlessness, but this music excites me. Hear it for yourself at soltero.bandcamp.com. (Mike Smith)

Perhaps owing to my status as a lapsed Catholic, sounds coaxed from a church organ nearly always evoke a visceral response in me. Listening to Swedish chanteuse Anna von Hausswolff’s latest, Ceremony, was nothing short of a religious experience. Thirteen organ-driven tracks—ranging from two and a half to eight-plus minutes in length—make up von Hausswolff’s low register-lovin’, arpeggio-laden and eldritch vox-spiked Gothic wonderland. The instrumental prime mover is an organ situated in Annedal Church in Göteborg, Sweden, but electric guitar, organic percussion and handclaps are integral to maximizing Ceremony’s fervent pop sensibility. Standout tracks include “Mountains Crave,” “Liturgy of Light” and “Funeral For My Future Children.” And, yes, she sounds a bit like Kate Bush. (Samantha Anne Carrillo)

Soft Metals Lenses (Captured Tracks)

Angeleno synth duo Soft Metals first caught my attention with their cover of Throbbing Gristle’s “Hot on the Heels of Love” in 2011; that reenvisioning—packaged as a split 7-inch single alongside Jewels of the Nile’s reworking of Christian Death’s “Deathwish”—could have taken itself too seriously (read: pretentious) or not seriously enough (read: sacrilege). Soft Metals’ spare, uncompromising compositional style graces this release, but Lenses also finds Patricia Hall and Ian Hicks conjuring a dancefloor-ready eight-track treasure that will be in heavy rotation on this recovering goth’s stereo. Singles “In the Air” and “No Turning Back” and closer “Interobserver” may induce a particularly sharp craving for fishnet stockings and Cape Cods. See—and hear—for yourself when Captured Tracks unleashes Lenses on July 29. (Samantha Anne Carrillo)

 
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