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 V.22 No.31 | August 1 - 7, 2013 

Sonic Reducer

True Widow Circumambulation (Relapse)

Courtney Love once observed that, while Led Zeppelin’s songs were full of “bad elfin Dungeons & Dragons lyrics,” the music was “great, like Beethoven rock.” It’s true; though not impossible, few people listen to metal for its lyrical genius. Within Circumambulation, the latest album from Dallas stonegaze trio (stoner metal/shoegaze) True Widow, language feels secondary to muddy riffs. It opens with “Creeper,” a kind of sonic chiaroscuro: bass-heavy, quiet-loud and minor key. Singing duties are shared by bassist Nicole Estill and guitarist Dan Phillips. Solo, Estill sounds like Sheryl Crow. When the two harmonize, there are echoes of X’s John Doe and Exene Cervenka. Nevertheless, overuse of musical motifs makes these tracks sound uniform; see the sing-songy “HW:R.” (M. Brianna Stallings)

Estamos Trio People's Historia (Relative Pitch)

I’m not typically a super-fan of modernist musical meanderings, but there’s something about Estamos Trio that makes the listening process less ponderous than usual. Perhaps it’s the experimental tendencies of pianist Thollem McDonas, percussionist Milo Tamez and electronics maven/vocalist Carmina Escobar. McDonas explains that “estamos” is the Spanish verb for “we are” in a non-permanent sense. From dulcet tones to dissonant aural hail, this release encases avant-garde, instrumental and free improv in a red, white and blue-green pinata and each of its 12 tracksnamed in the Arawak languageoffer a modern, multi-national meditation on the history of the Mexico/U.S. borderlands. And the album art is a detail of Postcommodity’s terrific “My Blood is in the Water” installation. (Samantha Anne Carrillo)

I’ll fess up: I didn’t know that Jean Sebastien Audet, the prime mover of Calgary-based post-punk/guitar-pop quartet Faux Fur, was a high-schooler when I first heard this release. I forget how I stumbled on to Faux Furprobably one of a baker’s dozen of similarly inclined sound obsessives’ music blogs. Available as a name-your-price download on Bandcamp, the self-titled full-length Faux Fur debut is quirky, pristine pop music for fans who lean more toward bedroom than barroom. Substantial, euphonious guitar arrangement and enchanted riffs are cloaked in the mantle of reverb. I can’t wait to hear what Audet will be creating in middle age. (Samantha Anne Carrillo)

 
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