Alibi V.24 No.41 • Oct 8-14, 2015 

Sonic Reducer

Froth Bleak (Burger Records)

Combining the melodic sadness of The Smiths with the driving sound and clean-then-distorted guitars of My Bloody Valentine, Froth—a word that affects me like “moist” does others—employ 12-string guitars, creative drumming and enough tremolo to conjure up visions of Vox AC30s. There's a British vibe here, but Froth dirties up the tight, alternative brit-pop of the late ‘80s with their additional guitar strings, effects and the multiple instrumental tracks employed in the recording. The production on Bleak is decadently reverb-heavy and—for a three piece—Froth has a full, dark sound usually achieved only by larger ensembles. Not as garage-y as some Burger Records releases, but Bleak is of the quality fans have come to expect from the label.

Keep Shelly in Athens Now I'm Ready (Friends of Friends)

How is it that in 2015 there are bands that sound like Tears For Fears? How is it that they don't totally suck? Sounding like the soundtrack to a lost brat-pack film from the ‘80s, Greece's Keep Shelly in Athens improves on the horrible sound of eighties synth music to a degree that goes beyond a retro project—and that's why Now I'm Ready doesn't stink. KSIA is part of a genre that's been going strong for nigh on half a decade, in which the overly synth-y sound of eighties pop music and dreamy electronica from the ‘90s is emulated but not copied and where a minimalistic touch combines well with ethereal vocals to create something other than The Human League ripoffs and Depeche Mode imitations. The genre might be “down-tempo” pop or “ambient electronica”—I'm not sure—but don't be deceived, there's something interesting and durable going on here.

Kevin Herig Give it All Away (Humbird)

This is polished acoustic-rock from the singer-songwriter wunderkind who used to front Asper Kourt, backed by the drummer from the same band as well as a host of guest musicians. Give it All Away features the strong songwriting and accessible style that so nearly catapulted Asper Kourt to fame in Herig's baby-faced years, but with more confidence and direction—with more handsome man-ness, too: Put him on a surfboard and call him Jack Johnson. Shedding the more pop elements of Asper Kourt and settling into a sometimes country-tinged, easy-listening sound suits Herig's love songs and true story lyrics well. Herig's solo effort also benefits from Alex McMahon and Meredith Wilder's (Wildewood) playing on some numbers, as well as excellent production thanks to Albuquerque's Wall of Sound Studio. Catch Herig at the Old Town gazebo on Sunday, Oct. 11, from 12-2pm.