Sonic Reducer

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If a band releases an EP slightly longer than a commercial break, each song had better be pretty spectacular. Unfortunately, indie-pop group Rat Wakes Red only hits it out of the park once in four tries. The title track is a murky, slow but satisfying folk tune that thrives on layered melodies and graceful melancholy. The other three lack the refinements of Energy Garage and come off as whiney, ho-hum attempts at catchy alt.pop. It’s worth a trip to the iTunes store to grab the record’s one success, but anything further is ill-advised. (SM)

Gray Beast The Album That Killed Its Parents (Self-released)

When Oh, Ranger! faded from the Albuquerque music scene in 2003, members Lucas Spider and Boyd Reno followed different music (and geographic) paths. Three years later, Boyd and Lucas joined forces to record Boyd’s brainchild, The Album That Killed Its Parents . What they assembled is a synth-rock fusion of electronic noise, soul, R&B and ’80s pop that Oh, Ranger! fans likely wouldn’t connect with the defunct band. The Album is playful and well produced, full of quintessential teen angst and raw human emotion on the softcore side of rock. Gray Beast‘s album better be the first of many. (AD)

Various Artists Tango Around The World (Putumayo)

As a general rule, you can’t go wrong with world music label Putumayo, and this release, with its referential liner notes written in three languages and varying tangos from Africa (“Dimba" by Ousmane Touré from Senegal), Europe (“Estrela da Tarde" by Liana from Portugal) and South America (“Kangastus" by M.A. Numminen and Sanna Pietiåinen from Argentina), only proves that point. (JCC)

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