Sonic Reducer: Cloudface, Crushed!?, The Uglys And Burying Caesar

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Euro-style electro-glitchy with some of the chord changes I recall from when I’d put Kid A on the turntable and let it play for days, but with more of The Dark Side of the Moon tempo and timbre—think “On the Run”—and some MGMT-style authoritas thrown in for good measure, here’s a record that’s easy to like and super fun to drive through curving mountain road passages whilst indulging. It’s totally Autobahn music for the hip-hop set—which means just about all young Americans these days, one hopes—and proceeds from track to track with savage aplomb. Tracks like “The Grey” are elusively complex while “Love Older” generates a fantastically ironic sentimentality through what becomes a Latin rhythm buoyed by crunchy, repetitive noises and surprising instrumental digressions. Favorite track: “Saturn Return” for its full-on hand-clapping and synth-styled spook factor.

Crushed!? Split with The UGLYS (Self-released)

With enough thrashed-out and crusty grindcore moments floated around instantly memorable melodic passages that plateau into nothingness before returning like hot winds from the depths of Hades, here’s a record you can really use to start your own mosh pit club in the middle of your own living room. The landlord probably won’t dig it, but you and your heaviest of heavy colleagues and acquaintances can blow your brains to kingdom come with tracks like “Mind Wipe Chamber,” one helluva relentless tune. After that, give “Shiitake” a spin for all it’s worth and then put your head against the speaker and let “Wildfires” burn all the hair off your scalp. This record’s that good, folks, and the final track, “Lightning Strikes Twice” proves that there is life after Bleach.

Burying Caesar Alabaster Bay (Self-released)

I might have forgotten about this if I hadn’t dreamt of Alabaster Bay the other night. It was one of those dreams where you can’t quite recall the names of the other spectres in dreamland with you, but the song they sing awakens you. Alabaster Bay has that effect. The 12-track outing by Roddy Cochrane and Hovey Jude Corbin presents a mildly psychedelic, robustly romantic, wildly melodic form of baroque pop that is rarely heard these days. The tunes are piquant and playful and flow masterfully. Though you might be disappointed by the record’s sweetness, let me tell you that I’ve listened to it a few times. I’m sure that the feels that come colorfully to life here are true, except maybe they happened in a multiverse mash-up of 1967’s swinging London and the Enlightenment-era court of a music lover like Catherine the Great. Favorite track: “Stardust.”

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