Sonic Reducer Deluxe: Broken Bells, The Giranimals, Pj Harvey, D.s. Yancey, Jimi B, And Peter, Bjorn And John

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Meyrin Fields EP
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A year after releasing its acclaimed self-titled debut, Broken Bells scares up nearly 12 more minutes of music for the “Meyrin Fields EP.” The four tracks may be lowly castaways from the debut (code words “previously unreleased”), but the EP is bound to excite the band’s legions of fans. Broken Bells is James Mercer of The Shins and Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse)—a duo that, in the minds of many, could do no wrong sonically or commercially. Personally—with each musician pulling from the same respective bag of tricks—I’m unamused. (JCC)

The Giranimals The Giranimals (

After seven years, The Giranimals is calling it a day. Consider this a farewell note. It’s no “Dear John” letter but a bittersweet goodbye from someone you love dearly. From the luxuriant opener “Circumspect” to the thoughtful sendoff of “Stranger Than Fiction,” it echoes our collective pop legacy from Revolver -era Beatles through ’90s Velocity Girl and Fruit Bats. Nearly flawless and always unobtrusive, the orchestration shines a spotlight on Connie Crandall’s immaculate vocals. The Giranimals is not unlike a generous parting gift from a loved one who is painful to lose but someone you will always remember. (CA)

PJ Harvey Let England Shake (Vagrant Records)

"Arms and legs were in the trees" sings Harvey in “The Words That Maketh Murder,” one of 12 songs on Let England Shake —most of which are filled with such imagery of destruction and all of which are about England and World War I. The music is curiously ethereal considering the subject matter and Harvey’s stock-in-trade growling guitar/vocal thing, but it works. More than one person has asked if I’m listening to Enya while the album was playing, but this is pure violence, not ambient chick music. (GP)

D.S. Yancey Salt the Earth and Fill Your Hands (Thinker Thought Records)

A solo singer/songwriter with a guitar distinguishes him or herself by details. Does he use surprising rhythms? Is her voice unusual? And are the lyrics any good? Yancey is a trucker, working with the constant opportunity to collect stories as he drives cross-country. These 12 tracks go deeper than the regular fare at the open mic with thoughtful observations about relationships and social commentary. Even a couple of “lost at poker, shot a man, rode away on my horse” songs are more believable from the lips of a wandering songster. This album has huge heart—without the usual underlying connotation that “it’s bad.” (SO)

JIMI B ÒSlomo EPÓ (Radiostation exp.)

Slomo EP
A limited-edition 7-inch packed with distortion, noise reminiscent of a PCP trip and occasionally bizarre, FTW lyrics. DJ Govt. Cheese / JIMI B does good with this one, sounding a bit like Tackhead with turntables. Cool cover art you will recognize from the prolific self-promotion this guy did last summer. Oh, and it’s got an endless groove on Side 1 so you can keep making out without getting up to flip the record right away. This actually came out in August 2010, but there are still some of the 300 copies pressed available. (GP)

Peter, Bjorn and John Gimme Some (Sony)

Aside from one annoying track about being smarter—which sounds like the work of a ubiquitous Ivy League act—the sixth album by Swedish group Peter, Bjorn and John is solid. Sweet, shimmering indie pop remains a stable force in the band’s aural aesthetic, but some tracks on the album take a turn for the power pop—“(Don’t Let Them) Cool Off,” for instance, could have very well been penned by The Plimsouls. This collection of songs might not be the band’s best, but I give it three thumbs up. (Nyuck!) (JCC)

(JCC) Jessica Cassyle Carr, (CA) Captain America, (GP) Geoffrey Plant, (SO) Summer Olsson

Deluxe Edition

Slomo EP

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