Sonic Reducer: Micro Reviews Of Alien Space Kitchen, Lightning Bolt And Tamaryn

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This local duo gets an “A” simply for sending in vinyl. Just A.S.K. delivers catchy tunes and capable boy / girl vocals. There’s a little country in Alien Space Kitchen’s rock and roll, and it smooths out their sound in a relaxed, sentimental way that’s free of pretentiousness. The drums are perfect in a still-learning-to-play way that I love. The only flaw in this nicely mixed recording is the guitar, which sounds like it was jacked directly from a RAT pedal into the mixing board, smothering the other instruments like a clogged lint trap. Comparisons: Beat Happening, the Go-Go’s and early Handsome Family. (Geoff Plant)

Lightning Bolt Oblivion Hunter (Load Records)

The drummer and five-string bassist (his A and E are from a banjo) that make up Lightning Bolt have created aggressive noise since ’94. You’d think they’d have moved on or something. In a 1989 Spin interview, J Mascis explained why he graduated from hardcore music: “I had sex.” Oblivion Hunter contains some killer elements that sound a lot like the trance-inducing fuck music of Crash Worship, without the warm blood, coitus and fire. Some of this record is great, but it’s a bit overwrought. Unless you’re a male virgin who’s already a fan, skip this and get it on to some 8-Eyed Spy. (Geoff Plant)

Tamaryn Tender New Signs (Mexican Summer)

Admittedly, it can be hard to work within the parameters of the genre you pay homage to while also adding something new. Nu gaze duo Tamaryn does try so very hard. The latest album, Tender New Signs, is stunning—awash in lilting guitar waves, strummed along with a gently massive trudge of drums and topped off with the soft echoes of Tamaryn’s reverbed vocals (the perfect hybrid of Hope Sandoval and Margo Timmins). Yup, these nine songs are all beautiful, albeit entirely indistinguishable from each other—not to mention every other shoegaze track you’ve ever heard. (M. Brianna Stallings)

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