Snap Sounds

Snap Sounds: Lone

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LONE
REALITY TESTING
(R&S RECORDS)

Matt "Lone" Cutler's heart belongs to hip hop.  It's easy to forget this given how the British producer only started to attract critical notice after switching from the post-J Dilla instrumentals of his early albums to a style that had more in common with house and rave music. The transition wasn't terribly unnatural given that his sonic trademark was rich synth chords, a sound rare in hip hop but prevalent in dance.  He kept those intact; he just switched up the rhythm and instantly went from generic beatmaker to underground dance hero, producing one of 2012's best electronic albums in Galaxy Garden. Read more »

Snap Sounds: Justin Timberlake

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JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE
THE 20/20 EXPERIENCE
(RCA)

It's 10 songs, seven minutes apiece. A quick look at the track-listing to Justin Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience reveals a giant slice of pop ambition; a brazen comeback effort that practically dares the rest of the Grammy-elite to catch up. Read more »

Snap Sounds: Scott Walker

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SCOTT WALKER
BISH BOSCH
(4AD)

When pop crooner Scott Walker plunged into the abyss on 1995’s Tilt, he initiated one of the most radical transformations in the history of recorded music, rejecting the tuneful chamber pop of his '60s-’70s output for a pitch-black sludge of musique concrète, avant-classical, and industrial art-rock. Walker hasn't looked back since, doubling down with 2005’s The Drift, and now Bish Bosch: an album as erratic, scary, unhinged, darkly hilarious, and wildly imaginative as any in recent memory. Read more »

Snap Sounds: Laetitia Sadier

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LAETITIA SADIER
SILENCIO
(DRAG CITY)

In her 20 years as the lead singer of Stereolab, Laetitia Sadier has dependably imparted a vital, earthy humanity to her band's sterile, mechanized productions.

In turn, on Silencio, her newest full-length, Sadier forgoes Stereolab's rigid aura, in favor of a warmer, airier sound, more relaxed in approach, and endearing in its lack of cohesion. Read more »

Snap Sounds: Midnite Snaxxx

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MIDNITE SNAXXX
S/T
(RED LOUNGE RECORDS)

Midnite Snaxxx are like the quintessential cool girls of high school, in an alternate garage-punk universe. Clad in tough leather jackets, singing with a Nikki and the Corvettes-cherry-topped snarl (they even played with Nikki Corvette this summer), creating rock'n'roll Ramone-esque pop hooks, and hitting the shit out of those drums — they positively explode on their debut self-titled LP in tracks like "Spend the Night," and slow things down sweet on noisy rock ballads such as "In Your Eyes." Read more »

Snap Sounds: Guantanamo Baywatch

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GUANTANAMO BAYWATCH
CHEST CRAWL
(DIRTNAP RECORDS)

Thick, wet reverb lays the sexy underwater groundwork for most Guantanamo Baywatch songs. Those surfy chords echo forever then build to dissolving fizzy chaos on the sleazy Portland, Oreg. trio's full-length Chest Crawl, which veers towards the Ventures on uppers during mostly instrumental songs like opener "Barbacoa" and the title track, or rises to unintelligible screams like Dick Dale on crank on tracks such as "Frizella" and energetic doo-wop standout "Baby Please." Read more »

Snap Sounds: Sébastien Tellier

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By Irwin Swirnoff

SEBASTIEN TELLIER
MY GOD IS BLUE
(RECORD MAKERS)

His last record was called Sexuality, and tapped into the most up front and direct body moving songs of his career, but Sébastien Tellier has always made music dripping with raw sensuality. His latest album sheds the immediate dance-pop sensibility of his last offering and finds him delving deep once again in a more nuanced, textured, and left of center romantic pop approach.Read more »

Snap Sounds: Carletta Sue Kay

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Carletta Sue Kay
Incongruent
(Kitten Charmer)

Carletta Sue Kay is the female alter-ego of SF musician Randy Walker, and this identity shift pushes his art in some astonishing directions. (Walker's previous band Mon Cousin Belge was notorious for its onstage performance art antics). Androgynous to its core, and loaded with overtones, his vocal delivery as Carletta Sue Kay can recall Annie Lennox, Gene Ween, and Joanna Newsom, all in the same breath. Normally, a voice this powerful is cultivated over years of recording, so it's hard to believe that Incongruent is this former Amoeba employee's debut full-length. Read more »

Snap Sounds: Bullion

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Bullion
Love Me Oh Please Love Me EP
(Deek)

Releasing singles and EPs as Bullion since 2008, laptop-whiz Nathan Jenkins has managed to avoid the generic, cut-and-paste aesthetic that's corralled so many of his colleagues into mediocrityville. He's always edited his samples with an old-school rock musician's touch, allowing the drums, synths, and guitars to breathe, instead of exposing them to heavy-handed whiplash. Read more »

Snap Sounds: Void

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VOID
SESSIONS 81-83

(DISCHORD)

Void was hardcore in a blender. It was loud, frantic, messy, and fast as hell. A brief yet seminal (there's that word again) punk act, formed in 1979 D.C., Void was known equally for its early mix of hardcore and thrash, as its frenzied live shows, which often turned violent. And for such a memorable act, we future listeners were left with little to actually, well, listen to. It was all buried in seven-inches, splits, and hard-to-find comps. Read more »