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October Music Reviews: Glasvegas, Delorian, Johnathan Rice, and More!

September 18, 2013

Later . . . When The TV Turns To Static
Glasvegas eschew superstar producers and high-profile LA/NYC studios for the authenticity of their hometown, Glasgow, and the producing talents of frontman James Allan on the melancholy Later. . . Turns out Glasvegas sounds the same no matter where they record or who twiddles the knobs. The crackling fuzz and static-y feedback the Scottish group has appropriated hits strongest on the defiant heartbreak recovery track “I’d Rather Be Dead (Than Be With You)” and “If,” where Talking Heads lyrics are shamelessly borrowed.

Basque Country-bred, Barcelona-based four-piece Delorean return with a self-proclaimed “big-production record” (read: no samples, more analog saturation). In retrospect, Subiza was more two-dimensional; however, if perfecting dimensions, blissed-out melodies and balmy rhythms are excellent choices. Expanding that radiant base, Apar shifts through efficiently programmed, reverband delay-enriched arrangements with iridescent clarity, recalling the Madchester scene, So-era Peter Gabriel, and frothy indie-pop jams.

Johnathan Rice
Good Graces
Rice leaves the city for the country on his third album, Good Graces. Images of dusty cowboy boots and bars pretending to be saloons march through the mind’s eye, spurred by the country.alt.rock strains of Rice’s twangy stringed instruments and scratchy drawl. Out of the step with this theme is the dark moodiness of the Lou Reed pastiche “Lou Rider” and surf ballad “That Summer Feeling.” No matter what the style, Rice’s slick and humorous lyricism remains constant.

Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel
Culled from a 2011 tour, this CD documents improvisational meetings between Scott Burland (theremin) and Frank Schultz (lap steel) and a host of outstanding musicians—the Shaking Ray Levis, Richard Lainhart, Helena Espvall, Bill Brovold, and Andrew Weathers. Sometimes challenging, often beautiful, the 19 tracks here offer nonstop surprises. Of special note are cuts with Lainhart and the SRL’s Dennis Palmer, two innovative players who left the planet before this was released.

Brian Wright
Rattle Their Chains
On the follow-up to House on Fire, Wright’s smart, powerhouse story-songs again star. But unlike his debut, where Wright played it all himself, Rattle Their Chains is a fullband effort. It kicks off with a “What’d I Say”-type organ part, in “Over Yet Blues,”—a perfect place for anything to start. With a voice a bit like Zevon, and a similar sort of dark humor in his lyrics, Wright is equally fascinating in a guitar-and-vocals setting or leading a hot rock ’n’ roll band.

Oneohtrix Point Never
R Plus Seven
In this latest fork in Daniel Lopatin’s auditory choose-your-own- adventure, 10 tracks plant signposts pointing to past works of garbled synths and treated samples, while feeding into a progressively more approachable conduit. Never fully inhabiting either the abrasive or glazed ends of the spectrum, Lopatin tempers the hard corners between rooms of granular washes, formant choirs, and mutating sightlines. He builds a rhythmic matrix sequencing flickering loops, pulses, and arpeggiated momentum rather than percussion.


Robbie Fulks
Gone Away Backward
Robbie Fulks— the great underappreciated wonder of the Americana genre. He’s got such a powerful, sweet voice; such an abundance of intelligence, sensitivity, and humor as a lyricist and player. Seeing him onstage is pure joy, and this is perhaps the rare studio album that’s clean and detailed as can be, but captures the full-bore beauty and dynamics of Fulks and his band live. Cheers to engineer/ mixer Steve Albini for whatever he did in Electrical Audio to document these glorious performances so beautifully.

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