Rostam — ‘Changephobia’
THE GOOD: Former Vampire Weekend member and current in-demand producer/collaborator Rostam Batmanglij releases his second solo record.
THE BAD: “Changephobia” will challenge you. That’s what Rostam does. Not bad, but be prepared.
THE NITTY GRITTY: During his V.W. tenure and after leaving the group, Rostam collaborated with people such as Charli XCX, Haim, Ra Ra Riot, Frank Ocean and a host of others. Working within a bunch of different genres has rubbed off on his solo work.
But Rostam always was open to disparate combinations of sounds. V.W.’s first three records are evidence of that. Now on his own, Rostam can stretch things even further, which he certainly does on “Changephobia.” The set includes everything from modern electronic to classic be-bop, catchy pop tunes to complex arrangements. Not every experiment is a triumph, but most work.
Better bits include the forceful, infectious “4Runner” and the chunky, funky “To Communicate.” Show this album a little love and patience, and it will wholeheartedly grow on you over repeat listens.
BUY IT?: Yes.
Acid Dad — ‘Take It from the Dead’
THE GOOD: New York-based prog/psyche rockers Acid Dad dodge the sophomore slump.
THE BAD: Some songs are more about the mood and groove, but that works in this particular setting.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Fronted by dual guitarists/vocalists Vaughn Hunt and Sean Fahey, the band cranks out a blend of shoegaze, indie rock and danceable modern psyche. It’s a heady brew recalling vintage Charlatans UK and Luna while sliding up next to contemporaries such as Thee Oh Sees and Cloud Control.
Tracks such as “She Only Eats Organic” and “Smile You’re on Camera” ride seamless rhythms courtesy of drummer Trevor Mustoe (the guy rounding out this heady trio) and fuzzed-out guitars. The extended “Djembe” gives us a murky, mid-tempo closer that finds colors slowly fading and reality setting back in.
Perhaps this trip’s only real drawback is its brevity (about 36 minutes). A few more songs or some whirling, swirling extensions of the ones already present would be extremely cool. Maybe next time.
BUY IT?: Sure.
Wavves — ‘Hideaway’
THE GOOD: California indie rockers Wavves return with their seventh.
THE BAD: “Hideaway” is a solid record from a band that’s been sarcastic and sizzling for over a decade. It’s not as captivating or incendiary as the band’s early stuff, but frontman Nathan Williams remains confrontational.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Produced by TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek, “Hideaway” is a blistering set just missing the 30-minute mark. Williams makes his songs aggressive, airtight and, in typical Wavves fashion, always catchy. Each track also possesses its own unique vibe. So while the volume remains constant, the mood often changes.
“Thru Hell” launches the set with punchy, guitar-driven indie pop. From there, we’re slammed with the heavily waltzing title cut, the blazing rockabilly kick of “The Blame” and the quick, infectious “Marine Life.” Even when the record calms down, as it does on the rolling “Sinking Feeling,” Williams doesn’t let us completely off the hook. He wants us thinking and slightly agitated. But that’s why we came.
BUY IT?: Oh yeah.