overlord – In Soviet Russia, My Heart Breaks You
Label: Storm Tower (2011)
Genres: Pop Rock, Alternative Rock
Sounds Like: The New Pornographers, Weezer, The Smiths
Review by TG Keas, KXUA Music Director
Ever heard a band so pleasant, so charming, and so inoffensive that you loathed it? The inappropriately-named overlord is the epitome of this fiendish subgenre. The vocalist sounds like he volunteers at an animal shelter to raise money for orphaned altar boys. The clean electric guitars chime along effortlessly. Everything, right down to the cutesy title, is tailor-made to be clean fun. But what’s worse is that the hooks actually quite good. After trying to dismiss overlord as nothing more than another cutesy alt/indie outfit, I kept finding myself drawn back for more. This is rock music your great-aunt would enjoy. This is rock music I hate myself for liking.
TOKiMONSTA – Creature Dreams EP
Review by Eric Jensen
Jennifer Lee, a.k.a. TOKiMONSTA, released her instrumental electronic album Midnight Menu in 2010 to mixed reviews. Described as “non-intrusive hangover music” by one blogger and “powerfully creative cosmic hip-hop” by another, the word “ethereal” was repeatedly used in both positive and negative reviews. With this new EP on the Brainfeeder label, TOKiMONSTA continues on the ethereal path, but with the addition of Gavin Turek’s vocals on “Little Pleasures” and “Darkest (Dim)”. Turek, an L.A. native, is a dancer, vocalist, actress, and spokeswoman for Rimmel London make-up. Kudos to Turek, but the main point for us here is that she turns in some excellent performances on this EP, making her two vocal tracks my top recommended songs. The Alpha Pup label website compares TOKiMONSTA’s multi-layered instrumental constructions to the Cocteau Twins, and as an ‘80’s music aficionado, I’m bound to agree. See her live at Wakarusa this June!
Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside – Dirty Radio
Label: Partisan (2011)
Genres: Indie Rock, Blues Rock
Sound Like: The White Stripes
Review by Ginny Garber
Sallie Ford is a lady Jack White, with a voice like salty butter. With electric guitar, violin, tambourine, and doo-wops backing Sallie, each song lays down variations of blues, jazz, swing and rockabilly, resulting in a range for any activity, be it driving, dancing, or drinking.
DJ Cosm – Time & Space
Sounds Like: Mic Crenshaw, Abstract Artform, Madlib
Review by Harrison Grimwood
DJ Cosm is the producer half of Dragon Fli Empire based out of Calgary, Canada. Time & Space is Cosm’s first solo LP, in which he hosts a large base of American and Canadian rappers. Time & Space is a one stop album for broad and excellent lyricism and old school beats. By no means is DJ Cosm reinventing the wheel with his music production style, don’t fix it if it ain’t broke, and Cosm’s style is far from broke. With his sample-based style of production, he easily rises above most modern day producers.