Aether resurrect the shoegazer sound with rocking results

January 30, 2008 at 8:43 am (Shoegazer)

 

Derek’s New Music Bin

Artist: Aether

Album: Aethersound

Rating: 9/10

Official Website: http://www.aethersound.com

Written by Derek Jensen

One word name, murky album cover, dreamlike riffs. There’s no doubt it: Aether have a yen for the shoegazer movement that rattled the U.K. underground the same time that grunge was pushing through college radio stateside. For those who weren’t born yet or too young at the time (late ’80s-early ’90s), the shoegazer bands basically took the ethereal guitars of the Cocteau Twins, cranked up the volume a few notches so you have a wall of sound, and frosted mostly incomprehensible and sometimes whispered vocals on top. It ended up being too weird for the mainstream; however, groups such as My Bloody Valentine helped inspire the alternative rock to follow, namely bands like the Smashing Pumpkins and Catherine Wheel.

Aether are nowhere near as commercial as the Smashing Pumpkins, preferring to stick to their uncompromising independent roots, at least on this CD. “Milk” has that My Bloody Valentine-styled disoriented groove while “Hours” aims for the transcendent space rock of Radiohead. Unlike many of the shoegazer acts that inspired them, though, Aether aren’t afraid to bring on the noise as “As We Leave the City” and “New Sound” rattle the cages with breathless abandon. It’s all pretty and rocking at the same time.

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The Knockarounds outdo Weezer on energetic, smart-ass EP

January 30, 2008 at 6:49 am (Power Pop)

Derek’s New Music Bin

Artist: The Knockarounds

Album: The Hurt Stays (EP)

Rating: 8/10

Official Website: http://www.theknockarounds.com

Written by Derek Jensen

Before I bestow my praise upon the Knockarounds, I just want to welcome all of the readers who have followed me here from my days blasting or applauding the various print weeklies I had once slaved for. Yes, my friends, it was time to split from such archaic vehicles. And what better way to celebrate it than with the Knockarounds, a Los Angeles-based power-pop combo with the smart-ass wit of Superdrag and the pedal-to-the-floor guitar hooks of the Killers.

However, despite the Killers comparison and a tune dedicated to Goth rock royalty Siouxsie Sioux (“Siouxsie Is My Goth Queen”), the Knockarounds are not some dark group. Rather, the Knockarounds have energy to burn and hummable, if sometimes subversive (listen to “On Your Back”), lyrics. The band is more melodic and upbeat than any of the emo acts out now, unafraid of sounding adolescent but steps away from being obnoxious. The title track will remind you of Weezer when they were still worth checking out. Ouch. I’m sure that pained a couple of you out there; however, it’s true. At only five cuts, the Knockarounds make you wish for a full platter but that just means I’ll chew on this candy much longer.

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