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Torres, Turbo Fruits, and Tyler the Creator 

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click to enlarge Torres

Torres

Sprinter

Partisan Records

File next to: Waxahatchee, Courtney Barnett

Mackenzie Scott, aka Torres, likes to explicitly name her musical and literary muses, littering her liner notes with map references like Cormac McCarthy, St. Vincent, Nick Drake and Margaret Atwood. While this may run the risk of pretentiousness, Torres executes her vision far too well to fail. Where her first self-titled album was composed of quiet, minimal vignettes with fuzz guitar layered on top, Sprinter features complex and well-crafted songs. Keyboardist Rob Ellis pulls off extreme decibel changes to rival King Crimson, while Scott moves from loud snarls of a PJ Harvey variety to whispered pleas. There are moments, as in the album closer "The Exchange," when Scott opts for repetitive, skeletal chants, but music fans have already forgiven artists like Van Morrison for such weirdness. Torres' subtly literate lyrics and adventurous music make this a powerhouse sophomore album. — Loring Wirbel

click to enlarge Turbo Fruits

Turbo Fruits

No Control

Melvin Records

File next to: The Buzzcocks, Silversun Pickups

On Turbo Fruits' fourth full-length, No Control, the Nashville garage-rockers accomplish the opposite of their album title. Compared to previous works, they've calmed down just a bit, taking the fuzz and making it go pop. No Control also reins in the tempos and foregrounds their always-catchy melodies, creating an even more appealing sound without losing the bite of the band's earlier music. "Favorite Girl," "The Way I Want You" and "Need to Know" are especially addictive, with razor-sharp vocal hooks and tasty guitar riffs. The album ends on a touching note with "Big Brother," an elegy to a sibling who has passed on. There are times, especially on "Worry About You" and "No Reason to Stay," when Turbo Fruits sound a little too close to The Strokes for comfort, but otherwise there's enough originality and listenability to keep No Control right on track. — Alan Sculley

click to enlarge Tyler the Creator

Tyler the Creator

Cherry Bomb

Odd Future LLC

File next to: Childish Gambino, Mike G, Odd Future

Tyler the Creator shares Kanye West's talent for being brilliant and annoying at the same time. But that annoying aspect is tempered by his ability to bring in a metal guitar riff or unusual percussion just as things are getting predictable. He also sports a self-deprecation honed to ideal effect on previous albums like Goblin. Cherry Bomb is more scattershot, making direct hits with tracks like "Deathcamp" and "Smuckers," but fizzing out on the title track and the oddly out-of-tune closing song, "Yellow." There are lots of guest artists (Lil' Wayne, Cole Alexander, Pharrell Williams, Kanye) and plenty of wild mixing, but Tyler's work will never be confused for Kendrick Lamar's latest. Where Lamar crafts a message of identity and social change, Tyler says many confusing things to many people, while contradicting himself much of the time. — Loring Wirbel

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