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click to enlarge Jos Gonzlez  - In Our Nature  -  -  - Mute Records  -  - Sounds like: Nick Drake meets Mark Kozelek -  - Short take: Same tune, different album -  - Musically, little has changed with Jos Gonzolez since his - debut, Veneer, hit in 2003. The only anomaly on - In Our Nature is the sustained track "Cycling - Trivialities," which runs eight minutes long. The nine - others hover near three minutes, and some scarcely two. - Gonzlez shines in this short form, though. And - given that his albums run around 30 minutes in full, it - makes sense that this sounds more like an extension of - Veneer than a follow-up to it. That's not a bad - thing; the crisp, classical acoustic strumming and the - occasional hollow guitar slap match gentle and pleading - vocals that dabble in themes of primitive human - behavior  a playful homage to Gonzlez's - almost-life as a biochemist. The soft accessibility of this - album makes it an addictive listen.  Matthew - Schniper
  • Jos Gonzlez

    In Our Nature

    Mute Records

    Sounds like: Nick Drake meets Mark Kozelek

    Short take: Same tune, different album

    Musically, little has changed with Jos Gonzolez since his debut, Veneer, hit in 2003. The only anomaly on In Our Nature is the sustained track "Cycling Trivialities," which runs eight minutes long. The nine others hover near three minutes, and some scarcely two. Gonzlez shines in this short form, though. And given that his albums run around 30 minutes in full, it makes sense that this sounds more like an extension of Veneer than a follow-up to it. That's not a bad thing; the crisp, classical acoustic strumming and the occasional hollow guitar slap match gentle and pleading vocals that dabble in themes of primitive human behavior a playful homage to Gonzlez's almost-life as a biochemist. The soft accessibility of this album makes it an addictive listen. Matthew Schniper

click to enlarge Athlete  - Beyond the Neighbourhood -  -  -  - Astralwerks   -  -  - Sounds like: The future of British indie rock -  - Short take: Athlete goes the distance -  - Imagine if Coldplay didn't suck. Imagine if the Chris - Martin-led band's breezy anthems and engaging - songwriting wasn't endlessly pinned around piano keys, - and was instead allowed to fully reach its potential. Such - a band does exist, and its name is Athlete. The timing of - the U.K. act's third studio effort, Beyond the - Neighbourhood, couldn't be better, with today's - uncertain world of Interpol darkness and indie-rock - malaise  thanks New Pornographers! Athlete hits its - stride early with the slyly tuneful "Hurricane," as well as - on the rocking "Tokyo." Don't miss out on "This is What I - Sound Like," with its down-tempo flow and melancholic - veneer hiding a personal insecurity to which we can all - relate. This band's built for performance; look for Athlete - to surpass its neighbors on this gem.  John - Benson
  • Athlete

    Beyond the Neighbourhood

    Astralwerks

    Sounds like: The future of British indie rock

    Short take: Athlete goes the distance

    Imagine if Coldplay didn't suck. Imagine if the Chris Martin-led band's breezy anthems and engaging songwriting wasn't endlessly pinned around piano keys, and was instead allowed to fully reach its potential. Such a band does exist, and its name is Athlete. The timing of the U.K. act's third studio effort, Beyond the Neighbourhood, couldn't be better, with today's uncertain world of Interpol darkness and indie-rock malaise thanks New Pornographers! Athlete hits its stride early with the slyly tuneful "Hurricane," as well as on the rocking "Tokyo." Don't miss out on "This is What I Sound Like," with its down-tempo flow and melancholic veneer hiding a personal insecurity to which we can all relate. This band's built for performance; look for Athlete to surpass its neighbors on this gem. John Benson

click to enlarge Foo Fighters  - Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace -  -  -  - RCA  -  - Sounds like: Old-school alt-rock with a new - millennium aesthetic -  - Short take: Foos keep it interesting, again -  - Kurt Cobain may be a timeless Gen-X icon, but Nirvana - bandmate Dave Grohl  as leader of the Foo Fighters - is a compelling '90s artist enjoying his longevity. On the - Foos' latest effort, Echoes, Silence, Patience & - Grace, the drummer-turned-singer-guitarist shows - off impressive versatility and songwriting depth. From - the bitterly raging "Let it Die" to the catchy lead single - "The Pretender," the 12-track album has a familiar flavor. - It's the latter portion where Grohl shines. If the - Appalachian-inspired, instrumental acoustic "Ballad of - the Beaconsfield Miners" doesn't catch your ear, the - blues-guitar-driven "Statues" and mellow "Home" - should. While other grunge-era heroes have fallen into - redundant traps, Grohl and his Foos continue to evolve - with patience and grace.  John Benson -
  • Foo Fighters

    Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace

    RCA

    Sounds like: Old-school alt-rock with a new millennium aesthetic

    Short take: Foos keep it interesting, again

    Kurt Cobain may be a timeless Gen-X icon, but Nirvana bandmate Dave Grohl as leader of the Foo Fighters is a compelling '90s artist enjoying his longevity. On the Foos' latest effort, Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, the drummer-turned-singer-guitarist shows off impressive versatility and songwriting depth. From the bitterly raging "Let it Die" to the catchy lead single "The Pretender," the 12-track album has a familiar flavor. It's the latter portion where Grohl shines. If the Appalachian-inspired, instrumental acoustic "Ballad of the Beaconsfield Miners" doesn't catch your ear, the blues-guitar-driven "Statues" and mellow "Home" should. While other grunge-era heroes have fallen into redundant traps, Grohl and his Foos continue to evolve with patience and grace. John Benson

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