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Chvrches, The City, and Of Montreal 

Sound Advice

click to enlarge Chvrches
  • Chvrches

Chvrches

Every Open Eye

Goodbye Records/Glassnote

File next to: Phantogram, Broods, Haim

It may be no accident that the cover art for Chvrches' second album resembles a fragmented jigsaw of New Order's 1983 classic Power, Corruption & Lies. The Scottish trio has consciously set out to replicate the best of mid-'80s electronic sounds. But rather than aim for fancy studios or a new producer, Chvrches added more complex sound equipment to its homegrown Glasgow studio. The resulting album might seem contrived were it not for the exuberant delivery of lead singer Lauren Mayberry. She makes 14 tracks ring, from "Leave a Trace" to "Bow Down." Fans seeking the direct minimalism of the first album will not find a song as powerful as 2013's "The Mother We Share," but Mayberry and her cohorts don't want to get stuck in a sad-song rut. Chvrches is a band for the future that respects synth-pop's past. — Loring Wirbel

click to enlarge The City
  • The City

The City

Now That Everything's Been Said

Light in the Attic

File next to: Carole King, Laura Nyro, Brooklyn Bridge

Carole King's landmark 1971 LP Tapestry was a timeless and richly woven sophomore effort that's admired even by those who don't generally go for that sort of thing. Many music fans know that before embarking on a solo career, King was already a well-established "Brill Building" songwriter; only a few know that she recorded a 1968 LP as part of a group called The City. Moreover, that album's personnel are nearly the same as Tapestry's, right down to producer Lou Adler. Long out of print, unheard and unfairly dismissed as undistinguished, Now That Everything's Been Said is in fact a superb album that not only foreshadows Tapestry's pleasures, but actually kinda rocks in places. It's hard to imagine a rock fan who digs Tapestry not falling in love with this disc, newly rescued from undeserved obscurity. — Bill Kopp

click to enlarge Of Montreal
  • Of Montreal

Of Montreal

Snare Lustrous Doomings

Polyvinyl Record Company

File next to: Soft Boys, Olivia Tremor Control, Television

One of the most commercially successful exponents of the Athens-based Elephant 6 collective, Of Montreal has a well-deserved reputation for powerful live performances. Kevin Barnes' group is also one of the most prolific acts out of the collective, with 13 studio albums (not to mention numerous compilations, EPs and singles). But Snare Lustrous Doomings is the group's first live set. Here, Barnes and company build upon the psychedelic, art-pop sensibility that's a hallmark of the collective, imbuing the songs with a rocking, guitar-centric approach. Barnes' voice is reminiscent of Television's Tom Verlaine, and the band charges ahead like vintage Buzzcocks with a bit of subtlety mixed in for good measure. The energy of live performance is well captured. And Of Montreal wear their pop-psych influences on their sleeves with a rocked-up reading of Emitt Rhodes' classic "Time Will Show the Wiser." — Bill Kopp

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