by Lenore LaNova
The Tucson five-piece known as Things That Aren’t Words released their 5-track debut in April. Remember the Details achieves that compelling combination of sweet and somber with an enchanting musicality and poetic lyrics. “Your Heart is an Ocean” opens the EP, drawing this listener in with a cheery, melodic indie rock that ends with the sentiment, “You were meant to drift away.” See what I mean about the sweet and somber? This juxtaposition continues throughout Remember the Details: uplifting melodies and contemplative lyrics. “Those Who Try” combines a dreamy indie sound with lines like “You’re a glutton, you’re a fiend,” sorta like a warm blanket of dark thoughts. I like it. I definitely suggest checking out Things That Aren’t Words for all you indiepop fans. Think Travis or The Decemberists.
Casey Wayne Smith out of Denver falls to the folk side of the indie spectrum. His April release – Suicide Dreams, Cigarette Magazines – is pensive; stripped down to its singer-songwriter core. The title track opens the album with a circus hue that does not persist throughout the album. That was probably a wise decision. Casey Wayne Smith showcases his talents as a songwriter in the tradition of Iron & Wine and Elliott Smith: brooding and meditative. The only near-miss for me was “Truth in Me” which toys with rocknroll without stepping beyond the indie-folk format. While it’s a decent song, it just doesn’t fit cohesively with the rest of the album. Beyond that minor issue, I enjoyed Suicide Dreams, Cigarette Magazines thoroughly. “Jesus Take Me Home” and “Suicide Dreams, Cigarette Magazines” are my two favorite tracks on the album. I recommend checking out Casey Wayne Smith’s Suicide Dreams, Cigarette Magazines, especially on those rare rainy days we get here in the Valley.
Okay, I usually hate intros and interludes that are clipped from movies and television, but I was so excited to hear the Legend of Korra clip that kicked off girl valley’s latest release, that this rule went straight out the window. I’m not 100% sure how the clip ties into the rest of the album although it takes place in the spirit world rather than on this physical plane. Likewise, the delicate music of girl valley swims toward the listener like a tenuous vapor, more dream than reality. All nine tracks wrap up in roughly ten minutes, leaving the listener more with the impression of an album than a complete LP. What you have is the potential for a truly talented songwriter in the initial stages of emergence. soften up is both beautiful and brief. I look forward to hearing more from girl valley.