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Mazzy Star returns from a 17-year haitus

By Brian Krasman
Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, 8:57 p.m.
 

‘Seasons of Your Day'

Mazzy Star (Rhymes of an Hour)

★★★★

It's been 17 long years since we last heard from dreamy gaze duo Mazzy Star, one of the ‘90s most imaginative and haunting bands whose music transcends that era and is just as vital today. “Seasons of Your Day” is their new 10-track collection that's been in the works for years, and we find the band very much where we left them, but with some swampy new elements added.

David Roback's guitar work always has been a crucial element, adding that thick, mind-bending syrup to their music, and here he channels his Delta blues muse and totally immerses himself in it. Singer Hope Sandoval remains one of the most alluring vocalists of all time, and her voice is presented more directly with less reverb on great tracks including arresting first single “California”; gentle and dark “Common Burn,” that benefits from Sandoval's cool harmonica; the elegant folk of the title track; and country-fed closer “Lay Me Down,” adorned in smoky slide guitar. Great to have this band back creating magic again.

‘Herein Wild'

Frankie Rose (Fat Possum)

★★★ ½

If you removed the vocals from Frankie Rose's new record “Herein Wild” — that would be an awful idea, by the way— you might wonder if this isn't a new Cure record. The music is watery and shadowy, and there's a definite New Wave/pop feel to these songs, that are some of Rose's most interesting to date.

Opener “You for Me” is the one track that doesn't seem to belong with the rest, as it's spacey and joyously poppy, but from there the tone gets cloudier and darker (musically, that is) as she unleashes “Sorrow,” that could have been a “120 Minutes” staple; “Cliffs as High,” that opens with reverb-rich a capella vocals before it truly opens up; and bouncy and addictive “Minor Times,” with a stupidly catchy chorus where Rose insists, “We don't sleep, we dream.” This is a strong new side of Rose's personality, resulting in a really surprising record.

‘More Constant Than the Gods'

SubRosa (Profound Lore)

★★★★

Last week, we talked about how Windhand are expanding doom metal and giving it exciting new colors. Well, Salt Lake City quintet SubRosa are doing similar things, albeit in a different direction, and their breathtaking new record “More Constant Than the Gods” is unlike any doom album you'll hear this year. Or ever.

The songs are all epic length, and the swirling halo of violins from Kim Pack and Sarah Pendleton, who do things with that instrument no other musician is, power Rebecca Vernon's tragic, powerful tales. Incredible opener “The Usher” sprawls majestically over 14 minutes, with female/male vocal tradeoff; “Cosey Mo” is a killer track inspired by a character in a Nick Cave book; and closer “No Safe Harbor” is a crusher that'll pierce your heart in a million places. SubRosa is one of metal's most unique bands, and fans of all genres could be captured by them.

‘Move in Spectrums'

Au Revoir Simone (Instant)

★★★

It's been four years since we've heard from the three ladies who comprise Au Revoir Simone, whose members all wield keyboards and share vocal duties, making their sound dreamy and fun. They took time off, tackled other ventures in their lives, and finally reconvened for “Move in Spectrums.”

The band's third record also finds Au Revoir Simone veering closer to pop territory, though they keep some darkness in the room, and the results may take some time to make their mark. Once you spend time, you begin to hear the benefits of their new perspectives, and their music takes on a more welcoming feel, peaking on tracks such as “Crazy,” the first single that could blow up on mainstream radio; sad and exploratory “We Both Know”; and whirry and moody “Somebody Who.” Nice to hear these talented ladies growing beyond their boundaries.

Brian Krasman is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

 

 
 


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