Matt Costa – Matt Costa (Brushfire Records; 2013)
Three years since his last album Mobile Chateau, Matt Costa is back and ringing in the new year with his latest self-titled album. The 10-track album combines Costa’s signature dreamy voice and folksy melodies with interesting new orchestral sounds and fun-time pop beats.
Costa kicks it off with “Loving You”, a track that perfectly blends the singer’s signature pipes with a new orchestral sound, followed by a catchy pop beat, instantly putting listeners in a cheesy, happy-go-lucky mood. The subsequent tracks are laced with a fresh symphonic feel, all the while being true to folksy singer’s earlier work, perfectly exemplified by the album’s first single “Good Times”.
Matt Costa’s self-titled album delivers on all levels, making us feel happy, light and dreamy, proving to fans that the new album was well worth the three-year wait.
Trial Track: “Shotgun”
– Jessica Romera
Doldrums – Lesser Evil (Arbutus Records; 2013)
If you’re going to listen to Doldrum’s album, then you’d better crank your subwoofer to 11. Montrealer Airick Woodhead’s debut album is a flood of electro-pop psychedelia that introduces new electronic flavors to your ears.
The whole album feels like an experiment that lets a variety of electronic melodies and beats run wild. Woodhead begins each song with a solid pulsing beat, then drops different sound layers like warm fuzz, whimsical synthesized notes, fast-falling crescendos and finally, his own voice that pierces through the thick layers above. “She is the Wave” stands out in particular as it releases an ocean of noise in which every coat of musical modulation tickles your brain and leaves you wanting the three-minute song to be endless.
“Egypt” can definitely conjure an image of colorful holographic pyramids in your head and the song continues to get more interesting as it progresses. The whole album breaks the mold of repetitive beats that electronic music can sometimes be known for.
Trial Track: “She is the Wave”
– Mia Pearson
The Proxy – Music from the Eastblock Jungles Part I & II (Dim Mak; 2013)
An amalgamation of tracks old and new, The Proxy’s latest offering allows the listener to peer through the intensely shadowy lens of how he views his native Russia.
On the whole, the 23-track mega-compilation is heavy with industrial undertones and what sounds like flickering and buzzing lights, often luring the mind into a chop shop, junkyard, or leaky boiler room—in the most enticing and captivating way possible.
His Eastern European touch is woven into the entire album, predominant on some tracks more than others. “Coke” is a fast-paced, glitchy, euro-poppy number, while “Blood”, the first song off Part II, boasts a rumbling bassline reminiscent of Justice’s “Genesis”.
At the top of Part I sits “Raven”, a well-established track from the past that Crookers got their hands on years ago. “8000” borders on drugged-out oriental, while its Part II counterpart, “9000”, is irresistibly spirited, jazzy and bold.
Trial Track: “Blood”
– Stephanie Ullman