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Modest Mouse: “Satellite Skin” The less sense that Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock makes, the more sincere he sounds. For example, the non-sequitur riddled “Heart Cooks Brain,” far more affecting than linear drivel like “Fire It Up.” “Satellite Skin,” a long-delayed Record Store Day exclusive, falls into the first category, with Brock opening up the hick-psych flood gates and delivering four-minutes of mystic-junkyard-bullshit in his trademark lisp. As a result, it’s among the better, or at least most characteristic, tunes that band has written in the last several years. “If you break these mothwing feelings/ powdering dust on your fingers/ well no we’re not praying we’re kneeling,” sings Brock. You said it, man.
Tortoise: “Prepare Your Coffin” A few years ago, one would needed to have attended a jazz-studies graduate program in order to hum a Tortoise tune. But “Prepare Your Coffin,” from the band’s forthcoming LP Beacons of Ancestorship has a hook, really, many hooks, that rises above the vintage synths, the vibraphones, and the rhodes pianos guaranteeing that even five minutes after the song is over, you’ll remember how it went.
Foreign Born: “Early Warnings” With “Early Warnings” Los Angelinos The Foreign Born have inadvertently provided the Center For Disease Control with some helpful information. To be specific, the band has proven that it only took one year for the Vampire Weekend-virus, the one that drives young fashionistas to apply afro-pop guitar hooks to pseudo-sophisticated pop, to spread from its Brooklyn-based patient-zero all the way to the Atlantic. Other than that, there’s not too much value here.
Hopewell: “Island” You know, there was some pretty good psych-rock made during the early ’90s. And not just the token shoegaze stuff, but the darker and more arena-ready weirdness of bands like Flaming Lips or Jane’s Addiction. These are the bands that Brooklyn’s Hopewell reach for, in terms of influences, and on “Islands,” they really hit the bullseye. For those who have long wondered what Nothing’s Shocking might have sounded like sans Dave Novarro, this is probably as close as you’re going to get.