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Flake Music

When You Land Here, It’s Time to Return

In 1997, the Shins released their debut album under the name Flake Music called When You Land Here, It’s Time to Return. Now with a reissue of the underappreciated and highly sought-after album, the legacy of the Shins has had a gaping hole refilled. If this album shows anything, it’s that Flake Music was a much more collaborative and free-spirited venture in comparison. The Shins, by contrast, eventually became a singular, offbeat one-man show, every note of every record radiating from the soul of James Mercer. Still, it’s much more interesting as a precursor of what was to come for the Shins, and a glimpse at the moment when the indie world shifted from apathetic, nostalgia-driven, ironically-detached alt-rock into the poignant, earnest modernist pop that defined a generation of maturing music lovers. From that point on, it’s all history.

—Colin Fitzgerald, PopMatters.com

Andy Stott

Faith in Strangers

Faith in Strangers is pretty outstanding, an eclectic, innovative and cohesive addition to the ambient canon. Yet for all their bold gestures, the tracks here remain beholden to the genre’s tradition of layered open-endedness. What makes a song like album highlight “Violence” so exciting is that it uses the rather conventional means of verse-hook-verse structuration to reconcile the poles of meditation and, well, violence, while keeping both rather majestically intact. If the rest of Faith in Strangers represents Stott’s mastery of well-travelled compositional terrain, then “Violence” points the way to thrilling new horizons.

—Benjamin Aspray, PopMatters.com

TV on the Radio

Seeds

Just a week after Nine Types of Light was released, TV on the Radio member Gerard Smith died of lung cancer. His passing undoubtedly shook the group. Somewhere, in a way that a listener could never fully understand without knowing the band personally, the painful loss of their friend and collaborator haunts the band’s newest album, Seeds. Most obviously, or most easily to discuss critically, though, Seeds represents a return to form and is a thematically complex addition to TV on the Radio’s rich discography. The heartbreak, the anger, the tortured and torturous love of this album are all products of a grieving band refusing to recede into itself. This is where Smith’s presence (or absence) is most influential. In taking the opportunity to love and continue to risk loss after losing so much already, TV on the Radio honors and celebrates its friend’s life.

—Dan Derks, PopMatters.com

Ty Segall

$ingle$ 2

The vast majority of tracks on $ingle$ 2 sound like nothing so much as a Kenmore vacuum cleaner. In the most basic terms these songs sound like cast-off bits of psychedelia and garage rock. These are easy, derivative songs that might be listenable if they weren’t so overladen with noise. It’s not as if Segall doesn’t recognize there’s something fundamentally off with this work, either. Too many of the songs — “Falling Hair,” “Cherry Red,” “Children of Paul” — begin or end with sounds from the studio, such as a whistle here, a clap there, a little bit of banter between band members, as if Segall wanted to remind us that this is, in fact, a collection of B-sides, unreleased tracks and cast-off ideas. This is jamming that should have stayed in the garage and off of the final recording.

— Austin Price, PopMatters.com

 

Other notable releases this week:

The Bug vs. Earth, Boa/Cold

The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground: 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition

Emmas Ringer, Generations

Two Inch Astronaut, Foulbrood

Prawn, Settled EP

Bella Novela, Telemetry

Rick Ross, Hood Billionare

David Guetta, Listen