• Courtesy

    Ty Segall, a cat and a unicorn.

  • Courtesy

    Viet Cong and some concrete walls.

  • Courtesy

    Panda Bear and a delicious sweatshirt.



Ahh, that three day weekend was nice and refreshing. Now it’s time to prepare for some upcoming jam-packed weeks of shows around Boulder and Denver.

Radio 1190 will be presenting Mykki Blanco at Denver’s Larimer Lounge tonight as well as Slow Magic at the Fox Theatre on the Hill on Jan. 29. (We also recommend checking out King Tuff at the Larimer Lounge Jan. 27 and Mark Kozelek (Sun Kil Moon) at Denver’s Soiled Dove Jan. 29.)

Here are some new albums we’ll be playing at Radio 1190 that are guaranteed to motivate you to lock yourself in your room and do your homework.

Viet Cong rose from the ashes of the Canadian experimental post-punk band, Women, in early 2013. After indie label Mexican Summer released the EP Cassette in late 2014, some major buzz arose. Shortly after, the group signed to Jagjaguwar and planned to release a debut in early 2015.

Though the album clocks in at only 38 minutes, each track is incredibly dense, chaotic and claustrophobic. One of the many highlights on the album is the lead single “Continental Shelf,” a melodic track that provides some of the catchiest and most ferocious rhythms I’ve heard in a long time. The experimentation on the latter half of the album, most notably the closing track “Death,” makes the album incredibly engrossing. In its most crazy moments, it’s clear that this group of musicians have studied the greats of experimental post-punk. The discordant guitars, tight drums and off-the-cuff song structures are reminiscent of This Heat, Swell Maps and even Gang of Four.

But unlike many post-punk revivalists, Viet Cong doesn’t sound like a Joy Division rip-off, rather a band that takes a love for post-punk and injects it with doses of noise rock, shoegaze and lo-fi electronics.

Its a well known fact that the indie-music community is head-over-heels for Animal Collective’s Noah Lennox. known famously as Panda Bear. His 2007 debut solo LP Person Pitch was met with critical acclaim, but the records that followed had a mixed response.

An now just weeks old, his latest LP Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper features some of the most simple and straightforward tracks that Panda Bear has ever made. The single “Mr. Noah” (previously released in 2014 on a four-track EP) is fun and experimental — filled with huge, colorful droning synths and repetitious, catchy vocals from Lennox. Sadly, it’s not as expansive or free-form as previous releases. And though the dub-influenced “Crosswords” and “Boys Latin” are colorful and intriguing, the rest of the album acts mostly as filler. Overall Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper has a nice atmosphere and vibe, although hardly his opus.

It feels like just yesterday I was writing about Ty Segall, but here we are again. Following the massive album Manipulator in September, it came as no surprise that the Californian garage-rock icon would release more music. The newest EP, Mr. Face, was released as a pair of translucent red and blue seven-inch vinyl records — which act as the first playable pair of 3-D glasses. As goofy as this marketing strategy is, its contents are exactly what you’d expect. Going back to a more raw and loose recording style, rather than the heavily produced Manipulator, Ty is back to ’60s-style garage rock that provides little surprises. All five tracks are very enjoyable, but the songwriting seems a bit haphazard. The main gripe with this small EP is that it’s apparent Segall doesn’t need to put much effort into writing a song. For Ty, the writing process for five tracks was probably just another day at the office. But that doesn’t deter from the fact that the latest release is undoubtedly fun to listen to — and a new excuse to sport 3-D glasses.

James Calvet is the music director for Radio 1190.

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