• Courtesty photo

    Canadian shoegazers, No Joy, is back with its third album.

  • Courtesy photo

    Israeli dream-pop act Vaadat Charigim is now playing on Radio 1190.

  • Courtesy photo

    Jenny Hval's latest alubum on Radio 1190.

of

Expand

Volunteer with CU’s Radio 1190

Head to Radio1190.org and check out HD live streams, as well as album and concert reviews — including new ones from Speedy Ortiz & Alex G at Denver’s Larimer Lounge show last month and reviews of both the Holly Herndon and Surfer Blood albums. If you would like to start writing or volunteering for Radio 1190, email Elijah at elijah@radio1190.org.

Radio 1190 is in its solid summer routine swing with these following albums currently spinning in rotation.

Off the heels of a recent record-label switch to Sacred Bones, singer-songwriter Jenny Hval has released her most experimental and challenging record to date. Though some tag Hval as freak-folk, the instrumentation she incorporates on her fifth album is nearly absent of acoustic guitar and piano. In fact, the spoken-word driven record mainly features just a synthesizer and drone.

The first track is spoken-word piece that cryptically touches on sexuality and fetishism over a warm, dark drone that stops suddenly and poses the question: “What is soft dick rock?” From that moment, either the listener can decide whether or not they’re to take the journey into the world of Apocalypse, Girl.

The album is of course rooted in art-rock, but has tinges of slow-churning downtempo beats and even spooky PJ Harvey-esque ballads. Even though the tracks are well composed, the concept of the album is the focal point. The themes touch on sexual deviance, the psychological effects of capitalism and consumerism, as well as mass media in America.
The messages shine
clearly to make this an sound like an otherworldly record with down-to-earth lyrics and themes. The dense and droney aspects may make it hard to digest for some, but with repeated listens, this challenging record becomes rewarding.

Southern California’s Burger Records has staked its reputation as a label that puts out a lot (and I mean a lot) of silly slacker-punk records. But every know and then, it releases something out of left field, like the Israeli dream-pop act Vaadat Charigim. The group’s sophomore album , Sinking as a Stone, translates directly from Hebrew to “The Boredom Sinks In.” The album is sung in Hebrew, which really makes no difference — it’s apparent that the album isn’t meant to be vocally driven, but instead, lead by emotion.

Sinking as a Stone focuses on slow and swirling rhythms with ocean-sized guitars and drums that sound epic, but aren’t necessarily uplifting. The mood is dark, but not self-destructive — it’s somewhere in the realm of a bored or apathetic mood. The sound is reminiscent of Slowdive, but features deeper vocals akin to Matt Berninger (of The National). Each track is solid, timeless and well-thought out, unlike most releases on Burger. Although the album does not have enough variety in mood and style to make it a masterpiece, Sinking as a Stone has the musicianship, mood and feel to satisfy any shoegaze enthusiast.

Canadian shoegaze act No Joy started making waves in 2009 and has released a string of solid albums since. This year the duo released its third album More Faithful on the Mexican Summer label. Though the record is the typical mix of breathy and hypnotizing voice and guitar repetitions, No Joy is not afraid to quickly jump from genre to genre.

Though the track “Everything is New” could begin as a Cocteau Twins-esque crooner, the overlapping vocals and repetitious keyboards sound closer to a Yo La Tengo mantra. The track “Hollywood Teeth” is a noise-punk burner with enough effects in the vocals to sound like shoegaze act, A Sunny Day in Glasgow. Each of the tracks on More Faithful are enjoyable, but they could be a bit too sweet and poppy for the shogaze and noise-pop connoisseur. Though the band’s earlier albums may be more mind-bending and satisfying, More Faithful is still a great soundtrack to the melancholic side of summer.

James Calvet is Radio 1190’s music director.