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  • Hear the latest from Protomartyr on CU-Boulder's Radio 1190.

    Angel Ceballos / Courtesy photo

    Hear the latest from Protomartyr on CU-Boulder's Radio 1190.



Halloweek and Locals Live

•Tune in to Radio 1190 to hear spooky songs wedged between rotation songs this week and listen for a chance to win Radio 1190 T-shirts, concert tickets and vinyl records. •Radio 1190 will be hosting another Locals Live show at Buchanans Coffee Pub on the Hill tonight where Tayler Doyle (of Denver’s The Kinky Fingers) will be performing solo material.

Detroit-based post-punk act Protomartyr has churned out drunken and heartfelt rock music since 2012, but on the third album, The Agent Intellect, the group explores darker subjects with melodic, yet self-deprecating sound.

Vocals from Joe Casey are deep and sloppy, but still carry honesty and emotion; much of the lyrical content focuses on the unexpected loss of his father. The subject matter may be dark, but Casey keeps it vague enough to be relatable and cathartic.

What the band does best on this record is mix dark themes and styles with hyper-melodic guitars and bass lines. Though this album may not be much of a change from the band’s last, it’s still incredibly catchy and memorable enough to make it hard to determine which is the superior album — if there is one.

If you’re familiar with the loosely defined genre of “indie rock,” you’ve probably heard of Deerhunter. After prior successful albums (2008’s Microcastle and 2012’s Halcyon Digest), frontman Bradford Cox and company have become the indie darlings of the mid-to-late 2000s.

Though Deerhunter is well known for being sloppy, cathartic and strange, new album Fading Frontier is anything but. The lead single “Snakeskin” is a clean and polished interpretation of the band’s sound and its steady stomp and melodic call are reminiscent of Cox’s solo work as Atlas Sound. In the past, Deerhunter took simple pop structure, fused it with shoegaze or eerie softness and made it work. However, through the new album’s nine tracks, little to none of them truly stand out as personal or emotive works of art. Without the collaborative efforts of former guitarist Frankie Broyles, the group seems afraid to think outside the box. Though Fading Frontier works as a solid pop album, with a legacy so prolific as Deerhunter’s, it’s also a disappointment and a step in the wrong direction.

This year, California’s Deafheaven released its fourth album, New Bermuda, and much like 2013’s musically controversial Sunbather, the latest album opens with bone-crushing blast beats, tremolo-picked guitars and shrill, shrieking vocals. However, once things start to climax, the band opts for an awkward fade out while the vocals are still shrieking full-force, then transitioning into a clunky piano interlude. Thankfully, the second song sports a jittery, chunky guitar intro, a la Master Of Puppets-era Metallica, then evolves into a melodic, post-hardcore influenced grind.

Though the album doesn’t do anything bad, the middle tracks feature a business-as-usual sound for Deafheaven, teetering between major and minor key tonalities. Sadly, the final track, “Gifts of the Earth,” is the weakest. After the usual metal grind, the track takes a grunge turn — similar to late-career Pearl Jam. Unfortunately, the lack of experimentation, production and style choices keep New Bermuda a good album, from being as great as their previous efforts.

James Calvet is Radio 1190’s music director. Read more reviews: coloradodaily .com/columnists.

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