Laura Veirs, The Lookout (Raven Marching Band) –
On opening songs “Everybody Needs You” and “Seven Falls,” Colorado Springs native Laura Veirs examines the plight of a fragile planet. The Lookout
’s later tracks, meanwhile, suggest the ethereal nature of her earlier albums, even as husband and producer Tucker Martine steers Veirs to a more committed and concrete edge.
The Claudettes, Dance Scandal at the Gymnasium (Yellow Dog Records) –
The Claudettes, Dance Scandal at the Gymnasium
Chicago’s eclectic blues weirdos The Claudettes rely on Berit Ulseth’s soaring vocals to infuse their music with punk and rockabilly elements. For this new album, the band relied on Black Keys engineer Mark Neill to combine a Phil Spector-style wall of sound with the cheesy ambience of your high school hallways. The results, while initially puzzling, yield a dozen pesky earworm tracks.
Hot Snakes, Jericho Sirens (Sub Pop) –
Hot Snakes, Jericho Sirens
Before founding the punky Hot Snakes in 2000, the San Diego duo of Rick Froberg and John Reis played in the more frenetic Drive Like Jehu. Though Jericho Sirens
is billed as the first Hot Snakes album since 2005, the manic tenor of the 10 tracks more closely resembles a DLJ reunion, bringing a level of screaming Southern California energy that has rarely been heard since the 21st century began.