Artist: Lost in the Trees
Album: A Church That Fits Our Needs
Go Download: “Golden Eyelids”
Loss and despair rarely come in a more beautiful form. In A Church That Fits Our Needs, Chapel Hill bred Lost in the Trees’ songwriter Ari Picker seeks to construct a musical tribute to his late mother. This album represents a stylistic evolution from the band’s previous, the more folk-oriented All Alone In an Empty House. The band has developed a distinctly more modern style complete with odd-meter shifts and a lush instrumentation that reveals some new, angelic nuance with each repeated listen. Rather than deal with the topic of his mother’s death head-on, Picker uses allegory and imagery cathartically to address grief and loss in way that eschews the morose and depressing atmosphere typical of such subject matter. Rhythm serves not only to support the songs, but as an integral part of the composition adding mood, texture and propulsion. Opener “Neither Here Nor There” exemplifies the vital role rhythm plays on this album; the consistent, almost electronic beat adds a layer of complexity and intrigue that would be lost with a more conventional cadence. The lilting “Golden Eyelids” employs a steady 3/4 groove and an undulating string section that resembles the sound of wind on a blustery day, adding an eerie counterpoint to the otherwise melodic piece. Between their updated style and Picker’s cinematic compositional style, Lost in the Trees have outdone themselves. These sweeping works of baroque pop beauty should appeal to just about anyone; fans of Radiohead, Fleet Foxes and Iron & Wine rejoice—you may have just found your album of the year so far.
— Dylan Newcity
Artist: We Shot the Moon
Album: We Are All Odd
Go Download: “Start”
The indie rock band from San Diego is back with a new album. The band’s fusion of rock, piano instrumentals and indie-themed lyrics leave little to the imagination. While Fear and Love is still the most popular album they have produced, We Are All Odd is quickly gaining popularity. With the addition of three new members in the band since the last album was released, a new sound has been added, allowing a more broad strain of instruments to integrate into its music. “Start” has a theme of losing yourself along the way, as some teenagers do when transitioning through high school. If you like bands like Eyeshine or The Script, you should really check out this band.
— Morgan Yigdal
Artist: The Fooligans
Album: Love Songs for the Apocalypse
Go Download: “Devilip”
Originating in Carrboro, this band provides an electric sound of raw powerful punk mixed with mellow beats and southern rock. With an appropriate title of Love Songs for the Apocalypse, for all those believers of the Mayan calendar, the songs on this album have bleak despair tunes without the sappy clichéd romantic lyrics. The band’s sound resembles bands such as The Flaming Lips and Deer Tick, even sounding like Led Zeppelin on some levels of their music. The band’s ability to improvise lets listeners have a new experience with their songs when they are sung live. If you don’t buy their music, see them live and experience their mystifying performance.
— Morgan Yigdal