Review Round Up #35

PlugInMusic.com's Review Round Up feature provides five quick-fire music reviews on a weekly basis. This edition includes Twin Cities Electropunk Volume 4, Brigades Like This' "Brigades Like This," Angus & Julia Stone's "Chocolates & Cigarettes," Sil Veth's "The Elemental," and Andy Werth's "Seeing Stars."

Volume 4

Twin Cities Electropunk
“Volume 4”
(Twin Cities Electropunk 2008)

Halfway across the United States of America, midway between LA and NYC, Minneapolis is not quite Chicago but not Fargo either. With so many surrounding influences, it is a little of this and a little of that. The ongoing Twin Cities Electropunk series showcases this collaboration of sounds while still letting Minneapolis find and celebrate its individuality. From high energy party music to thoughtful political commentary, goth to aggressive, Volume 4 has variety and familiarity as those synths pulse and pound.

Sounds Like: Fifteen interpretations of electropunk

Key Tracks: Zibra Zibra - "Lions on the Astroturf"

B+
Brigades Like This

Brigades Like This
“Brigades Like This”
(Lifeboat Records 2007)

Dreamy melodies gently pound while hammering rhythms on Brigades Like This' self-titled debut album. The instrumentation varies from hushed to trippy as it builds to a full, buzzing and fuzzed out climax that resounds and reverberates with ease. The only problem is the band's vocals which, although attempting to soar over the music, end up adding a choppy irregularity that takes away from the melodies.

Sounds Like: Dreamy melodics still trying to figure it all out

Key Tracks: "Slide Away"

C-
Chocolates & Cigarettes

Angus & Julia Stone
“Chocolates & Cigarettes”
(Capitol Records 2006)

Brother and sister duo Angus and Julia Stone have already established themselves in their native Australia but the UK and US are just getting to know them. Their debut EP, "Chocolate & Cigarettes," sees the two taking turns on lead vocal duties in a tag team fashion. While Julia's light vocals are evocative and moving, it is her brother's indie singer-songwriter style that really grabs your attention.

Sounds Like: Indie singer-songwriter

Key Tracks: "Mango Tree"

B+
buy it!
The Elemental

Sil Veth
“The Elemental”
(Self-Released 2007)

The key to Sil Veth's "The Elemental" is all resting on the band's instrumentation. On the band's debut EP they may lull you into quiet submission, but the calm is short lived as drums pound and thundering electric guitars less loose a fluid tirade on your eardrums. It is with this formula of intriguing instrumental melodies that Sil Veth gently usher listeners in but by the end, "The Elemental" seems to return to exactly where it started.

Sounds Like: Pounding black metal

Key Tracks: "Storm"

C
Seeing Stars

Andy Werth
“Seeing Stars”
(Self-Released 2007)

While comparisons between Andy Werth and Wings might be a bit far fetched, it is somewhat understandable. Bright and upbeat pop tunes driven by piano or Rhodes and accented with trumpets show up on each and every one of the five tracks on Werth's "Seeing Stars" EP. While a bit repetitious and shy on pushing clear hooks, "Seeing Stars" takes a less blatantly pop approach that comes across as updated while avoiding confrontation.

Sounds Like: Likable and upbeat nice guy pop

Key Tracks: "Miss Lonely"

B-