April Release Party


Published: April 20, 2011

Panda Bear “Tomboy” released April 12

Baltimore native Noah Lennox, aka Panda Bear, is an artist well beyond his years. At only 32, Lennox has become a staple of our generation’s musical culture. Lending his talents to the likes of the cult noise band Animal Collective, Lennox has become an uncanny force of musical genius, composing charging, electronic psychedelia, creating a separate genre all its own.

“Tomboy,” Lennox’s second solo album, is a bit darker and more isolated than his highly successful 2007 solo album, “Person Pitch.” The change in tone may be the result of Lennox holing up in a basement studio in Lisbon, Portugal during the recording process. Yet, light or dark, the album washes over you with layer upon layer of choir-like vocal harmonies and a sonic plethora of spaced-out effects.

Songs like “You Can Count on Me” and the title track, “Tomboy,” sound as if Lennox was the choir director for a mission on the newly-colonized Mars. “Slow Motion,” easily the best song on the album, combines a hip hop beat with repetitive chanting that is hypnotizing and head-bobbing. Several listens in, you’ll find yourself tapping your foot or flicking your pencil to one of Lennox’s featured beats in class. “Tomboy” is a fun album and a prime contender for the best album of 2011.

TV on the Radio“Nine Types of Light” released April 12

Similar to Panda Bear, TV on the Radio is another one of those bands today that simply can do no wrong. Their latest album, “Nine Types of Light,” borrows heavily and effectively from their previous albums which have gone from the controlled chaos of punk to electronic, funkified beats to now seducing works of art that would have Prince making it rain purple.

Singer Tunde Adebimpe is one of the most vocally versatile frontmen in the music scene today, and that ability shows throughout “Nine Types of Light.” The album takes a different direction than their albums of the past, with songs revolving around a more laid-back demeanor. “Nine Types of Light” ranges from songs like the sentimental crooner “Will Do,” to the Living Color tribute of “Caffeinated Consciousness,” to the strings-laced, slow-moving “Forgotten.”

With every listen, there is something new to discover on “Nine Types of Light,” whether it be a hidden horn section, a vocal harmony that tweaks the ear or a miniscule acoustic guitar part. An album that keeps you coming back for more is a sign of success.

Vivian Girls “Share the Joy” released April 12

The all-girl garage group is back with their fourth album, “Share the Joy,” a melodic jangling of 1960s girl-group harmonies matched with the brashness of scraping guitar work. Compared to their previous albums, which were almost drone-like, but still mesmerizing, “Share the Joy” takes the pop song on a different level and kicks it in the balls every once in awhile.

“Share the Joy” sounds well-rounded and complete; every song compliments one another nicely, creating a flow that keeps chugging along well into the last couple of tracks on the album. Vivian Girls consists of three members, but at many times they have the sound of a riot squad breaking down the doors to Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound. The band knows how to write and perform good pop songs, a dying art in our day that needs to be revived.

This is evident on songs such as “The Other Girls,” “Take It as It Comes” and “I Heard You Say.” Singer/guitarist Cassie Ramone’s vocals are child-like in her approach but work for the type of songs the Girls create. The harmonizing vocals are sun-soaked pieces of reverb madness that give the Girls a touch of The Ronettes for the 21st century.