Lewis Del Mar: Build Yourself a Technicolor Masterpiece.

2016_LewisDelMar_LewisDelMarArtist: Lewis Del Mar
Album: Lewis Del Mar
Year: 2016
Grade: B

In Brief: An interesting blend of Latin-inspired rhythms and guitar parts with indie/experimental rock sensibilities that are equal parts ambient and abrasive. Not every experiment works, but the effect of these unique ingredients coming together can be quite alluring when they get it just right.

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Calexico – Edge of the Sun: I’m not from here, I’m not from there.

2015_Calexico_EdgeoftheSunArtist: Calexico
Album: Edge of the Sun
Year: 2015
Grade: B

In Brief: As always, I enjoy the Latin music influence and the “desert noir” style. The numerous guest appearances make this one feel like a real community effort. But there’s still the pesky problem of too many “just OK” songs in the track listing, compounded by the presence of easily superior material among the bonus tracks.

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Trails and Ways – Pathology: NorCal Meets South America

2015_TrailsandWays_PathologyArtist: Trails and Ways
Album: Pathology
Year: 2015
Grade: B+

In Brief: The retro/urban/South American take on indie pop that won me over on the Trilingual EP is alive and well on the band’s first full-length LP, with a few of that EP’s highlights reprised (and one radically reimagined) here. The new songs largely follow suit, though most of them are in a mellower vein, causing the group’s otherwise addictive sound to run a little closer to the middle of the road than I was hoping for at times. Still, this is a sunny summer record with a strong south-of-the-equator flavor, and I love it for that.

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DeVotchKa – 100 Lovers: A Story of Sunshine, Swagger, and Sultry Señoritas

2011_DeVotchKa_100LoversArtist: DeVotchKa
Album: 100 Lovers
Year: 2011
Grade: A-

In Brief: DeVotchKa has a real flair for otherworldly drama. It’s hard to create compact pop albums that are this epic and thrillingly inventive, but that’s exactly what they’ve done here.

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