The signs in Chris Zane’s studio couldn’t have been any clearer: “Don’t Overthink It” and one simple word—“BOLD.” Or as Asobi Seksu guitarist/singer James Hanna puts it, “This time, our agenda was to not have one at all; to be mellow about the entire process instead of obsessing over everything.” Maybe mellow isn’t the right word, unless he’s comparing the band’s fourth proper full-length (Fluorescence) to a coiled-up cobra or unconscious crocodile— temperamental types that are one false move away from striking. After all, “Coming Up” sets the scene by plowing into beehive-like synth lines and warp speed washes of dream-pop that leave you wondering just what the hell is going on. Things don’t let up on “Trails” either, as singer/keyboardist Yuki Chikudate sets her immaculate melodies against a barrage of battery-powered chords. Catchy and chaotic to the core, the sky-scraping song pays homage to the pitch-perfect songwriting of the ‘60s by chartering a yellow submarine to the moon. And when the Brooklyn-based quartet (rounded out by bassist Billy Pavone and drummer Larry Gorman) finally hits the ground, their color-saturated soundscapes don’t get dull or cold. They get even brighter, asFluorescence’s many shades shift with each passing song. That includes everything from the expansive/erratic—and yet, oh-so- poppy—prog movements of “Leave the Drummer Out There” to the weightless balladry of “Ocean,” a track that channels its title with swollen synths and beats that bob and weave through the murkiest waters around. “James likes to get a lot more abstract with the music,” says Chikudate, “So Chris (Asobi Seksu’s longtime producer) will often try and reign him in.” “I like to see how far we can take a song before pulling back a bit,” explains Hanna. “Like I’ll say that 100 vocal tracks would sound great in a spot where we only need 40.” And since Asobi Seksu have spent the past decade refining their bombastic but beautiful blend of hailstorm hooks and fog-shrouded 4AD-isms (including last year’s special acoustic album, Rewolf), they knew exactly what to do with all of that restlessness: embrace it.
FOX THE CAT
Fox The Cat is an indie rock band that consists of five close friends, all residing in Chicago, IL. The band was formed in October of 2011. Over the span of the last few months they have been writing and recording their first three songs. Everything the band creates comes from a complete collaboration between their members. As of right now, this is just the beginning for Fox The Cat. Paul has hopped on board as their drummer joining Casey on vocals, Abe on lead guitar, Jimmy on rhythm guitar, and Luke on bass. They are working hard to get more of their catchy tunes out so stay tuned and they’re sure you’ll like what you hear.
Spin.com “Sybris isn’t one of those bands with more guitar pedals than bright ideas. Having a sound is easy; Sybris has songs too, and catchy, well-crafted ones at that. The low-key “Blame it on Baseball” is a bloody valentine to early-’90s alternative rock, and “Breath Like You’re Dancing” sticks around just long enough to get stuck in your head before it explodes into cacophony. The echo isn’t there to obscure any compositional deficiencies, just to facilitate the spacey vibe. “Good Internal Clock,” the album’s climax, begins in Sybris’ native Chicago and winds up on Mars.” -Lane Brown