Trax 041013

Trax 041013

By Bliss Bowen 04/08/2014

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TEMPLES, Sun Structures  (Fat Possum): (Four stars out of five)
Must be something in the UK drinking water. From the opening bars of “Shelter Song,” it’s clear this Kettering quartet knows its Beatles from their Byrds, and a host of psychedelic ’60s rock besides. The dominant sounds here are ringing 12-string guitars and layered harmonies. Retro trendiness aside, their pop sensibilities and musicianship are solid, and intriguing tracks like “A Question Isn’t Answered” challenge rhythmic expectations. Highlights: “Shelter Song,” “Sun Structures,” “Keep in the Dark.” At the Roxy in West Hollywood Tuesday 15.

PHOEBE BRIDGERS, Killer  (self-released): (3.5 stars out of 5)
The local songwriter steps up her game with this engaging five-track EP. Teamed with producer Andrew Wells, she capitalizes on the harmonic structure and possibilities inherent in plaints like standout track “Georgia,” which she previously released in acoustic form; guitars, synths and a full rhythm section boost the swelling emotion previously conveyed only by her voice. “Chelsea” balances the sweet midtempo balladry and tougher pop-rock that span the EP’s sonic spectrum. Bridgers holds her own in either setting, but she’s most affecting when the music allows room for the quicksilver contours of her alto to be revealed. “Killer” announces her as a voice worthy of attention.

PURE X, Angel  (Fat Possum): (Three stars out of five)
Newly expanded from trio to quartet size, the Austin rockers’ third album is a resolutely dreamy enterprise, with titles — “Starlight,” “Livin’ the Dream,” “Fly Away With Me Woman,” “Wishin’ on the Same Star” — reflecting a collective gaze cast toward other realms and possibilities. Some stray phrases register, as with the quasi-philosophical “Heaven” (“You can have it anytime you want/ Heaven’s a feeling”). But the overall sound creates a more lasting, lulling impression than individual songs, making the band come off like a low-rent War on Drugs. Highlights: “Starlight,” “Rain.”

LITTLE RICHARD, Here’s Little Richard   (Specialty/Concord): (Four stars out of five)
For those of us who grew up knowing Little Richard only as a flamboyant game-show character, this nicely packaged compilation is a handy corrective. Delivered in his gospel-forged shout, Richard’s keyboard-pounding, R&B-fueled ditties “Tutti Frutti” and “Long Tall Sally” helped lay the template for rock ‘n’ roll. Presented here with 10 other tracks (plus four bonus audio and two video tracks), the recordings still retain their bawdy vigor and immediacy. Little Richard tribute at the Satellite in Silver Lake Tuesday.


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