Reviews: Fox and the Law, Le Wrens, The Shivas

*Daily Benson, Daily Benson (out now, self-released, dailybenson.bandcamp.com): It’s spring, which means senior projects at Roosevelt High are being completed. Daily Benson’s comes in the form of an EP recorded and produced in her family studio. Forgoing help from musician/dad Robb Benson, Daily recorded and produced these four songs herself, simple acoustic melodies laced with lyrics like “Maybe you’re in love with a ghost” on “Anyway,” hinting at the angst so indicative of her age. Yet she shows more maturity on “How to Write a Song”: “After every song I write/I learn to write again,” proving you might actually learn something useful in high school.

Arrington de Dionyso’s Malaikat dan Singa, Open the Crown (out now, K Records, krecs.com): Hearing de Dionyso’s throat singing for the first time can be a bit jarring, but added to the yelps and chants over this trancy world music, the whole album starts to make sense.

Fox and the Law, Sleep With the Lights On (out now, self-released, foxandthelaw.bandcamp.com): Distorted vocals and big, bluesy riffs reign supreme on this three-song EP as garage-rockers FATL somehow make Sleep With the Lights On as energetic as their live show.

Le Wrens, Don’t Forget Me EP (May 3, self-released, lewrens.bandcamp.com): Despite having Seattle folk darling Noah Gundersen (brother of three-fifths of the band) as producer, Le Wrens is distinct in its own youthful fury. Elizabeth Gundersen’s vocals turn heart-wrenching lyrics into honey as she croons on the title track: “We will never be together/But we will always love each other.”  Throw in ethereal harmonies, and you’ve got four stirring examples of how pretty angst can sound. (Fri., May 3, Fremont Abbey Arts Center)

Magnetic Circus, “Evil” (out now, self-released, magneticcircus.bandcamp.com): If “Evil” is any indication of how Magnetic Circus’ soon-to-be-released EP will sound, then listeners can expect a ton of psychedelic guitar, thumping percussion, and plenty of melodic garage-rock vocals. (Sat., May 4, White Rabbit)

Midnight Salvage Co., Neon Lights (May 10, self-released, midnightsalvageco.com): A tidy package of catchy folk/pop/blues numbers marked by self-reflecting lyrics and extraordinarily tight playing from the band. The highlight of the record, however, is Bryan Kiehl’s guitar, which he expertly, effortlessly weaves throughout each track. (Fri., May 10, Jazzbones, Tacoma)

The Shivas, Whiteout (out now, K Records, krecs.com): The members of this Portland-based quartet are so spot-on with their pretty harmonies and undeniably catchy, psychedelic beats, you’d swear they still have their ticket stubs from Woodstock. In reality, these four can’t yet grab a beer after a show.

Swamp Meat, Elephant Graveyard (out now, self-released, swampmeat.bandcamp.com): A new take on ’60s psychedelic pop, Graveyard is all at once expansive and controlled. The first track, “Snake Eat Self,” is reminiscent of some of Hendrix’s trippier soundscapes like “1983 . . . (A Merman I Should Turn to Be),” while the following number, “Katie’s Farm,” is more of an upbeat rendering of the classic-pop mold.

Vaudeville Etiquette, Debutantes (out now, self-released, vaudevilleetiquette.com): Led by twangy vocals and a thumping upright bass, this tightly arranged newgrass sampler is a cocktail of rock, jazz, and blues—steeped in SoCo. (Wed., May 22, Tractor)

 
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