For a 24-year-old Dutchman, Jacco Gardner sounds like he learned a lot from the 1960’s American scene. Cabinet of Curiosities is by turns lush and stark, and Gardner makes full use of his multi-instrumental talents. The lyrics are opaque and point up the meandering, ethereal nature of the album: on “Chameleon,” he explains, “I want to float away, but all these clouds just look the same.” He doesn’t tell us much about himself, but the music is compelling all the same. We like “Puppets Dangling” and “Clear the Air.”
Rado and France, two guys who get up on stage in their pajamas and yell “Digital!” and “Analog!” at each other, make psychedelic pop that is infectious and, for the most part, seriously catchy. Foxygen made waves with their Take the Kids Off Broadway EP, and Ambassadors is getting the recognition it deserves. France on the album, its reception, and Foxygen’s M.O.: “‘It just sounds like some ’60s bullshit and looks like Wes Anderson.’ But that’s the point. We’re trying to bring a little fun, a little color.” Bring it on, guys! We love “No Destruction,” “San Francisco,” and “Shuggie.”
Jarrod Quarrell, aka Lost Animal, is an Australian who spent a lot of time growing up in Papua New Guinea. Perhaps that explains his album title, or perhaps it helps explain all the musical influences Quarrell stirs into the cauldron of Ex Tropical: calypso, dub, funk, disco — and then there’s lounge, trip-hop, and just about anything else you can name. Lost Animal’s singing is both “sleazy and sincere,” to quote one reviewer, and I would also add “hypnotic” to the mix. For a good challenge, try listening to “Buai Raskol” and not loving the marimba. A big thank you to Hardly Art for releasing this album worldwide! We love “Say No to Thugs,” “Buai Raskol,” and “Don’t Litter.”
Library of Sands’ Side to Side EP 3 comes from a man named Naynay Shineywater. What do we know about him? Apparently, he has lived in a tent for 19 years, and he is an activist for preserving deserts, forests, and Native American cultural sites. We’re down with the anti-corporate message, as well as the fuzzy desert sounds that “N. Shineywater” offers. Side note: this is the latest in a string of tape cassettes we are receiving at the station. What’s with that? Not complaining, though. We like “Crown of CreatIIIon” (heads up: this song is 23 minutes long).