Wyndel Hunt

(Chapel Performance Space) [Hunt] records for Yann Novak's Dragon's Eye Recordings, the former Seattle/current L.A.—based stronghold of rarefied, often academically rigorous and field-recording-enhanced ambient music. Over four full-lengths, Hunt has produced enigmatic tracks that embrace qualities of both noise and tone poetry, abrasion and tranquility. His latest CD, Sunshine Noir, as the title implies, further hones his frequently paradoxical sound. The track "Invisible Hand Revealed: Iron Fist" begins with tidal shore lapping and the roar of a vacuum cleaner the size of a Boeing 787. It gradually builds in intensity until you feel as if you've entered a hangar in which hundreds of helicopters are idling. It's alarmingly exhilarating. DAVE SEGAL

See also: Data Breaker

The Big Pink, A Place to Bury Strangers, Grave Babies, io echo

(Neumos) A Place to Bury Strangers provide that Jesus and Mary Chain/My Bloody Valentine fix that many melodic-noise junkies crave. The Brooklyn band's surging waves of fx'd-to-hell guitars played at ego-obliterating volume deliver an intense rush, while the slyly buried alluring hooks in their sonic tornadoes give listeners something to grab on to. London duo the Big Pink—who sound nothing like the Band LP after which they're named—have their moments of shoegaze glory, too, but they tend to pour too much sugar into the elixir. Their 2009 album on 4AD, A Brief History of Love, often bathes in late-Verve/Richard Ashcroft—ian melodrama, but the Big Pink do have a winning way with an earworm-y chorus, as the orchestral, big-beat bombast of "Dominos" proves. DAVE SEGAL

The Clientele, the Wooden Birds, Surf City

(Tractor) The reviews of early Clientele records uniformly talk about reverb and space and atmosphere; the reviews of their later albums all attempt to come to grips with the loss of those traits while still singing the band's praises. To this latecomer to the band, with no wistful nostalgia in tow, their most recent album, Bonfires on the Heath, sounds like fine, spacious indie pop, with lots of piano, some distant echoing slide guitar and muted string arrangements, and always lead singer Alasdair MacLean's sighing, reclining voice. It's mostly mellow stuff, but Bonfires also offers the slight funk twitch of "Share the Night." Throughout, seasons and times of day and their attendant shades of light color the album (apparently another classic Clientele touch). I'm sure I'm missing out on their most mind-blowing album, but Bonfires on the Heath seems as good a place as any to pick them up. ERIC GRANDY

Mike Watt & the Missingmen, Lite, Sandrider

(Chop Suey) After more than a decade performing together in Akimbo, Jon Weisnewski and Nat Damm are pretty much incapable of writing a rock song that doesn't just pummel your face. Over a year ago, the two started Sandrider, with Weisnewski on guitar and Jesse Roberts from the Ruby Doe on bass, and right out of the gate they sounded like heavy, propulsive, polished gold. Unfortunately, they've only played a handful of shows since then, and they are still looking for a label to release the seven tracks they recorded with metal hit-maker Matt Bayles. They've been off the radar for the last several months, so it's good to see them jumping on bills again. Those of us who caught the first taste have been waiting patiently for another round. JEFF KIRBY

Magma Festival: Emeralds, Cold Lake, Council of Lions, Agatha, My Parade, Elissa Bail

(20/20 Cycle) Hollow Earth Radio's annual Magma Festival roils into its second week with a show billed as "Not Yr Average Hetero Honkytonk: NW Queercore 2010." What sounds like an incredibly boring Evergreen State College senior thesis should actually make for a pretty kick-ass punk show. Bellingham trio Council of Lions play endearingly shambolic indie pop in the rough style of Beat Happening, only more rocking and with more riot-grrrl growl than Calvin Johnson could convincingly put on. Cold Lake swallow microphones and barf up throat-burning bile apparently aimed at some of my favorite subjects—internet shit-talk, Vampire Weekend—all over a background of propulsive rhythms, blown-out basement punk thrash, and the odd hardcore breakdown. Emeralds make metal that shifts from lurching, slo-mo sludge to fast-charging gallops to almost bluesy riffing, with vocals that would be over-the-top if they weren't so compellingly distant and strained. ERIC GRANDY

Helladope, Mash Hall, Candidt, State of the Artist, Dev from Above

(Nectar) Beacon Hill's Helladope are not only connected to that stream of music that Kodwo Eshun calls "sonic fiction" (the musical version of science fiction) but are also plugged into the deeper currents of the local scene. This is made evident by their collaboration with Raijnii on "Mind Shiftin," a short but flawless work of post-underground hiphop. (Yes, we have moved beyond the underground moment, which has its capital in Los Angeles—the indie/corporate tension or dialectic that determined the underground has now lost much of its explanatory powers.) Helladope have successfully inserted Raijnii's militancy (reminiscent of his work with 500 Years) into a first-rate realm of sonic fiction. CHARLES MUDEDE

Virgin Islands, Hot River, Wow and Flutter, the Know

(Black Lodge) Composed of singer/guitarist Mike Jaworski (the Cops), drummer Aaron Ball, bassist Chuck Keller, and guitarist Chris Meyer, Virgin Islands make heads-down, meat-and-taters rock and roll that is as immune to music-genre mutations as black Wayfarer horn-rimmed spectacles. A certain sector of the Western world will always need bands like this—music that evokes the Clash, if they recorded for SST in 1986. With this kind of sound, passion, guts, memorable riffs, and vocal conviction are all important, and Virgin Islands possess all these qualities—plus the panache to make them not seem hoary. Their songs aim for a roughly artful combination of masculine tunefulness and stinging noise, and they hit the target more often than not. DAVE SEGAL

And there's always more in our complete music calendar listings.