by Apex Manor
Ross Flournoy, formerly of the Broken West, overdubs himself in the studio as Apex Manor, with help from producers Dan Long and Brian Whelan, but the secret of this highlight from AM's debut is that it sounds like all the players are together in a room, just sloppy enough to sound human, and to keep it fresh. That and the song itself: "You're a ghost in this life/A collection of unwed cells/You're a ghost in the party line" isn't something I ever figured I'd go around humming to myself, but indie rock can be as full of surprises as anything.
by the Death Set
I had the good fortune of seeing these very likable spazzes in Baltimore, one of their many hometowns—the Death Set were formed in Sydney and now live in Brooklyn—where they interspersed their own screaming party rock with brief snippets of Prince's "Kiss" and INXS's "New Sensation," which just amped things, as those songs do to everything they touch. So this cut came as a surprise even as it finished off an album that bounces between styles willy-nilly. It's straight-up mid-'80s British (or might as well be) indie pop, the kind of thing you'd expect to come out on Slumberland or Captured Tracks these days: nervous guitar picking, stick-straight drumbeat, plaintive vocal singing words that are autumnal in a way you can be only in your early 20s: "But our time might be ruined/A silly mantra/One I'd thought we'd overcome." No 7-inch seems to be in the works yet—and the album isn't out till mid-March—but it should be.
God bless music fanatics—they don't want to be caught dead saying anything so icky and horrible as the obvious. That's how you get people insisting that Interpol sound nothing like Joy Division, that the good disco is the disco only collectors know (Time Out New York's Bruce Tantum: "If you don't like 'Ring My Bell,' you don't like disco"), that "bass music" is somehow more specific a locution than "post-dubstep," and various other forms of black-is-white/up-is-down bitch-please-isms. So say it along with me: This is yacht rock—good yacht rock. "Chasing cocaine through the back rooms of the world, all right" is something Walter Becker and Donald Fagen would have come up with, though the limpid trumpet solo is straight out of the faltering-but-charming indie playbook. There—doesn't that feel better?