Sound Check

Metallic Falcons
Desert Doughnuts (Voodoo-EROS)

Sierra Rose Casady from CocoRosie teams up with friend Matteah Baim to comprise entrancing folk-metal arias at lullaby speed, replete with desert conception imagery of mythic proportion. Like the name of the collaborative team, Desert Doughnuts soars with atmospheric echo, evoking both Jana Hunter (who makes a guest appearance) and Dead Can Dance. Plucky guitar, bassy tom drums, and xylophone swim in layers and layers of meditative sound. Theatrically avant, Desert Doughnuts is auditory aloe – soothing and gorgeous. The cover of the album, a close-up of a face obscured by a mask of feathers, suggests a genderless dance with anonymity and power, which Metallic Falcons play so gracefully. Mila Zuo

Pink (Southern Lord)

In the loud tradition of Japanese bands like High Rise and Mainliner, Boris’ volume runs past the red and into the pink. But unlike those earlier noise progenitors, Boris adds a key ingredient to their brand of crushing distortion: meaty hooks. Once known for their doom-drone, the amplifier-worshipping trio still lays down Earthy sludge on a couple tracks, but the rest of Pink whips out the rawk. On the title cut, a vintage-metal “Oww!” arcs perfectly across a slab of manic Motörhead-esque guitar-shredding and blasts of infectious vocals, all filtered through blown-out amps and building up so much momentum for the whole album that some law of physics has got to be broken –‘cos brother, how else could riffs so heavy rock so fast? Lee Wang

The Rose has Teeth in the Mouth of the Beast (Matador)

The Rose has Teeth is Matmos’ most ambitious, spacey and well-orchestrated album to date. Comprised of sound portraits of the duo’s favorite historical figures (including William S. Burroughs and James Bidgood), this profoundly dark long-player travels from musique concrète to booty bass to Arabic ragtime psychedelia, all while utilizing the sounds and samples suited to their muses – burning flesh, semen, etc. Aside from vocal collaborations from Björk, Antony (of Antony and the Johnsons) and a troupe of others, the duo explores far more melancholic melody than they have in the past, consummating a peculiar accessibility unlike any other. Obscure.
Fred Miketa

The Raconteurs
Broken Boy Soldiers (V2)

As Jack White’s latest endeavor, the Raconteurs indeed tell a pendulous tale in their brisk, 30-minute offering to listeners. Broken Boy Soldiers is a musical adventure, at times reminiscent of a ’70s road-trip’s bluesy soundtrack, at others a delightfully modern porch-front folk jam. Leave it to White and his new foursome to unapologetically mesh layer upon layer of clashing audio treats to concoct surprisingly seamless sounds. At points psychedelic in nature, their infectious, mechanical buildups reward the listener with lyrical simplicity mingled with familiar rock and roll tradition. The Raconteurs’ debut album delivers an impulsive stylistic journey in true Jack White form. Jaime Waxman

Faun Fables
The Transit Rider (Drag City)

Drama kids bug the shit outta most sane human beings, but sometimes they touch down on something great. Faun Fables’ baroque, crazy, lavish, pagan folk operas sound like they come straight from the art-damaged brain of my 13-year-old theater-kid cousin, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. If it sounds like a play, it is. Or it was. The Transit Rider is more or less the soundtrack to a 2002 musical about being a transit rider and was written and directed by Fawn Fables’ Dawn McCarthy. Gothic creepy and hella shadowy. Good shit. Adam Gnade