Everything is on fire in Fine Pets‘ No Gaze, an album that proves the C86 revival — now fully reanimated, and dancing on its predecessors’ graves — extends beyond the impressive curation of Slumberland and Captured Tracks. The Portland band uses treble like a weapon, swinging their guitar sounds to the limit without ever loosening their grip on melody’s hilt. Recommended if you like Deerhunter, the first MINKS album and damaging your hearing.
All Dogs are among the best of the non-screamy lady-led punk rockers going these days, many of whom were named in Maria Sherman’s MTV Hive round-up. They remind me of Swearin’, which is to say they really remind me of Letters to Cleo, which is to say they rule.
On their Small Sound EP, Tennis continues to build up its sound, each new release further from the gimmicky garage of the duo’s debut. Young & Old wound up being one of my most-played albums of 2012, its melodies newly undeniable over the Black Keys’ Patrick Carney’s production. Richard Swift handled their latest set, raising reasonable concerns from Jill Mapes that the band’s a producer’s vessel, but when the hooks are this good, I can’t say I care.