Tapes 'n Tapes & r & & r & Walk It Off & r & & r & 4 STARS & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & B & lt;/span & y allowing Dave Fridmann control of the production board, Tapes 'n Tapes hope to follow in the footsteps of other indie luminaries (Mercury Rev, The Flaming Lips, and too many others to name here) recruiting his assistance. In so doing, the band has found an exciting new identity. Where The Loon bursts with jangly, indie brightness, Walk It Off opts to suppress such effervescence. The result is a complex, if not always successful, compression that embraces previously perceived shortcomings as different kinds of triumph.

Opener "Le Ruse" is an opaque lullaby of staccato guitar shimmer; "Conquest" must be a lost Franz Ferdinand gem; and "Headshock," for all its similarities to The Loon's "10 Gallon Ascots," offers an energetic, cathartic release through lo-fi fuzz.

Shrug off the lack of immediate accessibility and meet the band halfway. The reward will be obvious after just a few listens.


Download: "Hang Them All"

Stephen Malkmus

Real Emotional Trash


& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & O & lt;/span & n the title track to his fourth post-Pavement collection of songs, Stephen Malkmus indulges in 10-plus minutes of languid guitars and extended jams, an ebullient combination that best summarizes the highlights and lowlights of the album as a whole. As the track meanders through its first half, restraint is the guiding principle. In the second half, however, all such hesitancy flies out the window. The Who-meets-Allman Brothers jamtasmagoria increases its pacing and ends up sounding like "Squeezebox" meshing with Malkmus's own "Jo Jo's Jacket" from his first solo outing. In short, the whole thing runs off the rails in about four different ways. Most songs follow suit.

The overall busy-ness of many of the songs here just might be too much to handle for those listeners not already sold on the Malkmus godhead. For all the solid musicianship here, it just seems to be too much of a good thing.


Download: "Real Emotional Trash"

Christmas Tree Elegance @ Historic Davenport Hotel

Through Dec. 10, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
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