Symbiotic Recommends: 10 Albums – February 2014


by Jericho Cerrona March 6, 2014

Temples "Sun Structures"

"Shelter Song"

There's been a whole rash of psych-rock revivalists as of late, but UK four-piece Temples have crafted one of the best in the genre with Sun Structures, a delirious blend of 1960's vocal harmonies, 12-string guitar, and psychedelia that evokes The Beatles and Marc Bolan without feeling like a patronizing rip-off. Nostalgia of the best kind.

Sick Thoughts "Terminal Teen Age"

"Blood Red"

16-year-old Baltimore native Drew Olsen has made one of the purest, most visceral DIY punk albums in quite some time with his one-man debut Terminal Teen Age. It's all power chords, muddled yelping, and blown out walls of dissonant fuzz, as if the ghost of 80's-era Oblivians and Jay Reatard's back catalog got into a drunken fist fight. Great riffs, and lots of youthful rage.

East India Youth "Total Strife Forever"

"Dripping Down"

With nods to the work of Brian Eno and Steve Reich, William Doyle has ditched the indie rock trappings of his former band Doyle & The Fourfathers for a trip into melodic electronica as East India Youth. Total Strife Forever, beyond being a nifty Foals pun, is laptop experimentation of the highest order; all hypnotic synths, cacophonous drone, acid-house beats, and magnificent crescendos. Wondrous abstract pop music spanning outward into the digital ether.


Damien Jurado "Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son"

"Silver Timothy"

Singer/songwriter Damien Jurado has finally abandoned the days of sparse acoustic folk and fully embraced his inner psychedelic muse, crating a spiritual sequel to 2012's masterful Maraqopa with lush, and dub-influenced, instrumentation that beautifully accentuates his falsetto harmonies. More buzzing keyboards and wafting reverb than gentle finger-picking, and probably the most ambitious Jurado release yet.

The Sweets "Greatest Hits"

"Hard to Tell"

Ramshackle pop courtesy of Zach Romeo and Justin Hrabovsky from Salem NC, whose penchant for jaunty melodies and sloppy garage rock is splattered over the course of 18 tracks on this limited edition cassette release. It's all recorded in appropriately lo-fi fashion with catchy tunes, especially on the rollicking, Strokes-influenced gem "Hard to Tell." Infectious and essential stuff.

Cymbals "The Age of Fracture"

"The Natural World"

This London four-piece fit in nicely with the recent surge of 80's-inflected dance/pop artists toiling in the digital world, and on their second album The Age of Fracture, they deliver a dense combination of Britpop, Human League-esque new wave and droning synthesizers that will make even the most cynical detractor of this style of music bob their head and move their feet.


Helms Alee "Sleepwalking Sailors"


Seattle trio Helms Alee might not be the nastiest metal band on the planet, but their ability to combine melody and heaviness reaches majestic heights on their latest opus Sleepwalking Sailors. The songs ebb and flow in cinematic movements here, with syncopated guitar riffs, sludgy bass, and tortured wails working in perfect harmony. Atmospheric doom-pop metal for fans of Torche and Baroness.


designer//bbigpigg "Split cassette with bbigpigg"

"Deer Point (Designer)"

Two noise-punk bands get together and unleash a split cassette of varying degrees of glorious abrasiveness, courtesy of Bufu Records. In between shards of squealing guitars, manic yelling, and blown out speaker dissonance, there's actually some pretty catchy songwriting. Boston's Designer and Brooklyn's bbigpigg more or less make angular post-punk mayhem that's clearly geared towards damaging your eardrums.



Jae X Cohen "Pennies+"


Producer Cohenbeats and rapper Jeremiah Jae have collaborated on what they have tagged "a series of short, sometimes improvised ideas and concepts." Whatever they want to call it, there's no doubt that the resulting EP is stellar left-field hip-hop chock full of jazzy psychedelic production and highlighted by Jae's relaxed flow.

Clearance "Greensleeve "7"


Let's get all the inevitable Malkmus comparisons out of the way right off the bat. Yes, Clearance invoke Pavement, but this isn't just "dad rock" for the hipster crowd. On their latest "7 Greensleeve, the Chicago band give the whole college rock tag a revitalizing jolt of energy and playful lyricism, resulting in a melancholy dash of 90's nostalgia that retains its own identity.