Radio Club, Grizzly Spectre, The Peaces 

Local CD Reviews: The Gods of Eden, All of Them Witches, Where Spirits Grow

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Radio Club, The Gods of Eden
The debut full-length album from Radio Club (the duo of Tia Martinez and Jared Russell), made up of morose '80s-influenced dance beats and synths blanketed with Joy Division-esque gloom, would be a fitting soundtrack to a late night in a seedy, smoky club, or on a couch in a dank basement. Abrasively textured but seductive, the seven-track synth-pop/industrial EP is full of catchy pop hooks, crackling static and lurking bass lines that create a cohesively moody feel. Probably the most dance-friendly track of the bunch, "Wheels Within Wheels" starts the album on a strong, energetic note, before more languid tracks such as "Offret" and "Days of Wine and Roses"—with its particularly melancholy synths—dial things down into chilled-out territory. Lyrics are usually near impossible to make out through all the fuzz, but that just means that occasional clear snippets like "Your face is red" (from "The Monkey's Paw") are all the more mysterious. On hypnotic concluding track "Order, Tenderness & Piety," twinkling tones and chilly beats loop together unceasingly before fading to black. Self-released, Aug. 23, RadioClub.bandcamp.com

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Grizzly Spectre, All of Them Witches
Featuring vocals almost entirely obscured by veils of guitar, synthesizer and indeterminate sonic gauze, the new album from Grizzly Spectre sounds like what you'd hear if you pressed your ear against a door to a room filled with ghosts—or if a ghost attempted to listen in on the realm of the living. And Grizzly Spectre—a full band fronted by Parker Yeats, aka solo artist Grizzly Prospector—pull off this understated spookiness without resorting to hokey effects. They instead utilize droning tones to slowly build tension, burying almost all of the "lyrics" so deep that they sound like monotone chanting or moaning, not intelligible words. The four-track EP begins with the sprawling 10-minute track "remember your mortality pts. I, II," which, as the title suggests, is funereal and expansive in scope. That feeling pervades throughout the rest of the album, until "home/I'm not alone," when the floaty ambiance is shattered by a female voice suddenly whispering, "There are no witches, not really"—a line sampled from Rosemary's Baby—to jump-out-of-your-skin effect, followed by crazed hooting and cackling. Self-released, Aug. 27, GrizzlyProspector.bandcamp.com

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The Peaces, Where Spirits Grow
There are many, many moments on Vernal folk outfit The Peaces' debut album, Where Spirits Grow, that are genuinely lovely. Brigham Manwaring (guitar/vocals) and Landon Manwaring (banjo/bass/vocals) are skilled at putting together solid parts for their respective instruments that work melodiously well together, and Gio Manwaring's jangly percussion is spare but effective, keeping the focus on the songwriting and singers' voices. But those unbalanced voices often seem to compete instead of complement, weighing down beautiful melodies on tracks like "Take a Look Around" and "Lady Fame" with just-barely off-key and unnecessarily loud backing vocals. For the most part, though, Where Spirits Grow shows major potential for the band in terms of heartfelt lyrics, unabashed emotion and nuanced instrumentation. Album highlights include "Sinking Submarine," with the dreamy lyrics "Let me go where the wild things grow," and "Take a Look Around," which shines in its opening lines of "Take my body and sharpen my mind/ And pray the Lord my soul to find," sung richly and resonantly. Where Spirits Grow might not be perfect, but it's proof The Peaces are onto something significant. Self-released, Aug. 29, ThePeaces.bandcamp.com

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