The Salt, the Sea & the Sun God; Andrew Maguire's Art Project; Cub Country 

Local CD Reviews: It's All for You, Artsy as Fuk, Repeat Until Death

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The Salt, the Sea, and the Sun God, It's All for You
It doesn't seem possible that It's All for You, the debut album from experimental-rock trio The Salt, the Sea, and the Sun God, was created with earthly instruments like guitar, piano, bass and percussion. This wild music's spacey strangeness must come from someone also whaling on a flimmerlute, rokkorsnak or some other kind of alien-made instrument; if not, The Salt, the Sea, and the Sun God are insanely inventive. The 12-track album kicks off on a deceptively dreamy note with the instrumental "-It's-," which wastes no time morphing into blistering rock, followed by "I Know I Do," which sounds a bit like Modest Mouse going off the deep end. Album highlights include the alternately grooving and thrashing "Love Snake Tongue"—with its backing vocals that sound like creepy children singing—the catchy "Wandering Wonder" and the slow-burning "Heavy Stone," which is close to the sonic equivalent of chewing on tinfoil. It's All for You might melt some brain cells, but it's worth it. Self-released, Aug. 30, TheSaltTheSeaAndTheSunGod.bandcamp.com

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Andrew Maguire's Art Project, Artsy as Fuk
With its way of swinging from talk-singing to hoarse-throated, Gordon Gano-esque yelps that seem to be colored with barely restrained madness, Andrew Maguire's voice is the sarcastic, sardonic heart of Artsy as Fuk, the darkly humorous debut album from Andrew Maguire's Art Project. And the album's diverse musical styles—which range from psych-tinged Western rock to insistent punk—are fitting backdrops for that versatile voice, with instrumentation that's solidly executed but also unpretentiously ragged. The first topic to be skewered by Maguire is mindless social media on opening track "Selfie," which features Spaghetti Western-style guitar chords that crash grandly against a lurking bass line as Maguire sings about attempting to live up to social expectations. Album highlight "I Know Everything About You" is largely unadorned—just rubber-band-tight percussion and simple guitar—to let Maguire's wordy, biting tirade against self-involved teenagers take center stage. The forced-fun feel of "Depression" is a perfect match for the subject matter—like the "happy mask" people often wear when things are shitty. If only Artsy as Fuk were longer. Self-released, June 11, Soundcloud.com/AndrewMaguire-3

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Cub Country, Repeat Until Death
The latest album and swan song from Cub Country, Repeat Until Death, brings the Americana/alt-country band's journey to a satisfying and somewhat wistful close. A side project of former Jets to Brazil bassist Jeremy Chatelain, Cub Country is skilled at exploring every corner of the country "box" and testing those boundaries, and that's also true on this album, which is filled with twangy guitar work and mournful lap steel. The upbeat, rootsy rock of "You Want It All" cozies up with slower, slightly melancholy songs like "You're Never Lonely When You Have a Plan," which pairs well with the waltzing balladry of "A Bird at Sea." Chatelain has some impressive songwriting skill at work here, especially the piercing lyrics of "Best Friend," about the ending of a longtime romance: "But that best friend finds another/ Someone who has all the answers/ A special one who loves them just a little more." What's probably the only weak spot is "Mute," with a not-so-great vocal melody. Here's hoping that even though Cub Country might be done, Chatelain isn't. Self-released, Aug. 18, CubCountry.bandcamp.com

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