By Bryan Menegus and Tyler Elam
John K. Samson should be a more recognizable artist on his own, but sadly the singer/songwriter isn't. The Weakerthans front man brings forth "Provincial," an album for the people of the providence of Manitoba, Canada, by a Canadian. It's a similar aesthetic to all The Weakerthans fans, but while sounding similar, he applies more personal lyrics and ideas about his life and living in The Great White North. The song "When I Write My Master's Thesis" is worth a listen by any college student who has ever written a paper.
Gotye- Making Mirrors
Inexplicably, this record is being billed both as 80's synth pop and as Gotye's (say it with me—"go-tea-ah") first record. In reality this is an experimental and moody piece which fuses rustic and organic elements with electronic leads and Wouter De Backer's plaintive vocals. Gotye does "sad" really, really well. Granted, Making Mirrors has launched De Backer towards international acclaim, but I stand by his previous LP, Like Drawing Blood, as a superior effort with significantly less filler than this most recent outing.
RIYL: The Naked and the Famous, Kid A-era Radiohead (kind of)
Enter Shikari- A Flash Flood of Color
I wanted to hate this record. I wanted to find something to be described as "gimmicky" or "self-aggrandizing", but dammit it just isn't there. Enter Shikari jump effortlessly bar to bar between various genres of metal, IDM, electronica, and dance music. It might seem odd in theory (even though other bands pull it off; see: Genghis Tron), is there really much functional difference between a rave and a mosh pit except the percentage of people in them whole get laid regularly? Sure, you could accuse A Flash Flood of Colour of getting a little preachy, but it's done tastefully and with the best of intentions.
RIYL: Genghis Tron, Ed Gein