Helge Sten

Juhani Aaltonen
Absent Without Leave
Esteban Adame
The Alvaret Ensemble
Gordon Ashworth
Atiq & EnK
Brooklyn Rider
Causa Sui
Laura Cetilia
Henrik Otto Donner
Edit Select
Farben & James DIN A4
The Green Kingdom
Alexander Hawkins
Chester Hawkins
Hydras Dream
Marsen Jules
Dominic Lash Quartet
David T. Little
Lunatik Sound System
Macdonald & Crispell
Emilia Mårtensson
Stephan Meidell
Minibus Pimps
Quentin Sirjacq
Tokyo Isolation Chamber
Christina Vantzou

Compilations / Mixes
7 Years Of Outcross
15 Shades of White
Anomalie 003 Series
The Boogie Volume 4
Ladies & Gentlemen

EPs / Cassettes / Mini-Albums / Singles
Blackstone Rngrs
Baptiste & Pierre Colleu
L'estasi Dell'oro
William Ryan Fritch
Mutated Forms
Theodore + Wurst

Blackstone Rngrs: Descendant
Saint Marie Records

Saint Marie Records perpetuates its powerful winning streak of synth-heavy noisepop releases with Descendant, a new six-tracker by Blackstone Rngrs, a trio featuring vocalist-synth player Ruth Ellen Smith, guitarist Derek Kutzer, and drummer Daniel Bornhorst. The release impresses above all else for the way the trio deftly blends multiple styles and sensibilities, among them ‘60s pop, shoegaze, punk, and New Wave, into a high-energy attack.

On its twenty-seven-minute sophomore outing (a debut EP appeared in 2012), Blackstone Rngrs wastes no time stoking dreampop fire, with “Descendant Of” lunging from the gate in a reverb-drenched firestorm of high-pitched vocals, guitar smolder, and New Wave drumming. The group has more than a few tricks up its sleeve, however, as evidenced by the psychedelic breakdown that occurs halfway through the song and the subsequent re-animation that catapults the song to its immolating close. And while the group might legitimately invite labels like shoegaze and/or dreampop, the guitar army and caustic vocalizing roaring through “You Never” suggests that something of a punk heart beats at Blackstone Rngrs' center. The stabbing six-strings flooding “Judas Tree” point the band's music in a similar direction, after which the trio cools the tempo on “Frozen Echo” for five soaring minutes of trippy instrumental dreampop. It's not easy picking a single standout track when all six are strong, but “Nights//Days,” with its Pretenders-styled bass lines, silken vocals, and galloping pulse, is definitely a leading candidate.

April 2014