Yeah, this one's not even close. After being fortunate enough to attend 12 shows during Summer Tour, then 9 of 12 shows on Phish's Fall Tour (and couch touring the other three), I have to say that these sonsabitches haven't performed / improvised at this level since the legendary Fall Tour '97 / NYE Run '97 / Island Tour '98 era. With '13 NYE Run just 5 days away, we can only hope that they deliver something close to what went down from late October thru early November. STOKED BRAH.
In Russian Circles' sonic arsenal, the atmospherics are the glue that binds their whole bag of tricks together. Curtis, formerly of Secret Machines (and a touring member of Interpol), has helmed the last three (excellent) Russian Circles albums, helping to shape the band's evocative, dramatic music into something that's entirely lyrical despite being totally wordless.
This one's kinda a dark horse. It's loud and fast, which will help you keep the RPMS up. But the fact that it's scary as fuck will want to make you outrun it like it's a relentless methed-up boogeyman who's looking to get some tail. (Yours.)
Occultation - Three & Seven-- I first heard of this band when they opened for Harvey Milk at their sold-out Union Pool residency last year. This album is frickin' WEIRD, and I really can't say I've ever heard anything that sounds quite like it. The music is very much in a doom / prog vein, and although it's not really 'loud' in any traditional way that would rely on sheer volume, it's still 'heavy.' Echoey female vocals, insanely reverbed guitar, bouncy bass lines and little proggy flourishes every so often. Like I said, frickin' weird.
Best song: "Sea of Snakes and Souls."
The Raveonettes - Into the Night EP -- over the past few years, the Raveonettes have largely used their EPs as a means of experimenting; the Sometimes They Drop By EP reimagined the band as new wave / synth pop acolytes; the Beauty Dies EP introduced jazz-noir elements into their sound, and you can probably guess what Wishing You a Rave Christmas and Raveonettes REMIXED did unusually. They've taken a yet another approach on this EP by not being different; this is basically as standard a Raveonettes release as they get. You have pensive, gloomy, occasionally percussionless tracks, a standard mid-tempo number, and even a legit uptempo rave-up. By this point in their career, the band knows what they do well, and this EP does a fine job of highlighting their strengths.
Best song: "Too Close to Heartbreak" is the standout, but they're all pretty good.
The Electronic Anthology Project - The Electronic Anthology Project of Dinosaur Jr. -- Electronic Anthology Project is Built to Spill's bassist Brett Nelson reworking selections from a band's work (one full band's output is surveyed per release) against a backdrop of almost MIDI-sounding synthesizers. This approach worked better with Built to Spill's catalog than it does with Dino Jr. primarily because J Mascis' rough, hoarse vocals really kind of grate against the vintage '80s synth sounds.
Death Grips - The Money Store -- How anyone can say something like this is 'groundbreaking' or 'revolutionary' is a total fucking joke. This is absolute garbage made by spoiled attention whores.