How to Destroy Angels, Welcome Oblivion (Columbia)
Trent Reznor can do no wrong. He’s most recently formed How to Destroy Angels, which is composed of his wife Mariqueen Maandig, Atticus Ross (who scored The Social Network with Reznor) and Rob Sheridan (also the group’s art director). Thankfully this doesn’t turn out to be one of those “My wife wants to make an album so I will” kinda things. It has Reznor’s signature sound all over it. Sure, no single song hits you in the face with the memorability of Nine Inch Nails’ lyrics, but that’s the warped atmospheric beauty of Welcome Oblivion. You can chill out with it, throw it on while driving or even play it as the soundtrack to fucking someone like an animal—it’s darkly sexy like that. ★★★★☆
Kate Nash, Girl Talk (Have 10p)
Kate Nash won me over with “Nicest Thing” on 2007’s Made of Bricks. But the rest of that album fell flat, as did her sophomore release, My Best Friend is You. However, the emotional rawness that first piqued my ears returns with a dose of punk on Girl Talk. Starting off strong with “Part Heart,” I was worried through the next few forgettable tracks. The bass-y simplicity of “Sister” lured me in for a few minutes, and I enjoyed “Lullaby for an Insomniac.” Though perhaps her best album on a whole (and also kinda sounds like Hole), it’s still hit and miss through the 15 tracks. ★★☆☆☆
Hectic Zeniths, Type One Era (Kitchen Dip Recordings)
The words “bedroom producer” induce cringing, but the Philadelphia-based Hectic Zeniths is an exception. Besides some seductive grooves on “Beau Geste (Extended)” and the funky “On Standby” (Parts 1 and 2), there’s also R&B sex appeal on “Beau Geste (After Midnight Mix)” with rapper Sketch Lightly. While the title track, featuring Careful, could do without pitch-shifting the vocals, the composition stands out on the instrumental version. Type One Era exemplifies an overall mastery of electronic chill through a combination of instrumentation, raw vinyl samples and original field recordings of ambient sounds. ★★★★☆
Upcoming on Deanna’s radar …
MARCH 26: Recently, I was wondering whatever happened to Dido. I found her, and she’s got a new album in the hopper titled Girl Who Got Away.
APRIL 2: I reviewed an album by Sub Teal in Vegas Seven’s January 24 issue, and she’s the angel responsible for turning me on to the Erased Tapes label—home of some of the most amazing modern-day composers. One of those talented artists is Ólafur Arnalds, and I get a feeling his next album, For Now I Am Winter, will be just as incredible as his previous work.