Lovesliescrushing — the duo of guitarist Scott Cortez and vocalist Melissa Arpin-Duimstra — have been been releasing abstract shoegazer ambience for roughly two decades now. And when I say “abstract shoegazer ambience”, I mean that in the truest sense of the term. Points of comparison might be My Bloody Valentine, the Cocteau Twins, and perhaps even Sigur Rós at times, but Lovesliescrushing’s music goes even further, eschewing song structures altogether in favor of massive, gossamery veils of pure sound. Using nothing more than heavily manipulated guitars and treated vocals (and no synthesizers), the duo creates soundscapes that can be as foreboding and unnerving as they are beautiful and otherworldly. Lovesliescrushing’s latest release is a virtual 7″ that is free for the downloading and serves as an excellent introduction to their music. It’s not for everyone, but I find it to be a sublime listening experience.

Cut Copy

I’ve been meaning to write about Cut Copy’s Zonoscope ever since the beginning of “Grace Notes”, but have held off for one reason or another. My initial reactions to the album were a bit on the lukewarm side, and truth be told, there are still parts of the album that I find completely unmemorable. In that regard, Zonoscope feels more uneven then 2008’s In Ghost Colours, did. But Zonoscope‘s high points are so darn good, and the risks that the band takes as far as musical progression and experimentation are so much greater, that I find Zonoscope impossible to dismiss. The band doesn’t exactly shed their “classic” electro-pop sound, but rather, branches out and brings in a host of new influences (Velvet Underground, Talking Heads, even Men At Work). The result is an album that, on tracks like “Need You Now”, “Take Me Over”, “Blink and You’ll Miss a Revolution”, and especially on the penultimate track “Corner of the Sky”, bursts at the seams with an infectious spirit that that is impossible to deny.