GHOST & THE CITY
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A Sazerac is a drink, traditionally associated with New Orleans, that contains absinthe and is known as one of the first cocktails. It’s a much better reference point for Ghost & the City’s music than the contingent with which the band is associated, which is composed primarily of perpetually smiling, dancing bands such as Picture Atlantic and Man in Space. Though Sazerac isn’t quite as bleak as the group’s self-titled 2009 debut, it’s still a gloomy half-hour of dark, almost operatic jazz-rock. The band is strongest when wallowing in the fog, but the album’s best song, “Drift On,” is an almost uplifting boy-girl duet. A high point is the grisly instrumental “All These Chandeliers,” which conjures images of lamplit streets, dancing skeletons, and, yes, chandeliers.
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Speaking of boy-girl duets, San Francisco duo/couple Rented Heroes have served up a nice dollop of chemistry with their new song “Drop D.” Cindy Labota and Izzy Cordova have never sung together on recordings before, but their first time shows a highly effective pairing. The two don’t so much duet as have a conversation in unison, musing to each other over a loping, flanged guitar riff. Though they don’t have much good to say about each other on this particular song, they sound a lot closer than they perhaps realize.
Following last year’s excellent Urbanites EP, bizarro noise-rock crew Line Squire have released an EP of guitar instrumentals. There’s not much to catch the listener’s attention here, but “Bows (Garage Version)” is an interesting psychedelic jam that deserves a listen.