King of Spain
All I Did Was Tell Them the Truth and They Thought It Was Hell
How 'bout that title, huh? While perhaps not the most concise intro to the Tampa duo of Matt Slate and Daniel Wainright, the mouthful of an album name does at least accurately convey the plodding tempo and occasional inelegance of the one-time instrumental act's venture into narrative synth-pop. Tracks like "Green Eyes" and "Perception" illustrate just how keen a pop sense King of Spain can wield, but other songs, especially the five-minute title opus, slow the proceedings to a nearly adult-contemporary crawl. – Justin Strout
The Complete Studio Recordings 1972-1982 [box set]
Yeah, sure, these remasters are great, and the box and the thick-stock LP-sleeve reproductions are beautiful. But whatever. If you don't already know how great these albums are, get past your coke-glamour preconceptions and understand that this was art-rock writ large by one of the few bands that successfully straddled the '70s and '80s via natural evolution. The two discs of bonus material make this set an essential purchase. – Jason Ferguson
Wild Nothing was born of a recession coupled with streaming access to the entire history of music. The term shoegaze is too broad to describe a new batch of bedroom artists forced into solipsism by a stagnant job market; these guys keep their eyes so low they look backward. Jack Tatum still takes cues off the '80s with his sophomore effort, but he hits the dimmer switch on sunny C86 jangle-pop. Listening to Nocturne is like wearing Wayfarers at night – you simultaneously close in on yourself and look out into the darkness. That darkness will look back, and you'll be singing the Smiths for days. – Allie Conti
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