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The Eastern Sea, Field Studies, Carved by Glaciers, Edward the Magnificent, Newfangled

The Eastern Sea, This Will Destroy You, Lymbyc Systym, Wine & Revolution, and La Snacks

Reviewed by Austin Powell, Fri., Feb. 13, 2009

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The winter chill emitted from the Eastern Sea's eponymous debut makes for a perfect seasonal soundtrack. The five-song collection plays out like a series of frozen snapshots from Garden State, painted with Matthew Hines' poignant imagery, and a bell/whistle ornamentation that suggests Sufjan Stevens. Perhaps the only misstep is the jarring guitars on "The Floor," which momentarily interrupts the narrative flow. Tourmates This Will Destroy You and Lymbyc Systym find common ground on their split EP, Field Studies (Magic Bullet), produced by the Paper Chase's John Congleton. The former inches toward Godspeed You! Black Emperor grandeur in the 11-minute "Brutalism & the Worship of the Machine," while the latter ebbs and glows through three new largely electronic soundscapes, but it would've been nice if the two groups met halfway on a song or two. Magic Bullet also reissued Lymbyc Systym's 2005 breakthrough, Carved by Glaciers, with two bonus remixes that find Her Space Holiday transforming the glitch pop atmospherics of "1000 Arms" into a post-rock starburst and the American Analog Set stripping and slowing down "Selamat Pagi" into a hypnotic lullaby topped by Andrew Kenny's hushed vocals. Relative newcomers Wine & Revolution offer six gritty garage pop tunes by way of introduction on Edward the Magnificent. The local quartet bops and weaves in all the right places, revisiting the 1960s mod scene on "Eager to Sail" and "Coming Attraction," even as catchy standout "Left Up to the Sea" tackles the modern romance of Franz Ferdinand. La Snacks' sophomore EP, Newfangled, on the other hand, doesn't offer much to chew on, only slack-jawed and cynical indie rock led by wordsmith Robert Segovia. At their best, the fourpiece rekindles Brighten the Corners-era Pavement but with only a fraction of the guitar chops and lyrical prowess.

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