Before the heat comes rampaging back, best shoehorn in some hometown record-release concerts before you sweat out more of your brains. Panoramic & True and Xoe Wise have some fine albums to sell.
I hate to be so lame as to hold up a band name — which is often chosen for the pure utility of designating a project and ends up sticking out of laziness — but with Panoramic & True you basically get the wide-lens chamber-rock experience rendered live with enough musicians to accurate reproduce it. Wonderlust is no exception: if ever songs are lovingly arranged, P&T shove tongue down their throats. It’s not all fey indie-pop stuff, either: “A Week Of Good Health” turns on the Television, “Dakota Child” some Loaded-era Velvets, and the keening “No Hurt, No Doubt” packs some surprising dirt under its nails for a cut that dies out with a violin elegy. (Friday@Hideout with Arc In Round.)
The temptation to get all patriarchal with Xoe Wise is fairly strong. Every photograph of her resembles a cloying ad for a “be natural!” teen product, and the song titles on Archive Of Illusions: “Your Love,” “How Did We Kiss,” “Nighttime Doves.” Right? There’s even a cover of Mazzy Star’s take-my-virginity potion “Fade Into You.” But where Hope Sandoval’s original vocal felt like one low, orgasmic exhale, Wise treats her own with a crisp self-harmony that paints her as an outsider — lonely, maybe even a stalker. It’s a somewhat jarring effect that survives the whole album, and tells you that even if she’s an ideal candidate to sell makeup, there’s a lot of trouble behind her facade. (Friday@Schubas with Duck & Goose and Little Light.)
– Steve Forstneger
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