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Thursday: Everest or Zomes?

| March 29, 2011

Instead of falling into the trap of the wretched sophomore slump, Los Angeles-based quintet Everest surpasses its debut (2008’s Ghost Notes) completely.

On Approach (Vapor) kicks off with the irresistible invitation of “Let Go,” with its hidden percussive treasures and indelible hook. In what can be characterized as an instant classic on the first listen, the opening number elicits deep sympathy for the album’s remaining 10 tracks. While just as loveable and through no fault of their own, the songs take on the role of redheaded stepchild. “House Of 9’s” bubbles over with a crunchy ’70s groove befitting the band’s number-one fan – Neil Young – while “Keeping The Score” melds pervasive hand-clapping with a jumpy, ants-in-your-pants wiggle.

It’s not surprising the disc enchanted the suits at Warner Bros., who snatched it up from Vapor. Frontman Russell Pollard‘s vocals swing from soothing to imploring to just plain primal. On easy-going folksy numbers, “Unfortunate Sea” and “Fallen Feather,” in addition to the lump-in-your-throat “The Rush,” Pollard takes on a Jeff Buckley sheen. Not the octave-jumping chanteuse of Grace, but the doomed introvert of Sketches For My Sweetheart The Drunk. (Thursday@Subterranean with Canasta.)

— Janine Schaults

Anthemic, heartland rock is a far cry from Asa Osborne‘s new project, Zomes, whose Earth Grid grants comfy instrumental post-rock that sounds like analog personified. The former Lungfish guitarist has built a circuitous record that involves traditional organ and drums, but presents them as if they’re modern electronics, generating droning buzzes as if filtered through a wah pedal stuck in the bass position. It’s a glacially paced, yet relaxing composition that would probably make Robert Moog very proud, if not a little jealous. (Thursday@Hideout with Skull Defekts and Mountains.)

— Steve Forstneger

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