Neck of the Woods

On their two previous discs, this L.A. band tapped into the shoegaze majesty of peak Smashing Pumpkins and My Bloody Valentine. There's a little more digital burble coursing underneath the guitar haze this time out. Dance beats undergird the Pumpkins power-pop of "Gun-Shy Sunshine" and "Busy Bees," while songs like "The Pit" recall the sheer, synthed-up alt-rock Garbage made big in the Nineties. It could be a blurry Xerox of old sounds, but singer-guitarist Brian Aubert infuses his songs with wispy drama, balancing moppy-haired brooding and bright, bracing fuzz-drunk melodies. On "Dots and Dashes (Enough Already)," he invites us to look into his "scrapbook of fantasies." They're all borrowed, but he makes each nicked noise his own.

Listen to 'Neck of the Woods':

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