Quick Review (LP): In Light by Givers

In Light
Glassnote; 2011

My Rating: A- (81/100)

Best Tracks: "Meantime", "Saw You First", "Ceiling of Plankton", "In My Eyes", "Atlantic"

Talking Heads, Nawlins-style.


  • Hyper-creative without being hyper-active.
  • Sound is similar to Vampire Weekend, with the addition of female vocals and, in general, a larger wall of sound.
  • Love the reggae plus post-punk rhythm section they have going on. The angular guitars are a nice touch too.
  • "Up Up Up" is a cool tune, but does come off like a novelty. I envision a Sesame Street performance soon.
  • I dig it when these kids hit a groove: "Meantime", "Saw You First", "Ceiling of Plankton."
  • "In My Eyes" is fantastic. Is it a bit of dissonance that gives it that sound?
  • "Atlantic" changes things up really well. Gorgeous opening.
  • Nice strings on the closer, "Words." More strings on the next album please.
  • Tiffany Lamson has a great smoky/sultry voice. She sounds fantastic on lead or on backup.
  • Givers come off like a more muscular version of Talking Heads. The music of Louisiana has obviously had a big influence on them, so they aren’t as cerebral as the indie fore-runners, but the influence is undeniable. Really brilliant stuff this.
  • I sort of bad-mouthed this band last year. I repent.

Cohesion (5/5)
Concept (4/5)
Consequence (4.5/5)
Consistency (4.5/5)
Songs (4.5/5)

Quick Review (LP): This Is Happening by LCD Soundsystem

lcd soundsystem this is happening LCD Soundsystem
This Is Happening
DFA Records; 2010

My Rating: A

Best Tracks: “Dance Yourself Clean”, “All I Need”, “I Can Change”, “Pow Pow”

Really didn’t want to like this one, but you see that I do. Hands down one of the best records this year. The scale reminds me of the truly great massive pop classics of the early 80’s, stuff by folks like Talking Heads and Michael Jackson. The most impressive thing is the epic-ness of this pop music. Most of these songs are long, but I think that’s due more to Murphy’s sense of structure than anything else. These are songs that take you somewhere, from a tantalizing beginning right on through to a stadium-sized climax. Plus, these songs are fun and catchy right to the core. I’d say that with this one, Murphy has become one of pop music’s doctors. He gets the utter silliness and the sheer thrill of it all from track to track, and I’d be willing to bet that he’s one of the best frontmen that we’ve seen in some time. All in all, This Is Happening is one of those records that I’m going to need to really dive into, not because I don’t get it, but because I really think I do.

Pitchfork review
Metacritic review

Quick Review (EP): Givers EP by Givers

GIVERS (EP) Cover ArtGivers
Givers EP
Valcour Records; 2009

My Rating: C+

There is much to be relished in the up-beat swing that indie music seems to be taking these days. I am a big fan of Vampire Weekend, New Pornographers, and others that fit this mold. Givers seem to be moving in the same direction, and I’ll definitely keep an eye out for their first LP due toward the end of 2010. However, while they be working from the same general source material as the aforementioned bands (esp. Vampire Weekend’s afro-pop), nothing here gets under my skin in quite the way I would hope. “Up, Up, Up” is the obvious standout, but unfortunately it swings a little too far toward cutesy excess. The result is that it is catchy in the wrong way. The rest of the record is all in all a bit bland, but I give them bonus points for trying, and think they might be onto something. Finally, I’ll be these guys are a hoot live. FFO: Vampire Weekend, Talking Heads, New Pornographers.

Listen & Download it here

Worth Shouting About: Givers

I’m certainly not the first one to recognize something noteworthy about Givers of Lafayette, Louisiana. Paste, Spinner, and others beat me to the punch. However, they certainly get a “highly anticipated” vote from me based on what I’ve heard so far. Seeming to combine influences ranging from Flaming Lips to Peter Gabriel to Talking Heads to Vampire Weekend, I’m thinking these guys will be playing SNL sometime around summer 2011. It may be effervescent, but I’ve got a gut feeling that the bubbles are only the run-off from a hyper-creative hot spring residing in this collective. For now, go ahead and enjoy yourself some free mp3s via Daytrotter (below) and get to know this band before everyone else does.

get the Daytrotter session

get their debut EP