A weekly (or sometimes bi-weekly) selection of new – and new to me – music that I have found myself listening to over the past week on Rdio

Wow, I missed an entire month of these things – my apologies. It’s funny, because I started them to have an easy and quick way to keep writing about music and yet I’m still managing to skip over them week-by-week. Anyway, lots to talk about this time with some really fantastic records that are deserving of your attention – so let’s get started.

Click the band / album titles for Rdio links.

Downliners Sekt – Silent Ascent

This is the first album I’ve heard from Downliners Sekt, the Barcelona electronic duo who (from what I’ve read) have been around for quite some time now. I’m certainly glad I’ve stumbled upon Silent Ascent though, as it’s easily one of my favourite electronic albums of the year already – having spun the thing three or four times just yesterday.

It’s notable that a friend of mine said that it would be a great album to go running with, while personally it feels just as great an album to put on in a nice, dark room alone. It’s an extremely textural album, full of hisses and fuzz – but not in an overbearing way. The garage beats give the entire album a sense of drive, even when they pair down to the point of almost disappearing. This allows the album to function on both ends of that spectrum – as relaxing, more passive listening, or something to dive into with headphones on a good run. This one would come highly recommended from me.

The Faint – Doom Abuse

So, The Faint are back. Yes, one of the forerunners of the dance-rock craze who hailed from Saddle Creek records just put out their second album since they left that label to release Fasciinatiion on their own blank.wav. I really dug that last record, it reached a level of consistency that many of their later albums hadn’t. With a unified sound and some solid hooks, I find myself going back to Fasciinatiion quite a bit these days.

With Doom Abuse, The Faint have returned to the eclecticism of their Wet From Birth-era material – and results may vary by listener. There’s certainly something to say of the excitement heard bouncing from song-to-song here, even if the album doesn’t feel as “together” as Fasciinatiion. Going to have to try this one a few times before really deciding where I land on it, I think, but I’ve already found it coalescing more and more with each listen.

Pure X – Angel

Upon turning on the new album by Pure X called Angel, you’re welcomed by a suitably familiar sound – some hushed acoustic strumming, brightly plucked lead guitar lines, and floating bass licks. Then, as the soft and chanted vocals arrive, you’ll probably be thinking “Wow, these guys really dig Real Estate.” If you were to give up on the band after this knee-jerk reaction though, you’d be missing out on one of the most subtly effective albums I’ve heard all year – even including the latest from Real Estate themselves.

I say this, because Angel creeped up on me something fierce. It’s not often that music this relaxed features songwriting that grabs you as much as this stuff does. The album fully clicked for me on “Livin’ The Dream”, when two and a half minutes into the song, the tempo drops, the bass goes fluid, and the real hook starts. My ears perked up, and the rest of the record instantly made complete and total sense. Definitely give this one a go, and let it ride for a few tracks – you’ll probably be happy you did.

Tweens – Tweens

Wait, is Dan going to go a whole post without any fuzzed out, catchy and simplistic indie-rock? Sorry to keep you waiting, but yes I have found another new obsession of the instantly gratifying variety. After seeing the Cloud Nothings twitter account tweet out about this debut album from Tweens, I figured that’s a good a sign as any that I should be checking out the album.

Since winter has been slowly turning to spring here in Toronto, this raucously hooky album has been the perfect soundtrack – even if the lyrics aren’t always as sunny as the choruses. I’m definitely hearing some of the great band Busy Signals in here, combined with the attitude of early Blondie and the hooks of early Go Go‘s – all with a modern touch.

This is definitely one to hold onto as the sun starts shining more and more.

Weaves – Weaves

On their debut EP, Toronto’s Weaves have packed together six songs full of wicked art-pop freak-outs; this is some ragged, scratchy, distorted catchiness of an unreal variety with a heckuva voice at the front – wow. Plus, the production is totally something else.

On one song (“Hulahoop”) they might sound like some long-lost Ween B-Side, and on another (“Buttercup”) their over-modulated beats and chopped up guitar noise will get you ready to dance. All in all, it’s a wild kaleidoscopic ride that lasts about 18 minutes, and showcases Weaves’ multi-faceted sound in just enough time to leave you out of breath and wanting more.

And if it’s more that you want, you’re in luck, because the band are playing their record release show here in Toronto at Cinecycle on Saturday, April 26th. It’s sure to be a crazy one, with supporting acts that include Bizzarh, HSY and New Fries.

Mark your calendars, preople!