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August 31, 2011

B-sides

Bright Lights

It’s not possible to overstate just how great an album Nerves Junior has made. Forget “local” and all other diminishing descriptors: As Bright As Your Night Light (sonaBlast!) is phenomenal and will be even more so once cold weather kicks in. It’s indie rock; it’s experimental; it’s electronic; it’s ambient. Whatever hashtag you need to attach to make it palatable is fine and works as well as any other. The record works on headphones as well as loudspeakers, a feat in itself in the “mixed for iTunes” era. The album only needs the push necessary to get it to the masses — sonaBlast, are you listening?

Let’s look at one track, personal highlight “Nails to Scratch With”: Opening with a phased tremolo, a pounding kick drum that segues into an unexpectedly Latin flavor, playing off bass and a Tom Verlaine-esque guitar and telephony vocals, “Nails” is one of the more exciting tracks you’ll hear all year. There are hints of Radiohead, Pere Ubu, Television and five more of your favorite bands, but this is a song that could only exist from this band, right now. That all the songs are meaty (the shortest clocks at 4:30) only serves to reinforce that this is substantial music. “Kale” has become a blog favorite, and I find myself unable to argue (though I’d say “Nails” and “Luciferin” are actually better). Opening with an electronic variant of Marvin Gaye’s get-up, get-up “Sexual Healing” intro, the track then stands on its head, making for the best Radiohead tribute you’ll ever hear; and to these ears, “Kale” bests two-thirds of that band’s catalog while playing its own game. As Bright is instantly in my top 5 for the year and will likely stay. Expect only big things from the next Louisville band to blow up.

ear X-tacy Top 10 Sales
Connie Smith — Long Line of Heartaches
Gillian Welch — The Harrow & the Harvest
My Morning Jacket — Circuital
Various Artists — Muppets: The Green Album
Jay-Z & Kanye West — Watch the Throne
Foster the People — Torches
The Tedeschi Trucks Band — Revelator
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks — Mirror Traffic
Gary Clark Jr. — The Bright Lights EP
Soul, Inc. — A Rock ’n’ Roll Reunion