Like plenty of other bands in the internet era, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart seem poised to attract an audience that will far outstrip that of their easily identifiable precedents-- in their case, groups like Rocketship or Shop Assi stants, each obscure these days even by Approved Indie Influence standards. A few other twee/noise-pop revivalists arguably pulled off that same trick last year, but Pains of Being Pure at Heart are likely to appeal to listeners beyond online name-droppers and Brooklyn scenesters.
The experience of Oshin is aqueous and amorphous in a way that makes using the term "rock" feel uncomfortable.
Though some of indie's brightest leading men have come through Virginia's halls of higher education (Steve Malkmus, David Berman, Travis Morrison), your average college rock band in the Old Dominion area probably sounds more like Agents of Good Roots. So if you live in a place like Blacksburg, Va., home of the Virginia Tech campus and not much else, and you want to be in a tropical punk act (Facepaint), an introspective singer-songwriter project (Jack & the Whale), or a band that covers Kate Bush instead of Dave Matthews (Wild Nothing's breakthrough rendition of "Cloudbusting"), you'll probably have to do what Jack Tatum did and start them yourself.
What we're left with is achingly beautiful and ... almost unnervingly direct.
It's not just a collection of hits; it's an album, one that gives the project's familiar nocturnal foreboding a new sense of grandeur.
"Bloom" is also what these 10 songs do, each one starting with the sizzle of a lit fuse and at some fine moment exploding like a firework in slow motion.
The first three-quarters of Inside-Out contains some of Yo La Tengo's best work to date. As a whole, however, it may be one of their less ear-catching records.
This is both the most diverse and most listenable of their three full-lengths, and yet it never seems like a compromise.