Magic Shoppe were artists of the week on WZBC’s Flyweight earlier this summer, and ever since then I’ve been looking forward to the arrival of “Reverberation,” their first full-length. I was lucky enough to be able to listen to an advance copy of the lp, due out officially next month, while at the WZBC studios last friday. And I was not disappointed.

Shoegaze, psych, and especially — yes — reverb are plentiful on this album. Now, those are not styles that I would typically associate with this name, but the one that came to my mind while listening to it was Steve Albini’s. Why? Because “Reverberation” is an lp on which every single track reflects the same degree of time, effort, and seriousness that Albini dedicates to all his work, on which every single composition is planned out, practiced, and polished to perfection.

Sure, I’ll be the first to admit that lo-fi chaos — bedroom recordings where one band member’s drunk on the floor and another one’s asleep in the corner — has considerable charm; some of my all-time favorite albums were made that way. But other times, especially in these times where there’s so much junk around, you want to hear a band with a purpose. And such a band would be Magic Shoppe, on “Reverberation.”

The Resident Advisor review mentions DJ Koze, David Bowie, and Brian Eno in association with Matthew Dear‘s new album, “Black City,” just out this week. And I agree.

Even though the two have quite different styles, Matthew Dear, like DJ Koze, uses vocal arrangements to great effect, giving his compositions a unique and interesting feel. And the connections to “Heroes”-era Bowie and Eno are easy both to see, in the album’s cover and title, and to hear, especially, in standout tracks like “Little People,” on his Myspace page and below.

All these elements and influences combine to make “Black City” Matthew Dear’s most consistent and compelling lp to date.

Best Coast

August 18, 2010

I do believe you’re blushing,
Everything in your mind is coming.
Oh Miss K I do believe you,
I want to stick you gold and blue.

What will they be like, like you?
Incredible eyes, incredible.

Versus are back, with their first lp in a decade. Less a reunion or a comeback, though, than a natural step forward. The sound seems more nuanced, and the lyrics laced with wisdom — perhaps not surprising from a group of people who are ten years older. But, below the surface, the fires burn just like before.

You can stream the entire album from the Merge website. Start with “Scientists” and the excellent “Gone to Earth,” and work out from there.

Best Coast break no new philosophical ground on this, their first album, “Crazy For You.” But, they do succeed greatly in communicating deeply affecting emotion in a powerful and compelling way. Which, arguably, is what rock and roll does best anyway.

Plus the songs are consistently superb, making it possible to play the cd straight through, for example, in the car. Which, arguably, is where rock and roll sounds best anyway.

And they draw their inspiration from a myriad of wonderful sources.