Review: The Decemberists' eighth album sees the Portland gang return having significantly changed tack in the four years since their last album. Working with John Congleton, producer for St. Vincent and Future Islands, the band have made their use of synthesisers and electronics a focal point on 'I'll Be Your Girl', an element that had previously stayed in the background. To accompany this change, they've shifted their songwriting towards more synth-pop territory, evident on opener 'Once In My Life', 'We All Die Young' and lead single 'Severed'. A number of tracks bear the hallmarks of The Decemberists' classic Americana sound, but the contrasts at play make 'I'll Be Your Girl' their most adventurous record to date.
Review: Earlier this year, Indianan dream-pop group Hoops' confident debut album 'Routines' established the band amongst the stronger acts in the genre, comparable to Mac DeMarco, Mild High Club, Homeshake, Soft Hair and more. This compilation of demos and home-recordings is equally as strong, in all their retro and nostalgic haze, made even hazier by the sound of the tapes they were recorded on. For a collection of demos, it's overall wholeness is pretty impressive, and should be essential listening for any fans of dreamy, 80's-inspired VHS indie.