Conceptus and I Am Next

Conceptus “Trebly Feelings”
This is a refreshing jangly pop gem that marries the best of 80’s era college rock with 60’s melodic style perfectly. Fans of REM, Byrds, The Ocean Blue and Luna will really appreciate this San Deigo band. Starting with “Accidental Reverb” I thought I was reliving The La’s best moments, with perfect melodic clarity. “At The Sea” is a super catchy melody with a touch of Kinks influence.

No weak tracks here, although the lead guitarist’s considerable skill carries the lead singer across the finish line in places. Fantastic riff work on “Conceptus” and “Derrick’s Nightmare” are the stuff of legend and the lyrical playfulness of “Erica’s Trip” is akin to Ween or Pavement. I have to say after listening to “Flower Girl,” it will also win over hardcore fans of Greg Pope. One of this year’s best “hidden” power pop secrets are now exposed, so Jangle pop devotees must get this one.

I Am Next “How To Tell The Phonies From The Phakes”
This Boston-based alternative trio makes a good impression with its debut. “Shackled” is a buzz of distorted guitar melody and “Scene of One” gives us a mix of alternative hard rock and harmonies similar to The New Pornographers or Spoon with a touch of Husker Du.

The album stays on this pace for much of the time, and when the melodies stick like on “Black Hole” and “Hallucination Mania” it really works well. On the albums second half it veers toward Soundgarden-styled  rock, like on “Flashbulb” with its long guitar acrobatics. This is a band that plays on the edge between genres, and that can be uniquely appealing.