- A prolific songwriter still in his early twenties, Alex G (Alex Giannascoli) delivers Beach Music, his first album with the Domino label, after 2014's DSU, multiple self-released sets, and scores of uploaded songs over the prior few years. A D.I.Y. artist, Alex G thus far prefers to record at home with full charge of the process -- although he's not above bringing in guest performers -- and the album is entirely self-produced and self-engineered (with mixing by Unknown Mortal Orchestra bassist Jake Portrait). A loose, exploratory album, Beach Music leaves indentations in dry, windblown sand rather than distinct footprints on pavement. "Intro" even opens with the scrapes and thuds of settling equipment before the music starts, and when it does it's several seconds of fading, dissonant post-punk led by Rachel Giannascoli, as if we're passing the room of another band on our way to record elsewhere in the house. Alex G's intimate, sauntering electric guitar-centered work soon claims the spotlight with "Bug," which also employs skittering electronic effects and vocal manipulation for an otherworldly jaunt that's part basement, part twilight zone, and fully dreamy. Similarly, the warped "Salt" adds electronic drums, highly processed vocals, and organ timbres to guitars and falsettoed, anxious lyrics ("A wrecking ball of fear/I'm lying/Don't take me with you/I'm happy where I am"), typifying the uncomfortable feel of the whole album. Songwriting-wise, Giannascoli is often compared to Elliott Smith, and the late singer/songwriter's influence can be clearly recognized on the achingly wistful "Thorns." Elsewhere, "Brite Boy" highlights a brightly yearning melody in a Beach Boys-haunted treat. The album also includes a trumpet-intensified love dirge, "In Love" ("Running in love/Losing in love/Scratching in love/Wired in love"), and the regrettably titled "Snot," an ironically jangly and bright tune about raw betrayal. Despite its experimental elements and trippy sensibility, Beach Music is relentlessly intimate, moving, and hard to shake -- a notable trait for a young if experienced recording artist. ~ Marcy Donelson
Professional Reviews: Spin - "It's still Giannascoli, scraping away at his guitar through a haze, scratching out stories that sound like jokes before they become parables."
Clash (Magazine) - "His inspirations have largely remained intact: there's the smoldering beauty and lunar-dusted awe of Doug Martsch's guitar work, the silvery emotional shifts and unsentimental intelligence of Pavement, and most potently, the post-Beatles melodicism of Elliott Smith and Big Star."
Format: Vinyl (1 Disc)
Release Date: 9 October, 2015
Label: Domino Recording Co.
Dimensions: 32 x 2.5 x 30.5 centimeters (0.31 kg)