The Nature Strip-Stars Turn Inside Out. Aussies Peter Marley and John Encarnacao have teamed up to form The Nature Strip, and their debut effort Stars Turn Inside Out has been one of 2013's more pleasant surprises, a winning mixture of rock, jangle pop and power pop that sounds both modern and retro. The Byrds-meet-Moody-Blues 60s rock of "Beautiful Rain" opens the album (and provides the lyric which gives the album its title), while "Three Foot High Sissy Bar" shakes off the languor with its glam rock beat and insistent guitars and "Fly Through" is optimistic jangle-pop. Other highlights include the breezy pop of "It's Inside You", the Lennonesque "What a Life" and the lovely ballad "Hero". But the real standout here is "Worst One", vintage-sounding power pop that could have stepped off one of Big Star's classic discs. This one's another year-end best-of contender.
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Tony Low-Tone-Wah EP. Tony Low is back with his first album under his own name since 2008's Time Across the Page, and this 6-track EP picks up where that album left off - southern-fried jangle pop in the vein of Bobby Sutliff and Mitch Easter. These tracks have more of a retro-60s feel than the last batch, though - "Smoke from Space" and "The Secret" sound like something you'd fine in an old record store, and "Bass Guitar" specifically references Beatle Boots. Meanwhile, "There 'n' Gone" has a Byrds feel, and "Pirate Ships and Baby Bottles" is a gentle, laid-back number. If you want to party like it's 1967, Tone-Wah is the EP for you.