The Squires of the Subterrain-S/T. Christopher Earl and friends are back with another trippy release of psych-pop. Unlike their previous release (Sandbox) which applied their psych-pop to Beach Boys-styled tunes, their self-titled latest finds them trading 60s California for 60s London, with Merseypop delights like "History" and "This Charming Place" and the so-goofy-you-know-what-it-sounds-like-by-the-title "Private Gherkin's Psychedelic Silly Mustache Band". Other highlights include the near-jangly (for them) "Attitude and Altitude", and the piano-based, Beatlesque "If Memory Served". But the real treat here is "From Getting High (to a Higher Power)", which manages to encapsulate the pop styles of the big 3 Bs of the era (Beatles, Beach Boys, Byrds) in one track. This just might be their best album to date.
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High on Stress-Leaving MPLS. We've been following these Minneapolis rockers from almost the beginning in the middle part of the last decade, so it's sad to hear that Leaving MPLS is the last batch of their Replacements-meet-early-Wilco songcraft. But at least Nick Leet & Co. go out on a high note. "Windy City Endings" (with a chorus reminiscent of the 'Mats "I'll Be You") is a great, tuneful rocker, while "Gimme Truth" might be the closest they've come to a classic power ballad. And the wonderful country-folk-rock of the title track captures their spirit perfectly, ensuring we'll miss them down the line.