Shout Out Louds-Work: I'm a big subscriber to the old adage that competence and experience overwhelm genius and passion and the SOL's are almost there with this one (their third). I definitely miss the frentic production and melodies of Our Ill Wills, but the pop charms are still here, albeit calmer and more nuanced. And there are definitely songs to love here: The rolling piano lines of 1999, the traditionalist pop of Four by Four and Walls, any number of kinder, gentler ballads (this is the same band that did Howl Gaff?) Take some time and i think this will work for ya.
Biffy Clyro-Only Revolutions: Emo from across the pond. Not really taken with this, although it's pleasant enough.
Apples in Stereo-Travellers in Space and Time: Not really hearing that one AiS song that has my player stuck on repeat but a pretty steady release all the same (in more or less the exact same nod to 70's vocoder/ELO AiS mode). Second half seems stronger to me, but that's arguable i'm sure.
Frightened Rabbit-Winter of Mixed Drinks: You sad miserable puck. Your melancholy is wonderful (although you sounded a little bit too much like Adam Duritz on Midnight Organ Flight), but I really really like it when you get out of bed and greet the day. This is a great album, big 80's anthems sounds for sure, but still enough darkness lurking to keep the mopes at bay. Not a song i can skip and i'm compulsively listening. Nicely produced with lots of interesting touches that complement (complete?) the songs without overwhelming them with studio fussiness. Nice progression from the ramshackle folk rock of the greys, through the bed sit land break up disc of Midnight.
Tindersticks-Falling Down a Mountain: This should be me, with it's very competent rootsy rock with bar room production. I love it with the Avett Brothers and this is pretty similar, but it just isn't clicking. It's all a little to samey and the song writing doesn't create any separation between songs and the production. A song or two might sound good on the radio juxtaposed with some gorillaz or groove armada, but for 40 + minutes? meh.