Alex Calder

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Despite the “slacker” tag that follows Alex Calder around, there’s nothing lazy about the jangly, acid-tinged tracks on his debut full-length. The songs reveal their layers slowly and showcase the 23-year-old’s precise ear for pop ingenuity sans overbearing hooks.

Calder addresses the lazy, loner persona many have formed of him. The warbling Out Of My Head builds with manic, Velvet Underground-like fervour as he grapples with his inability to leave his bed. (Perhaps what looks like slackerdom is actually a hermetic lifestyle.) The swaying Lola is haunting in its simplicity: he repeats the title and nothing more while subtle, unexpected changes in tone occur. 

At times his vocals sound too distant in the mix and overpowered by guitars (No Device), but singing any more forcefully would undermine the peculiar comfort that most of the record maintains. And though the scattered approach he takes to lyrics might put off some people, these 11 tracks have lots of sonic depth.

Top track: Strange Dreams

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