(Barboza) Little has been written about Kansas City space rockers the Life and Times in the last dozen years that doesn’t mention singer/guitarist Allen Epley’s tenure in Midwest guitar-tone legends Shiner. Obviously, I won’t be bucking that trend. While the Shiner connection is certainly a selling point to anyone who was obsessing over pedalboards, amp settings, and drum miking techniques at the turn of the century, the primary reasoning behind bringing up Epley’s past is that his current band is a logical progression of his craft. Add a little more tom-heavy heft to the drums, a bit more drive and nuance to the bass, and a little more ethereality to the guitars and you have a pretty good idea of the dimension and punch of the Life and Times. With Last Giant. BRIAN COOK
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(Lo-FI) A two-piece LA band that decided a few years ago to decamp to Beijing (because that’s how you make it in the music biz now), Alpine Decline—Jonathan Zeitlin and Pauline Mu—write psych-rock and shoegaze songs that are immediately likable. They’re driving, soaring, melodic, and effects-drenched in familiar ways, but the distant, reverbed vocals and un-sheened production lend them a welcome mystique. Alpine Decline are supporting their latest and most lush album, Go Big Shadow City, a pulchritudinous, cavernous beast of shoegaze rock. It’s a very special sound that makes you feel as if the firmament has become an enormous womb. With Kingdom of the Holy Sun and Japanese Gum. DAVE SEGAL
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