50 Unheralded Albums from 2011

Battles: Gloss DropBattlesGloss Drop (Warp, 6/7/11)

Battles: “Ice Cream” (f. Matias Aguayo)

[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Ice-Cream.mp3|titles=Battles: “Ice Cream”]

Shaken up and stripped down, the three members of experimental post-rock outfit Battles spent the better part of the past year reshaping and restructuring a sound that, up until then, included multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and loop guru Tyondai Braxton.

The band’s new record, Gloss Drop, is a shimmering, fascinating detour from Battles’ previous output, soaring with ebullience and sheen. It bounces about on dance-y, frenetic beats and ripples in restorative whirlpools. Lively guitar parts and math-rock riffs fuse with overlapping rhythms. The music retains Battles’ signatory edge and cerebral tone, but the band’s instinctual process has brought about a surprising, new result.

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