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Champagne Downtown (2LP)
A sublime 2-record set. The latest release from Minneapolis-based Halloween, Alaska marks a gratifying turn for the bigger. Having earned accolades for their restrained, deeply atmospheric brand of synth-laden pop, the group delivers a disarming new set of songs that ply its moody textures and brainy lyricism in the service of simmering indie anthems and salient rock hooks.
To highlight the expanded range of sounds and sentiment on Champagne Downtown, the band teamed with Grammy-winning engineer and renowned audio guru Tchad Blake (Tom Waits, Peter Gabriel, Soul Coughing), who mixed the album from top to bottom. The result is a distinctively crafted 10-song set that packs rewards for headphone junkies, car-stereo devotees, and anyone with a penchant for inventive, literate modern pop.
Garnering comparisons to mature indie forebears like The Blue Nile and American Music Club as well as college-radio staples including The Postal Service and TV On The Radio, Halloween, Alaska is comprised of James Diers (voice, keys/guitar), Matthew Friesen (bass, sampler), Jacob Hanson (guitar/keys, voice) and David King (acoustic and electronic drums) -- the latter also known as the enigmatic drummer for modernist jazz trio The Bad Plus.