Now that the founder of Up Records is dead, and Matador Records’ taste is nearly as moribund, Sub Pop is left as one of the last high-profile indie rock labels in the biz. Fortunately for those of us who might have heard Sebaguided By Pavement one too many times, the label has had its ear to the ground and quietly accumulated a formidable art-punk roster. Pay special attention to New York City’s The Rapture, a band that locks down a spare-but-manic brand of new wave nouveau like you’ve never heard.
The band comes off a bizarrely conceptual LP on Gravity Records with this six-song EP, and it’s revised its sound a bit. No more long stretches of electronic noises; now the songs are carried effectively and coherently between Matty Safer’s dance-club bass lines, Luke Jenner’s schizophrenic yelps and Vico Roccoforte’s instinct for simple but off-kilter rhythms. Jenner’s guitar work is full of strange-picked melodies, mutes and dissonant pedal tricks. Samples and odd instruments round out the mix. The band cites Pil, the Byrds and the Happy Mondays among its influences, but make no mistake: The Rapture is definitely something new.