Boards Of Canada
It seems that just within the past couple of months, record labels in the United States have finally caught on to how much great music is being released overseas. While there has been a lot of formerly only available on import things released in the US by labels, some genre's have been greatly underexposed, while more commercial veins like trip-hop and big beat have been milked for awhile now. Fortunately, labels like Matador and Nothing have finally caught wind of some lesser-known artists and re-released their albums on this side of the Atlantic to make them a little more accessible (ie, costing about half as much) than their import counterparts.
As a group, Boards of Canada had released 3 EP's previous to this full-length debut. Most of the time their work is thrown into the category of IDM (Intelligent Dance Music), although the term tends to be misleading because the music doesn't really inspire dancing. Although there are beats in the music, they're more of the slow, clanging nature of groups like Autechre rather than the ever-building and hard-rocking ones of Fatboy Slim. Actually, in terms of music, BOC reminds me a lot of Autechre in musical structure. They differ in the sense that they're a lot more laid-back. A lot of their sounds are more organic and they sample voices and other light noises as well. Some of the songs are a bit creepy sounding, but for every minor tone, there's a goofy song like "Aquarius" or "Happy Cycling." It makes for a long, interesting album that tends to get better each time you hear and and new things jump out at you. A solid release from an up-and-coming group.