Blackout Summer

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Toronto's Dusted first launched in 2012 as a more primitive, lo-fi indie rock vehicle for Holy Fuck member Brian Borcherdt. While the electronic-oriented Holy Fuck has been his most visible venture, Borcherdt's affinity for moody, introspective alt-rock dates back to his early days as part of the mid-'90s Yarmouth, Nova Scotia scene. Between his previous solo ventures -- alternately billed between his given name and the Remains of Brian Borcherdt -- and stints in bands like By Divine Right, he's released a lot more organically made material than the industrial-electro leanings of Holy Fuck would suggest. Dusted, which began as a collaboration with producer Leon Taheny, has its own distinctive flavor within the Borcherdt canon, pairing thoughtful low-key songwriting with keenly scuzzed guitars and a very textural lo-fi rock patina. On Blackout Summer, the follow-up to 2012's Total Dust, he's enlisted more of a full-band approach with his wife Anna Edwards-Borcherdt on lead guitar and backing vocals, Loel Campbell on drums, and a handful of guests including bassist Anna Ruddick. Shifting between moody reflections on mortality and cautious glimmers of optimism, the album's nine tracks all wear the same ragged coat of dust and hiss as hazy electric guitars and overdriven drums churn out minimalist grooves. Highlights like "Seasons" and the slow-building "No Prison" inhabit their invented sonic worlds like they've been rhythmically carving themselves into the hard landscape for decades before being suddenly uncovered. There's a fibrous, blown-out feeling to the production that pairs well with the intimate feeling of Borcherdt's songwriting. Overall a more cohesive and melodically appealing affair, Blackout Summer is an improvement on Dusted's debut.

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