Conner The White Cube

Conner is a punk/garage rock band focused principally on aesthetic and form. The liner notes to their debut album, The White Cube, meticulously depict every aspect of how the disc was recorded — right down to the types of effect pedals, guitars, amps and even the model of analog console it had been recorded on. Likewise, the album’s ten tracks centre themselves around the decidedly rough, spacious exterior and lead singer James Duft’s laziest Joe Strummer impression, even though underlying songs are strong enough to warrant the main focus. "Eyed Eyes Eye,” "Have You Ever Been Asleep,” "She Tells No Lies” and "Window Shopping” all push their punkier Strokes sound to surprising heights and like the Exploding Hearts earlier this year, manage to inject a thrilling energy into their nostalgic genre. The only real downfall of the album is, once again, the band’s apparent need to belie the talented songwriting that becomes suffocated by their confusing choice to exploit their style instead of their substance. (Lenore Adora)