Small Black New Chain

Small Black New Chain
Brooklyn, NY's Small Black were initially lumped in with last summer's chillwave craze, but the group's debut album shows that they have the talent to outlast the trend. Like their previous EP, New Chain was recorded at home (or rather, at a house in Delaware) and its cleaned-up sound suggests that the band have now mastered their gear. With its bass-heavy beats and sparkling synths, the LP is a big step forward from the murky, occasionally harsh production of the group's early recordings. They go for the gut on single "Photojournalist," which is sure to fill dance floors with its four-on-the-floor rhythms and soaring chorus of "Rise up again like a ghost." The album isn't a complete about-face, however; the reverb-blurred vocals are still in place and there are enough woozy atmospherics to please old fans as well as new. (Jagjaguwar)