FROM THE STACKS: White Hinterland

We get a lot of crap CDs at the self-titled offices. But once in a while, a pleasant surprise slips into our promo stack. Here’s a recent delivery that knocked the s/t staff on its collective ass.

The Artist/Album: White Hinterland, Kairos (out 3/9 on Dead Oceans)

The Vibe: Moving from their B&B locations (Boston and Brooklyn) to the artist-friendly environs of Portland has meant more than a change of scenery for White Hinterland. Frontwoman Casey Dienel and her first permanent band member (multi-instrumentalist Shawn Creeden) have lopped off the former’s spindly piano lines and piled on the speaker-rattling percussion, leaving nothing but vapor trail traces of her jilted jazz singer side. It’s a startling/striking transformation no matter how you look at it, echoing an exorcised Broadcast one minute (“Moon Jam”) and well-oiled R&B (“Cataract”) the next. Come to think of it, most of this record teeters on the Top 40 side of things–sonically, at least–an alternate reality where Toro Y Moi is produced by Timbaland and Animal Collective is layering crystalline loops for Aaliyah.

RIYL: Heavy bass lines and beats; the xx (in theory); Saturn returning, without warning