Hey! You got your post-rock in my Krautronica! Trans Am’s expansive brand of lockstep guitar vs. synth discipline sounds refreshingly progressive alongside the current glut of indie-sanctioned angularity. Never afraid to completely switch shit up in pursuit of something entirely “other,” this D.C. trio’s latest, Sex Change (Thrill Jockey), plays as their most user-friendly set yet, getting down like Tortoise on half a hit of E, “Trans-Europe Express” and a copy of Rush’s Exit Stage Left. Definitely get there in time to catch Pittsburgh analog twins Zombi, whose multi-textured dream of shimmering ’80s keyboard sunsets are enough to make Jean-Michel Jarre proud and Jan Hammer shed tears of jealousy. Think Miami Vice for 2012. Old-school college-rocker alert: D.C.’s Black Taj features two former members of ’90s Merge Records heroes Polvo indulging their inner stoner. It is 4/20, after all.
(Originally published in the LA Weekly, 04/07)