The Slow Signal Fade: Here's a band that should've gotten some of the drooling praise that was slathered upon the similarly guitar-drenched music of Longwave. Then again, hype like that is never good for any artist, so let's keep our fingers crossed that this Los Angeles four-piece can get the credit it deserves without being sucked through the blades of the unforgiving media machine. Some will no doubt label the Fade shoegaze, a tag that implies much less passion, heart and focus than the band shows on its recording, the appropriately titled Through the Opaque Air. No, these guys don't sound like a bunch of British pansies afraid to make eye contact with the audience. Nor do they sound a hell of a lot like the Cure, one of their primary influences. A more apt comparison would be the more obscure band Madder Rose similarly, the Slow Signal Fade makes maximum use of watery, effects-heavy guitars but keeps them in check, maintaining a skeletal atmosphere that lets the songs, rather than just sound, convey urgency. It's an impressive balance.