I know Nate and I have been using the word beauty a lot when describing songs recently, and it’s incredible to see how much great stuff we’re being sent. If I’ve ever called a song beautiful in the past, they will pale in comparison to this new track from songwriter Ben Cramer and his musical project known as Old Sea Brigade. It is not only a mesmerizing piece of songwriting, it’s also a heartfelt and truly emotional dedication to a friend of Cramer who was lost to suicide recently. Even the toughest of the tough will feel the sheer power of this song.
Old Sea Brigade will release new LP Ode to a Friend on January 4th via Nettwerk.
I’ve made no secret of my adoration for The Ocean Party over the years, but every time I feel like I’ve peaked, they go off and release something incredible. Their latest single teases you, sliding in ever so quietly…touch of electronic atmosphere and voice opens; then guitar and gang vocals join before the beat kicks the track forward. The forlorn keyboards and meandering guitar would be enough, but suddenly the tune bursts forth, slide guitar and full band working away. It creates one of those magical moments you get so rarely in pop music, the sort that makes you feel lucky to even be here listening. Their new LP, The Oddfellows Hall, drops on November 9th via Emotional Response/Spunk Records.
We’ve shared a couple of tunes off this New Silver Girl LP, but now we can share the whole release in its entirety. The album kicks off with heavy, hook-laden riffs, though they’re spun in this atmospheric manner that allows the band to pull in some pop sensibility; it doesn’t hurt on some of the more exploratory tracks like “Phantom Ride.” Of course, a great LP never works if you’re not willing to differentiate, so you get softer numbers like “Tennessee” and “Alms,” or groovier rockers like “Starlight City.” It’s an album that’s all over the map, but in the best of ways, turning and exploring within the confines of these ten tracks; it sounds like a best of rock n’ roll soundtrack. You can get your hands on the self-titled LP from Soliti this Friday.
It’s okay, as I didn’t spend much time with Featherfin and the new album, Miles to Go Before I Sleep…until a slight push of encouragement from Jeremy Jensen of The Very Most. Jeremy plays/sings on one of the standout tracks, but the whole release is just a collection of great voices supporting Featherfin to flesh out the songs. I included “Helen Richey” below, as that’s the song I jumped to first but don’t be afraid to invest some time in listening to the whole thing; it’s a gorgeous collection of pop songs that will guarantee a little bit of swooning goes into your day.
I have to admit that I lost the plot with Beirut somewhere down the line…those feelings of being overcome just sort of faded away…though I still put on Gulag O. from time to time. And then today, I dared to click on the new Beirut album, and lo and behold, the brilliance is back. The band’s latest tune has this softened percussive gallop and a wondrous horn section; I have to acknowledge I got swept up right away. Then Zach’s voice hits, soaring in its baritone manner, losing me in the great swirling storm of emotive pop. Maybe it’s time I revisit my old friend; look for Gallipoli in February on 4AD.
Sunday was the chill day for ATH for ACL WE2. I wasn’t approved by St. Vincent or Arctic Monkeys. Day six was even steamier than I would like to remember. Consider the wall hit, but it by will alone I set my mind in motion….and Janelle Monae’s extraordinary presence.
Lloyd Meadows reached out to us from across the sea, and I feel like we shine some light on this 15 year old songwriter. Don’t worry one bit, the age is irrelevant, as he’s writing with a maturity far beyond his ears. His guitar lines have faint crystalline qualities, sparkling against Meadows’ deep vocal tones, crafting a contrast the fits perfectly for guitar pop. There’s a certain earnestness too, here, which perhaps could be due to age, but perhaps could play a bigger role in our own lives. If you have a minute, sit down and listen to Lloyd.
It’s that time of year when the music biz slows it down so they can remind you of all their awesome releases for your year-end lists. Luckily, there’s still great music trickling out, like this new EP from Tears Run Rings, which dropped on Friday via Shelflife. We’ve already shared the opening tune, so let’s quickly recap the rest of the EP. Simply put, it’s shimmering pop of the dreamier gaze side of things, though there’s an emphatic punch of a tune in “Be Still;” it’s aggressive yet wholly influenced by the pop side of things. It’s just four songs, but they’re four amazing songs, so why not kick off Monday this way? If you’re into it, grab the Somewhere EP HERE.
I’m always trying to keep up with the great Spanish indiepop scene, but as soon as I’m charmed, someone else pops up with something brilliant that puts me right where I started. This joyful tune from El Palacio de Linares is winning Friday for me; it has this solid harmony hiding in the shades of some jittery guitar shuffling. Plus, the whole song is about and a deer and a hedgehog, or so says the title, so why wouldn’t I be won over? You’ll be able to find this tune on Largos Agotadores, the newest LP out in early 2019 on Pretty Olivia Records.
Friday was Alvvays going to be Nathan’s favorite day, even if he was never a Beatles fan.
Saturday did give us a treat in the form of Durand Jones and the Indications. There were a few other lovely highlights for the fam.