Austin rabble-rousers The Midgetmen aim to make amends for their five year recording absence by dropping the It Is Now Recursive EP on July 24th. Our first listen to the band’s newest output is a furious little 2 minute number, and an exercise in using one lyrical line for the entirety of a song (they warned you!). I love the way the song opens up, encompassing that live sound that’s rare to get on tape; kind of makes me want to run around my living room screaming along while I pour beer all over myself. It’s riotous and pure fun, with a nice little guitar flare in the song’s middle; everyone gets a solo! Plus, if you grab the EP, you’ll get a remix version of this tune that hints at the band’s future foray into more electronically enhanced grooves! If you need a song to get you up, load a bowl and hop on your yard work, this is the one!
Avowed Emma Kupa fan here, and I’ve been fortunate enough to get a little glimpse at the entirety of It Will Come Easier. Today we bring you the album’s second single, and one that really highlights Emma as a singer. The video, and the song for the most part are pretty stark, just Emma and her voice; you do get some delicate string work to build in the slightest hint of texture throughout, though the focus remains on Kupa’s dynamic pipes. Honestly, her voice and lyrics make this entire record; I love the lyric below reminding us that “nobody’s a saint/and we’ve all got our problems.” It’s a good thing to keep in mind as we all hold tight to our relationships. It Will Come Easier is out via Fika Recordings/Palo Santo Records this Fall.
It’s rare to find a song that really transfixes you and transports you away to somewhere else, but that’s just what this song “18 Wheeler” from Cumbria based artist Arran George is doing for me today. The tune is superb at combining a simple acoustic guitar with a bedroom pop approach and some subtle effects here and there. You can also find yourself getting totally lost near the end during the last 45 seconds or so of the song. It’s a stunner.
Arran George will feature this song on a new EP entitled Born Under a Pylon out later this year.
We all say these lists are arbitrary, and yet in the end, we get sucked into making our own…mostly because it seems like other people got it so wrong. But, then looking at my personal list, and it’s no wonder we’re not in the cool kids club, because these records are not seeming to make the big time lists. Oh well. Here’s my awards for 2020 thus far…plus, in the very end I have a very nice 10 hr playlist of all my favorite songs of the year, one jam for each day in 2020, save the holidays!
We’ve all got to represent our neighbors, right? So, here’s a few new tracks from Austin you should have on your radar. We’d be remiss if we didn’t give a shoutout to our friend Josh from Marmalakes, doing his solo thing under the name J. Halp. His Ahlen EP will be out at the end of the month, and there’s another sneak peak below; this one has a little bit more of an electronic vibe, giving off the range his EP will offer listeners.
We’ve also got the recently released tune from Urban Heat, the recently formed project from Jonathan Hortsmann (who used to play in ATH faves BLXPTN). There’s a bit 80s feel with his synth work here…and you know we feel you can never go wrong there.Go on and enjoy!
After year filled with tons of turmoil for the band, not including the current pandemic, the Chicago based outfit known as Slow Pulp will finally be releasing their debut LP this fall. The album, recorded mostly in 2019 while on tour with Alex G, features 10 beautifully crafted numbers about the band’s resourcefulness and resiliency during their unthinkable times as a band. To preview the new album, the band has shared the lead single “Idaho” which features the always striking vocals of Emily Massey in front of a sort of slacker, yet powerful brand of indie rock. I love how the slower moments show this bit of restraint as the tension builds and things really tend to pop off during the heavier, banging moments.
Slow Pulp’s upcoming album Moveys will release on October 9th via Winspear.
Man we get a lot of things labeled as “indie pop” sent our way and typically the tune is either super commercial, pop star style or simply to slow and meandering to be considered pop music. Well today I have a truly bouncing and bright pop number called “For What Was” from my old pals in Charlottesville based group Stray Fossa. This ladies and gents, THIS, is what I truly consider an indie pop number. It’s super catchy, the synths come in perfectly and the beat is incredibly infectious. Mark it up as one of the best I’ve heard in the genre over the last few months.
Up until now, we’ve mostly been hearing the Dehd singles through the voice of Emily Kempf, but this round, we get to hear Jason Balla take the lead, so it offers a slightly different twist. You get about 15 seconds of his voice hanging out in the air alone. Suddenly, the rhythm section drops in and speeds up the song’s energy; the churning guitars still have that crispness you’ve by now begun to associate with the band. Balla’s performance doesn’t differ too much from Kempf’s, other than perhaps tone; they both have this knack for holding their notes and sort of draping them on top of the energetic propulsion of the band’s sound, working to provide that perfect contrast. Flower of Devotion is out next week via Fire Talk.
I felt like I need some solace and some clarity this morning as I was getting ready, and lo and behold, a new tune from Iska Dhaaf pops up in my world. I hadn’t heard from the band in about five years, and that track “Shut Up” was a polar opposite of the intimate performance they offer below. You can feel yourself sitting in the room with the group, hearing the vibration of the plucked strings echo in the room. The vocals have that fragility that almost makes you want to cry, almost as if they struggle to exist as soon as they hit the air.
Prepare yourself for a special single here, with the latest from Boston’s Anjimile coming along with the announcement of Giver Taker for Father/Daughter Records. At first, they reel you in with the powerful vocal performance, mostly working operatic notes over a quieted picking of guitar notes. My fascination grew, like a traditional linear plot. The song begins to build in light rhythm/percussion; you get some small layered conflicts via little flourishes in the distance, then the song begins to roll forward, still propelled by voice. The 2.5 minute mark reaches the song’s climaxes before it all begins to subside, ending abruptly and fading out. Giver Taker will be out on September 18th.