Had we not been in the midst of a world pandemic I’d place bets on Vintage Crop being the next big thing. They’ve got that sound people keep gravitating towards, combining these sharp guitar cuts with the matter-of-fact vocal delivery you’d expect from a singer stalking the stage. One thing I like is that they’re kind of reveling in the joy of their own song; they’re so in love with this riff that they refuse to push the pace of the song, holding themselves back. In doing so, they allow the natural pop attitude to bleed through the speakers. I promise, this is your new favorite band; they’ll drop Serve to Serve Again on August 7th via Upset the Rhythm.
The Sour Notes are one of my favorite local Austin acts, particularly as they’ve really come into their own over the last few years. But, this is about two of their songwriters using a more electronic approach to exercise their musical muscles as Memory Keepers. Last week they dropped the Forskalii 7″, which features a nice Primal Scream cover (rumored to be praised by the band!). In this video for the A-side, the pulsating synths get mixed with live footage from the band’s last show, courtesy of photographs from Vineet Gordhandas; you’ll also find some great texture work, layering guitar lines and synth lines just beneath the wash of Jared’s vocoder-modified voice. It’s always fun when you try to tie the two bands together, trying to see where their pop sensibilities united in their different approaches to craft. Plus, if you enjoy it and grab the 7″, the band are donating all those funds to the NAACP-LDF…so everyone wins.
Slim pickings out there in indie rock land, so its a good thing that Minneapolis trio Double Grave just dropped this lyric video for their latest single “Long Drive Home.” I’ve been digging on it all day, as it kind of seems like my go to genres all mashed up into one; you get a touch of fuzzy gaze-ish guitar pop, textured with this sort of slow-core bravado, eventually moving into this erupting n-emo…that’s right, I just triple-pigeonholed ’em! Whatever your tastes, you get a melody disguised in atmospherics that allows plenty of space for your mind to wander out the door. You’ll get to hear the tune on August 7th when Goodbye, Nowhere drops via Forged Artifacts.
Sometimes it takes awhile for music to reach your ears, but I’m really glad that the last year has turned me onto the work of Gordon Koang. The South Sudanese songwriter (currently living in Australia) shares another track from his forthcoming LP, this time singing in Nuer, his native tongue. This is one of those tracks, however, where language barriers are surpassed by the uplifting music itself. Koang says the song refers to an aid worker he knew back in Sudan that helped save his community from poverty. The video features he and his cousin Paul Biel sharing some of their favorite local spots. Unity, the new LP, will be out via Music in Exile/Light in the Attic on August 14th.
Some labels require a close eye, as they seem to always be the tastemakers, whether intentional or not. Speedy Wundergound is one such label, and their latest singing Tia just dropped this new track from their forthcoming Positive Mental Health Music. The drumming adds this natural gallop, though the vocals contrast with that energy, almost calmly delivered in some sort of Calvin Johnson nod. The chorus, of course, has this burst of brightness, which also introduces some of the rough edges from Joshua Loftin’s voice as he stretches his pipes into that more guttural growl. Hints of summer here, but you’ll have to wait until November 6th for the album’s release!
I think of all the records I’ve spent the most time with, the most unexpected joy came from The Prettiest Curse…the latest LP from Hinds. Amidst this global pandemic, we’ve all been seeking our own small joys, and nothing has been nearly as fun as this record (in my opinion). The opening three tracks alone are worth countless repeat listens (as my iTunes can attest). But, in the context of the record, there’s a very slight energetic respite falling those opening 3 tunes; you get a couple more thoughtful slow-burners before “Burn” jumps back in to establish the joyousness that is this LP. There’s this undying frivolity that seeps through the speakers when you press play on this one, and the only thing lacking in the video context is that same feeling and camaraderie, due to the filming taking place during the lockdown in Spain. Can’t get enough of this LP.
I didn’t realize there was so much hype around Nancy, but to an extent, I think there’s at least some reason to get a little buzzed here. Stylistically, this surely falls under the bedroom pop, with even Nancy claiming the song was written during lockdown. I think the bubbling little burst that shines through around the 1:20 marks is really nice, and perhaps playing that up a bit more would have won over tons of folks. Instead, the song pulls back, happy to kind of retreat into its own quiet solitude. This track will feature on Happy Oddities EP, which comes out on August 7th via B3SCI.
It seems like Fire Talk is destined to have a really great year, as far as labels go. They’ve got releases from Deeper, Pure X and Dehd…now there’s news that they’ve signed Cindygod for the band’s forthcoming EP 2. The band is compromised of Andy and Craig from Gauntlet Hair, which definitely still feels like its at play on their new project. Sure, they’re channeling their various perceptions of what noise rock is through a dreamier pop spectrum, yet it still has this darker nature lurking beneath, something unsettling and sublime all at once. Only five songs, but the first one’s a doozy! EP 2 drops on August 14th.
It’s easy to get lost in this pandemic situation, so much so that I neglected to devote enough time to the excellent new Stutter Steps LP, which has been out for a wee bit now. Reeling is chock full of both warm ballads and upbeat fuzz pop songs. One of the more calming tracks, “Leafy Dream,” is here with the video treatment; it’s as nature-oriented a visual as the song itself, using minimal percussion and the faintest hint of backing vocals to seduce you, while the song seemingly takes you on a hike through the forest with Ben’s music your willing accompaniment. Come to mention it, there’s quite a bit of nature imagery on this record; you can stream it all right HERE. For now, enjoy the tune and the video, and pick up the album!
Not too far off from the release of II by Waves of Dread, and with that, we get the next single as promised. This one begins in the band’s more traditional fashion, screeching guitars shattering that noise barrier from the get-go. Still, the vocals sink back into the mix, pulling back the covers on the band’s pop sensibility. The band still find some room for sonic experimentation too, though I’m quite partial to those high-noted sparkles around the 1 minute mark. I think the promise of this EP comes with all the toying around; the band still feels very young in the grand scheme of things, so they’re all about exploration within the confines of their musical tastes…and as of now…Im right there with them.