Chances are it’s probably warming up in your neck of the woods as summer is near approaching. That means time spent outside, more than likely, near a body of water as everyone collectively chills out a little bit. For these hot days, I’m always drawn to the lightness of surf rock music to soundtrack my summer, and so I’m pleased to share with you a new single from Portland four piece, Plastic Cactus, called “Mystery Boy.” It’s a stunner of a surf tune, with unending waves of twangy electric guitar, shimmery percussion and hazy vocals. Just when you think you’ve caught hold of the mellow vibe, the group turns things up a notch for the last minute or so of the track, making it the perfect tune for your beach/waterfront kick back playlists. Take a listen.
We’ve got a great scene here in Austin, that’s no secret, but it never fails to warm my heart when a local can kill it both in the local and national scene, which is precisely what Emily Cross has done not only with her act, Cross Record, but also with her work in Loma. I’m pleased to share a new track from Cross Record off her forthcoming LP. “PYSOL My Castle” does what every great song from Cross Record has done in the past, which is put the spotlight on Cross’ incredible vocals. What’s different on this track is the instrumentation seems more keen on electronic elements–you get layers of soft synths from the get-go, and the whole tune feels subtler than before. I’m excited to hear more from this upcoming record, which will be out on 8/2 via Ba Da Bing! Pre-order it here.
This weekend is filled with a ridiculous amount of good shows to catch and seems to be slated to remind you why it is you choose to live in The Live Music Capitol of The World. With an extra day to your weekend, there’s really no excuse not to get out and see some quality local and touring acts. Here are my picks for the next three nights for a killer time out for the holiday weekend.
Sometimes you just need a solid catchy pop track to jam to at your desk chair, in your car, or wherever. Sorcha Richardson, out of Dublin, is here to fill that need for you today with “Don’t Talk About It,” which is a tune about someone avoiding a feelings-heavy-chat and just rocking out. I’m drawn to the snappy chorus that features Richardson’s playful vocals and the line “Hey, okay, we don’t have to talk about it, it’s only love.” The rest of the tune has killer lines and swelling synths that float in the background. Look out for big things from Sorcha Richardson — her debut LP, First Prize Bravery, will be out this fall.
Oxen, out of Sweden, is the name under which longtime pals Stefan and Erik are making jangly rock tunes that are perfect for fans of The Vaccines and Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever. They just dropped a new track called “Matrix Moves,” which comes riding in hot on crisp jangly guitar riffs, while the vocals drip in swagger. The track is a killer tune for a Friday–it’s the perfect high energy, amp up song to get your toes tapping and your hips shaking.
Soft Streak are a duo out of LA making experimental indie pop, and we recently interviewed them before they swung through ATX for that SXSW thing. They’ve just dropped the video for their track, “Reasonable Lie,” which is about as catchy of an indie rock track as you’ll hear these days. I’m over the moon for the vocals of Tori Schachneon this number, as they strike that key balance between glossy pop on the choruses and a bit more gritty lo fi on the verses. Instrumentally, the song is bathed in waves of synths, snaps, and drum machine beats. As if the song wasn’t solid enough, the video is an artistic statement in its own right. Make sure you take a peek and add Soft Streak to your playlists and list of artists to spend more time with.
You may know Grace Gillespie, currently based out of London, from her work with 4AD’s Pixx, but if not, get ready for the bluesy sounds of her newest single, “I’m Your Man.” This track unfolds slowly, which is perfect for sleepy starts to the week on this Monday. Gillespie’s vocals walk the line between falsetto and crooner, which compliments the doo-wop, vintage feel of the track. There’s a lovely balance between slow-burn in the verses and a bit of a bite in the choruses and it feels like Gillespie will soon be taking her spot amongst the ranks of her contemporaries and fellow psych pop crooners Molly Burch and Angel Olsen. Take a listen below and fall for Grace Gillespie.
Yum! hail from Montreal, and the proclaim to be “making the kind of groovy jams that Lando Calrissian would get down to at his private island’s cabana bar.” After listening to “Haha I’ve Been Here Before,” I can second that sentiment, as it’s a delightfully light and airy new wave / synth bop that calls to mind a folksier, chilled out version of Dirty Projectors. Starting out with bubbling synths, we’re then eased into the track with slide guitar and a jazzy beat. The vocals hit this casual lukewarm stride, but you get the playfulness of group harmonies and backing vocals. It’s a lovely laid back tune with enough sonic energy to hold your attention. Take a listen and fall in love with Yum!
Another week, another track from Sid Steppes, apparently! Last week, Nathan shared this number from the SoCal artist, and this new one, “Keep in Touch,” has me grooving along as well, so I figured we’d keep the love going. This track is all at once to simple and yet so vastly layered that you’ll find yourself lost in the bedroom psych as you zone out watching the changing landscape of the video. The drums ground you in the tune while the guitar and Steppes’ hazy vocals duel for the spotlight. Make sure Sid Steppes is on your radar for the future and lookout for his new album,Trails, which will be out on May 31.
Rose Hotel is the moniker for the project of Jordan Reynolds, who is currently based out of Atlanta. On her way to releasing her debut LP, I Will Only Come When It’s A Yes, she’s most recently dropped the tune “Write Home,” which I have for you below. What awaits you is a lush dream pop track that vocally kind of reminds me a bit of Angel Olsen–that kind of smoky yet delightfully honeyed in moments. Reynold’s voice is perfectly accompanied by a horn, distorted guitars and lax percussion that makes you feel like you’re floating on a cloud. It’s a solid tune, and I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more tracks from Rose Hotel in the future. The debut LP will be out at the end of the month on May 31.