Fred Thomas has made his mark throughout the last decade with Saturday Looks Good to Me (I still adore Every Night). But, as he steps into his own, I think he’s making a statement as one of the great pop songwriters we’ve got around. There’s no frills and hiding behind studio tricks, instead just rocking this song with his voice and his guitar. I’m always amazed how much people can accomplish with so little, and there’s a lot here for great pop fans. Look for his solo effort, All Are Saved, which is being released by longtime label Polyvinyl on April 7th.
Short answer: yes, yes I do. I have a love/take-it-or-leave-it relationship with this kind of music, but Minneapolis’ On An On have stolen my heart with the crisp and clear production on “Drifting,” which you’ll have to take a listen to below. This is the band’s first release in two years, and while the song may seem like a simple and plain track at first, before it reaches its end, it sharply changes direction and brings a real emotive punch. Indulge yourself and enjoy some straightforward alternative pop music with a hint of folk.
Friday night was jam packed with album releases and rad locals, so Saturday night slows down a wee bit, though there are still several shows worthy of catching your attention. It’s supposed to be cold, so bundle up, grab a friend and head out on the town…here’s my personal highlights of the weekend, including their meaningless genre guesses. Read More
The first single off Wand‘s newest album was an all-out rocker, displaying the band’s live energy in a recorded manner. But, their new single has a different side to it; it holds onto some of the heavier edge of the live setting, but the band explores some of that negative space in their own way. There’s a darkly driving pulse to this tune, but it brings out that experimental attitude along the way, which should make Golem one of the album’s you’re most looking forward to come this March (In the Red, 3/17). You can also check the band at SXSW, and read this rad interview I did with them a few weeks back.
Man…Woodsist is on it this week, as far as the troubadour style folk stylings go. They just tossed out two great tracks this week, both of artists that will be releasing new music soon. The first tune they had up was Simon Joyner‘s “Nostalgia Blues” off his Grass, Branch & Bone album (3/31); he has more of a Jeff Tweedy wistful quality, yearning, always yearning. Their other hit was from Little Wings; it’s “By Now” from his effort Explains (5/26). He’s definitely got more of a saddened touch to his style, but his lyrical playfulness reminds me a lot of David Berman. Congrats to the label…these are some really great tunes.
I’ve been approaching the new Young Guv effort with a bit of trepidation for some reason; I think the first single caught me off guard, but I can see why the always reliable Slumberland Records grabbed this new LP, especially after jamming this tune all day. There’s a bit of gritty shoegaze in the way the guitars swirl around in the mix, but Ben Cook definitely takes hold of his newer pop-centric aims on his vocal display. This is one of those tracks that could seemingly break through the universe and catch hold of every pop fan out there; it’s that good. Look for Ripe 4 to hit the streets on March 10th.
I was just talking about the search for rad bands I hadn’t had a chance to even really check out when I stumbled upon Spring King. The UK pop group have this strong sense of pop traditionalism, though they juxtapose that with some rougher edges, building their tunes with driving guitar rhythms to hook listeners. They just released this single this week, so if you’re looking for a bit of discovery, or just a rad hit to work into your daily listening rotation, then go with these lads.
Sometimes I like to mix it up a bit and go down a slightly different path musically, and boy, has Lanks satisfied that desire with “Hold Me Closer.” Lanks is the project of Melbourne artist Wil Cuming, and it focuses on turning your folk expectations on its head with electronic elements that will have you wondering if it acceptable to dance to this song, wherever it may be finding you. “Hold Me Closer” is a perfect example of this type of groove, with its constant beat that kicks things off, a brief blip of folksy sounding music, and then the eminent addition of more and more electronic elements, while keeping that twangy guitar. Sure, it’s a weird phenomenon, but one I’m digging. What do you think?