In just over a week I hope you’ll all be heading to your local record shops to pick up the excellent new LP from the Spook School. On this tune, the band take on positive body image, as well as the trappings that seem to go with it. This is precisely what I love about the band…there’s a message in every song, yet they disguise it with this their jittery pop, subversively encouraging you to be better…all the while tapping your toes. It also doesn’t hurt that the midsong breakdown rushing towards the close is an emphatic pop punch I’ll never shy away from. Look for the group’s Could It Be Different next week via Slumberland/Alcopop…and keep your eyes peeled, as they’ll be touring the States real soon with friends Diet Cig.
Ever since Metalmania dropped a few years back, I’ve been anxiously awaiting the return of New Zealand’s Salad Boys. What I didn’t expect was a record that was good in every single way, and hopefully establishing the group as one of the stronger bands in the guitar pop realm. Take a song like “Psych Slasher;” it hits hard from the get go, rushing distorted jangling guitars, but just as you think the band are here brandishing a bursting tune, they pull it back, ever so slightly to reveal a soft blanket of pop. Overall, this is a balanced effort, from the spoken word stylings of “Scenic Route to Nowhere” to the bright jangling pop of “Under the Bed,” all indicating a band hitting peak form in songwriting. Press play below, and you won’t hear a bad tune; This Is Glue is available this Friday via Trouble In Mind.
The Canadians formerly known as Viet Cong, now known as Preoccupations are readying what is sure to be one of the top albums of 2018. I’m probably a little late on this since I was in a snow day stuper yesterday, but when songs are as good as “Espionage”, I’ll share them late or not. The track has a very 80s electronica, new wave feel to it with the usual intense vocal delivery from frontman Matt Flegel. This is shaping up nicely.
Preoccupations will drop New Material on March 23rd via Jagjaguwar.
One of my favorite albums from last year was B-Boys jamming Dada LP. So, news breaks that the band’s Brendon Avalos is releasing his debut under his solo Gift Wrap moniker and I’m salivating about what’s in store. You can see some sonic similarities, especially in the way some of the vocals are stretching notes, but overall, this has an entire different feel. Honestly, it sounds like a sharper produced version of Blank Dogs, which makes sense seeing that this project will be released by Captured Tracks. I will say that I think this is more guitar influenced in structure, but maybe I’ve yet to have enough coffee today. Losing Count will be released on March 2nd.
I like the immediacy of this new track from Noble Son; it hits the listener right off the bat with its guitar circling the stomp of the drum work. A playful piano line adds an extra layer to the song just before Adam Kirschner delivers his first vocal line. He’s got a distinctive set of pipes, but I love the operatic power it holds the most, soaring above the mix in a marvelous fashion. It’s strange, but perhaps the best compliment I can offer this tune is that I never hear the same thing…at times I am attracted to the unfolding bounce, other times it’s the tinkering piano line…all pointing to an album of great promise. Joy in Violence will be self-released on March 30th, with a slew of Canadian tour dates around the release.
It’s been a few years since we’ve heard new tunes from Amen Dunes, but I’m definitely enjoying this track that comes with the announcement of a new LP. The first thing that struck me is the propulsive tone of the percussion; it sets the perfect pace, steady and pushing the tension. It’s fitting because Dylan McMahon’s voice definitely doesn’t seem steady; he holds onto notes and syllables until there’s almost nowhere else for them to venture. He still has a folk affection in the voice, but the sound of this single hints that the band’s new LP might be a little bit broader than what we heard on Love. Sacred Bones will be releasing Freedom on March 30th.
Just as I was lamenting a shortage of great indiepop vibes in the 2018, it looks like the world was destined to prove me wrong. Today A Certain Smile announce the release of their debut album, bringing the sound of Portland’s indiepop to our ears. The track rushes forward from the get-go, employing little touches of shoegaze in the guitar to go along with more traditional jagged lines stabbing through the mix. Vocals from Thomas Andrew provide that fireside warmth that pop fans crave, sending out wave after wave of melodious lines through your speakers. The debut album Fits and Starts will be released by the band on March 9th, and it’s sure to be a gem.
SXSW Music Festival Wristbands will be priced at $169 (including tax) and will sell out quickly. Sales are limited to Austin area residents. All advance sales will be online. Individuals may purchase one wristband for themselves and one for another person whose name must be provided at the time of purchase. Online purchase requires a credit card with a billing zip code in the Greater Austin area. A list of zip codes is available at wristbands.sxsw.com/music.
There’s a certain broad-sweeping emotion in the music being crafted by Eric Benoit; his latest single is exactly what we’ve come to expect as we look forward to the release of his new record, Heartrender. Opening with a deep guitar line with just the faint hint of buzz from the recording builds a stark landscape for Benoit to carefully float his voice. He seems like he’s not in any rush as he just quietly croons, some notes quivering in the mix. You should definitely keep your ears peeled, as the song erupts into a close. Look for the release on January 26th.
While he’s only got one album under the name of Josh T Pearson; he’s been writing important music in the state of Texas for several decades…perhaps most prominently in Lift to Experience. He’s putting all that behind him, offering his most straight-forward collection of tunes on his new record, The Straight Hits. There’s some sonic similarities that have always been in Pearson’s songwriting, but I love the way he seems to interpret the history of Texas music in his own brand, from the drawn out growl to the stuttering delivery during the verses. This album is meant for immediacy, and on this round, he’s accomplished his feat; look for the album to drop on April 13th.