As the musical year draws to a close, it’s getting kind of hard to find some solid tracks to toss your way, but I didn’t have to go too far once I visited the site of our old friends over at Old Flame Records. They’ll be releasing the debut of You Won’t, titled Skeptic Goodbye, and it’s definitely something you’ll want on your 2012 radar. This track has been floating around for a few weeks or so, and it’s going to be floating around in my head for the rest of the week I feel. The gentle strum of the mandolin along with the accompanying percussive stop just makes its way into your soul, in only the best way possible. Look out for these guys to make a big splash in 12′.
Download: You Won’t – Who Knew [MP3]
One of the fads of the last decade or so has been alt-coutnry, and with so many bands out there, it’s been hard to really find that one great alt band that wins everyone over. Fortunately for us, and you, Austin band Guns of Navarone have crafted an exceptional record full of well-written tunes in the vein of alt-country. Prize and Battlefield is the name of the record, and they’ve just tossed out another great single that exemplifies the band’s sound. It’s a bit of that country feel, but there’s hints of underlying pop, as well as a gruffness that accompanies the vocals. Now’s your chance to join us in our praise for one of Austin’s great bands.
Download: Guns of Navarone – Gatsby Did It All For a Girl [MP3]
Our friend Kevin’s probably going to hate the fact that I can’t get over my infatuation with all things Comet Gain related, but what can I say, I’m a sucker for the band. However, this track only features part of the group, as well as members of Crystal Stilts, so that should garner me some hipster cred, right? The track below is from the Butterbean Crypt EP, which was released only in the UK on Fortuna Pop, but it’s still worth hyping one of my favorite songwriters, David Feck. This track here is a lot more aggressive than previous works, and seemingly unites some of the Stilts psych tendencies. Definitely a nice addition to the group’s brief history.
Download: Cinema Red and Blue – Walkin’ To The Cemetery [MP3]
Interestingly, Wild Arrows has a bit of a post-hardcore influence, but listening to this single from their new EP ,The Punks Don’t Know What Punk Is, has not trace of that style in there at all. From the moment you get into the track, there’s nothing but playful pop lurking about. and it’s the pop of the good kind. It’s light-hearted with very little kitsch to it, so you can’t help other than to feel the effortless bounce from within. With main musician Mike Law’s storied past in the business, it will be interesting to see where he goes with the rest of the EP.
Download: Wild Arrows – Cloudbursting [MP3]
After the release of the Human Highway record, featuring Nic from Islands, I truly expected a lot more of a mellow approach to singwriting. But, then Nic went out and threw Vapours at us. It’s not that I minded, but I was looking forward to a more contemplative side of the man, which might be what we’re getting when Islands release A Sleep and A Forgetting on February 14th via Anti- Records. He seems calm here, willing to lay down a great harmony to build the song around. He’s great when he’s spastic, but this is an interesting touch on an ever-changing career.
Download: Islands – This Is Not a Song [MP3]
We brought you the news a few weeks ago that Deranged Records would be releasing a compilation from Marvelous Darlings, the project of Fucked Up‘s Ben Cook. This time around we have a brand new track that’ll be featured on the album, and it’s precisely what you’ve been promised. Everything you ever loved about pogoing around your room, with hints of Westerberg-esque delivery on the vocals pushing you to sing along. Sometimes nostalgic throwback tracks just kick you in the teeth in the most enjoyable way, and I’m not going to stop playing this record as it’s filled with tracks just like this.
Download: Marvelous Darlings – Teenage Targets [MP3]
We’re getting closer and closer to the release of Frank Smith’s brand new record here in January of 2012. The group has already leaked “Monsters,” and in their promise to release three of the tracks, they’ve got “A Decline” for you this time around. From what we’ve been given so far, Before You Were Born will feature a more ornate sound, carefully crafted to evoke maximum emotion from the listener. I really enjoy the way this song unfolds, seemingly alternating the pace of the track without ever losing a bit of the magic. Seems like it should be a great 2012 for Frank Smith.
Download: Frank Smith – A Decline [MP3]
Fresh off the excellent release of New Heaven, Pittsburgh’s 1 2 3 are back with a brand new single, and with that single, they’ll be offering you two brand new tracks. As of right now, I’m pretty sure you can grab these tracks from the band’s site for free, so you’ll need to get your hands on these new jams. However, the single itself is for “Scared but Not That Scared,” which is one of the standout tracks you’ll find on the record. It’s got this cutting guitar line working in and out of these excellent bits of melodic pop. It’s a record filled with hook after hook, so you’ll want to head back and revisit the work from these guys.
Download: 1 2 3 – Scared But Not That Scared [MP3]
Don’t you love when you run across an incredible pop tune that you just can’t get out of your head? This new self-titled EP from The Proper Ornaments is absolutely incredible, and you can definitely find yourself getting carried away listening to it on repeat. For me, it reminds me of a smoother Beach Fossils, with the same sort of drum beat and jangle to the guitar lines, but the vocals definitely are a lot gentler. Those in love with all things jangling and twee will find themselves falling head over heels for this record, so head HERE to get yourself a copy.
Download: The Proper Ornaments – Who Thought [MP3]
Everyone has been talking about the reunion of the “classic” line-up for Guided by Voices since their return to the road last year. And while the January physical release of Let’s Go Eat the Factory Out is still a bit off, the band is pushing out another new single for your ears. This new number is a bit slower than the previous single, but Pollard’s vocals definitely have that tone that made him such a memorable frontman from the beginning. If you’re a true fan, you’re probably on board; if not, you can still get into this track, and band, before the new album hits stores.
Download: Guided By Voices – Doughnut For A Snowman [MP3]