At least once a year, we’re gifted a release by No Museums; they’re always creating, and always succeeding in crafting enjoyable tunes. Today they drop It All Begins to Feel, an exercise in brevity and hooks. Six of the seven tracks all come in at under 2 minutes, though the craftsmanship maximizes your listening in enjoyment. These are subtle pop tunes, filled with smoky vocals and great guitar work; at the moment my favorite of the 7 is “Old Projectors.” So much substance packed into an enjoyable 11 minute adventure. I’m hoping that the band will have another release for us by year’s end, so cross your fingers while you enjoy.
For some reason, and perhaps this is all on me, but I always thought of Club 8 as a purely indiepop hit machine. Sure, they stretched the form a bit, but from what we’ve heard off their 10th album, it looks like they’re really emphasizing the club punch on this go round. This jam has this throbbing pulse, kicked up by these electronic punches. Interestingly, the notes coincide with the breathy vocal delivery, matching note for note. It’s the sort of tune where you expect to sort of lose yourself within the confines of a fog filled club, lost in the beat of song; the chorus is pretty special too. Fire will be released January 26th via Labrador.
Hinds have just announced that they’ll be dropping their new record, I Don’t Run, on Mom + Pop on April 6th; they’ve done it in a fashion that’s straight to the hearts of the ATH team, with a soccer (futbol) themed video (their whole web site shares the theme if you’re so inclined). The video, and the song itself, encapsulate everything that’s great about the Spanish quartet. No matter what video they create, they always seem like they’re having one hell of a time; they make you wish you were in on the party. Plus, they always toss out a catchy lyrical nugget that has you screaming at the top of your lungs as you sing along; you can’t help yourself. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see too many folks out there having as much fun as Hinds…and that will always win me over.
A friend of a friend suggested I check into Little Star; I’m glad I have friends with good tastes. The Portland band have just released their Even In Dreams EP, with some sonic similarities to New Order on the opening track…though they push off in different directions as the EP progresses. For instance, “Jacks” has this airy bedroom pop quality, using a minimal set up to craft a quick emotional joy. Definitely a band to keep an eye on at the moment; you can grab the new EP from them on Bandcamp.
In case you missed it, Paul Bergmann made a beautiful record last year that I included in my Albums People Probably Overlooked. Rest easy, you still have time to go back, but first listen to this new entry into Paul’s on-going canon. It’s simple in structure, with Bergmann’s voice moving gently atop a walking piano line. At times, it almost sounds like the piano is going out of tune, haunted by a faint speaker hiss in the recording; it’s one of the more intimate offerings we’ve heard him created. Overall, it leaves you with a message of promise, both in life, and in Bergmann’s continued growth as a songwriter. This song will feature on his new EP titled Night, Unfold, which comes out on February 2nd.
Great Lakes have been hanging around for the better part of two decades, but they’ve changed quite a bit since their early participation in the Elephant 6 Collective. For starters, the only surviving member from the original line-up is Ben Crum, though the rest of the players in the band have been about for the last several records. But, more importantly, the sonic landscape has changed with age, finding the band channeling a more Americana leaning. The rock element is definitely apparent on this number, though the expansive sound of organs, layered guitars and gang vocals broaden those brushstrokes. While it may have that rock swagger, something about the song just feels like home, feels like comfort. The group are set to release Dreaming Too Close to the Edge on April 9th via HHBTM/Loose Trucks.
I know that I’m going to love listening to the new Hot Snakes record, but there are hints in their brand new tune that it might not be precisely the sound I remember. For one, Froberg seems to have dialed back his gnarly growl, at least for the majority of the track…perhaps he’s just saving himself. Also, the music seems a little bit tamer; the guitar chords are still sharp and jagged, but the vibe feels softer, somehow aged. While that all might seem like a departure, I think it signals a band willing to embrace their growth as time’s gone on…and whoever turned away from a decent melody? Their new effort Jericho Sirens will be out on March 16th via SubPop.
Among my favorite artists from Texas, if not just in general, are the brothers Kadane. Last year they issued Snow via their band The New Year; it was a wondrous return to form that charmed long time fans such as myself. Today we’re sharing a video for album track “The Last Fall,” directed by fellow Texan Keven McAlester. I really love how the noisy element of this track coincides with a brief interlude to the video’s story. Let’s not forget how well strong the cymbals sound on this tune, riding in step with the piano lines being used. It’s a great piece, both visually and musically, giving me yet another reason to break the LP out again and give it several spins. Still a few copies of the LP HERE.
You’ve got to be impressed by the mere existence of Refrigerator, a band still making incredibly powerful music several decades into their career. Their ready to release their new album High Desert Lows, their 11th LP, and if you’re not struck by this tune, then perhaps your speakers need a quick fix. What’s important are the finer details that make the song great, such as the careful use of string accompaniment or the careful chords ringing out just behind the delivery of the vocals. It’s strange, as the track seems so minimal, yet so overly powerful at the same time…a feat few can accomplish, or so I think. Look for the new LP to drop via Shrimper on February 9th.
It’s looking more and more likely that Australian artist Montero is going to find a broader base when he releases his new record. Luckily for us, the accompanying videos for this new album have been nothing short of remarkable, with this addition created by Sean McAnulty being added to that category. Atop of the visual concept, the music also speaks a to the lofty goals that Ben Montero has been able to create; this song has this magical quality, almost like space glam. It’s pop music swelling with emotion, dripping with creativity and layered with vocals that make us all part of the show. Look for Performer to hit on February 2nd via Chapter Music.