I’ve got a long history with pop punk/power-pop, but stoked to find some sweet pop punk licks close to home, just a few hundred or so miles down the road in San Antonio with Who Was Watching. Andrew Elizalde mentions Tony Molina as one of his influences, and that’s fitting as both artists share personal stories and give them vital meaning by providing these huge hooks that stay with the listener long after their quick bursts of pop. I love the nice balance added throughout this tune with the female backing vocal…definitely my kind of harmony. The debut EP from the project drops today!
I hope you will join me in welcoming to the new artist buzz train New Orleans based songwriter Carver Baronda. She makes incredibly personal, heartfelt folk inspired tunes with hints of reverb and sparse backing beats. Our first exposure to this delightful new artist comes from her latest single “Devotion”. For me it fits perfectly as something coming out of New Orleans right now as hurricanes and weather threat the region again and we all seem to question our devotion to various things. Lovely songwriting.
Bardona will release a debut EP entitled Spooky Love on October 18th. (pre-order)
Austin’s Masculine Pain are fairly new to the scene, though its various members are longtime staples of the music scene here. You’ll recognize the vocals of Eric Braden of Big Bill, while Nate Cardaci of Tres Oui/Literature and Tim Bond round things out. This one’s a slow-burner, building over beats and a bobbing bass line; it’s the perfect setting for Braden’s vocal delivery, matching each syllable to the movement. Dreamy guitar notes filter in from the background as Braden sings “I’m not in control.” For me, the climax comes right at the 1:50, the mood twists, guitars and synths wash in more of a dream vibe, and as the vocals match, it’s this huge wall of euphoria blasting you right in the face; I should have been expecting this. Putting great songwriters together doesn’t always work, except when it does…and here, it does.
I’ve always enjoyed the work of Elizabeth, most notably as the leader of Totally Mild. But, I’ll come out now and say it…I’ve never heard her sound as powerful and bold as she does on her latest single. The arrangements are perfect, dreamy when necessary, but mostly staying out of the way, save for that heavy-hearted piano line. It all serves as the ideal backdrop for Elizabeth’s striking vocal performance, emphatically hitting those high notes just before the 3 (and 4) minute mark. If ever there was a ballad built for your Friday, let this be the one. The Wonderful World of Nature will be out on November 1st.
It’s really hard not to get personal when writing about Daphne Tunes; I’ve been writing about lead songwriter Santiago RD for what seems like years, not to mention releases I’ve done with he and the rest. But, I try to always work with good humans…and this band is full of some of the best. Alas…there’s a song at play here, I swear. Let’s take on those guitars first. Here they have this almost 80s soft rock swagger, mixed in between some really soft guitar jangles that leave plenty of space. Why space? Well, because Santiago has one of those special voices you wish could accompany you anywhere; he weaves his vocal lines so naturally into the fabric of the song that it almost becomes this added layer of melody. Hands down one of my favorite voices in Austin. Hearing this song just makes me feel like the world does indeed have promise, like we have reason to celebrate. It’ll appear on the band’s new album, Volume 2, which will be packaged with Volume 1 on nice shiny vinyl on October 4th, courtesy of Uncool Records.
When I first heard this track from Vern Matz, I was really taken aback by its fragility. There’s something about the song that made it seem like it could break into a million pieces inside my ears. Circling back, the depth is built into the song so subtly that it honestly took me a few turns to really hear the bending of the guitar strings in the Western horizon, riding atop a solemn drum role. Perhaps its familiarity provided an easy access point, so I figured I’d slow roll this Friday and let you slide into the weekend nice and slow.
I’ll be honest, I haven’t thought about Hot Shorts in quite awhile, not since their tune on the old Art is Hard postcard series dropped years ago. But, coming back from a late night, this track fits perfectly into my expectations for a Thursday. The track has this natural wobbly stomp to it, built in by the ringing guitar work and the vocal delivery. It’s the chorus that really grabbed me; I love the emphatic nature delivering the hook here, and I couldn’t get it out of my head for a hot minute. Nope, still not out. Their new LP I Understand and I Wish to Continue will be out on October 25th via Icecapades.
A whole ton of praise has been given to Nashville based Sophie Allison and her musical project known as Soccer Mommy. We’ve certainly boarded the hype train for her music over the years and have seen her well deserved popularity and success grow. After her growth last year, Allison stayed relatively quiet on the new music front, but is returning today with her brand new single “lucy”. It has that same sort of mellow, shoe-gazy vibe to it but with a bit more of a polished sound sure to invite even more fans into the fold. If you dig, the song will be released in November via a 7-inch single on Loma Vista Recordings.
I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve heard thus far from the forthcoming Up on High, the new LP from Vetiver. It still has this folk appeal, though there’s this underlying energy in the songs that sort of pull at my power-pop taste buds. Am I going to go pogoing down the hall? No. But, I’ve got this tune on repeat and my toes are tapping consistently, my fingers typing with the song’s natural rhythm as we speak. But, there’s also this great swath of warmth that comes from the harmonic nature in the vocal melodies, like the sweet whisper of promise hanging on the wind. You’re really going to want to hear this one. Look for their new LP via Mama Bird on November 1st.
As we ease into the weekend I am needing a bit of an upbeat tick in my music to prepare myself for fun, heat, and football. Funny enough, my Canadian friends from Montreal in Corridor have provided a perfect summer weekend track with their new one “Domino”. Regardless of if you can comprehend the French lyrics, you have to admit that this song is super easy to fall into with those jangly guitars and expertly crafted drum/bass pieces. Enjoy.
Corridor will release new album Junior on October 18th via Sub Pop Records.