There are a handful of artists that craft these really beautiful soundscapes that are infused with energy and airy vocals; they build the sort of world we all want to live inside. Lately I can look at Peel Dream Magazine who might be looking at Stereolab…and now we’ve got Marble Arch. They’re doing something similar, even adding a bit of that ringing jangle guitar to the front of the mix before washing over it with synths and precision drum work. The vocals are submerged in the mix, faintly audible, utilized for both lyrical intent as well as an added instrument. The Parisian outfit are really something to be on the lookout for; keep your eyes out for Children of the Slump early next year via Geographie.
While I’ve spent a lot of time jamming the latest Papercuts records, this new tune from Shadowgraphs is trying to align itself with a similar vibe. There are definitely still some light psychedelic references, particularly in some of the layered guitar parts. But, scrub that a little bit, and beneath the surface is this huge pop sensibility, bursting dreamily through your speakers. A slight bit of fuzz gives the sound this heaviness, which really allows for the vocals to sort of float off into the ether. The band are releasing Another Time on November 30th via Golden Brown.
Oh man, do I love a good quiet melancholic bedroom pop track. Maybe it’s the cold snap we’ve had here in Austin that draws me in so deeply to “Tomb,” but most likely it’s the fact that Angelo De Augustine just knows how to craft a solid tune. While I’ve been a longtime fan, he’s made a big wave in the indie rock world as of late for sharing a live version of his tune, “Time” with Sufjan Stevens’ help on piano. That’s a gorgeous tune, but it seems like he’s really outdone himself with this video for “Tomb,” as you can peek below. Augustine has these impossibly beautiful vocals that float in with a falsetto whisper. Couple that with brilliant songwriting (“You’ve been living your life from the outside / like a stranger inside of your own mind”) and you get the devastating, Elliott-Smith reminiscent, “Tomb.” Safe to say I’m very excited for the full-length this track is taken from. Pre-orderTombbefore its January 18th release date on Asthmatic Kitty.
I’m a few days late to the party on this one, but that doesn’t mean you should be like me and miss this lovely track from Mk.gee. It’s a pretty low-key one, but totally fits the gentle vibe that seems to be hitting the spot for me with the fall. Mk.gee is the moniker for Michael Gordon, who is making delicate tunes that sound like they’re coming to you from the bottom of a lagoon. Echoey instrumentation and vocals kind of waft your way in waves on “New Year,” as he ruminates on the passing of time and that hollow feeling that comes with ringing in another year. This track is from Mk.gee’s new EP, which will be out this Friday, 11/16.
As the year’s end comes nearer, I’m revisiting notes and such things I’ve made to remind myself of what I really enjoyed. Somehow, I skipped over writing about the Whip Hand, even though it made it into my indiepop list, so I aim to remedy that now. The band walks the careful line between indiepop and shoegaze, utilizing these sharp jagged guitar chords to encourage toe tapping, whilst drawing out vocal notes in a dreamier fashion. Their album Sometimes, We Are, just dropped in October, so you can still go out there and be cool by discovering it and sharing with your friends…like me! Grab the album from Lady Sometimes Records.
It’s been a hot minute since we’ve heard from Juan Wauters; his last release was back in 2015 with Who Me. But, worry no more, as he’s finished up some traveling through Latin America and will return with La Onda de Juan Pablo. His travels began in Puerto Rico, where the following tune was begun; he was struck by a couple of characters playing boleros, thus crafting his own. It immediately has this almost traditional light-hearted vibe, particularly in the supporting vocals. You’ll also note that Wauters is singing entirely in Spanish, something that continues through the whole of the new album. I know I’m fond of the style, and if you find yourself in the same boat, look for the new album on January 25th via Captured Tracks.
This track may already be Cool Music Blog certified, but I like it, so I’m going to share it with you anyways, dear reader. And The Kids sure have a hit on their hands, and I expect this isn’t the last you’ll hear from this crew of Massachusetts indie rockers. “Champagne Ladies,” harnesses the energy of frustrations not into apathy, but something quite catchy. With a chorus of “Life is a bastard/Life wants to kill you/don’t get old,” you’ll be remiss not to sing along. Personally, what really tipped the scales for this one for me was the sick electric guitar riff that hits around the 2:30 mark. Not to mention, this crew has put together a solid video that is both quirky and earnest, with front person Hannah Mohan belting their heart out with a fierce and steady glare directly at you. And The Kids just announced their debut LP,When This Life Is Over, which will be out Feb. 22.
Man Toronto based outfit Tallies are quickly becoming one of my new favorite bands of 2018. Having already won my heart with “Beat the Heart” a month ago, the band now return with this hit new single “Watercolored Shoegaze”. As the name suggests, this certainly falls into the shoegaze genre but with some elements of 80s alt-rock thrown in to keep things interesting. If you haven’t yet, it’s time you check out Tallies and the beautiful voice from Sarah Cogan.
Tallies will release their self-titled debut LP on January 11th via Kanine Records.
You’ve got to trust the people you know, and it seems like almost every one of my favorite Austin artists (not to mention folks who we’ve worked with) have worked with Shawn Jones and his project, The Lovely Sparrows. But, he’s been relatively quiet since 2011, moving out of the city limits to refocus on his craft. It seems he’s returned with a pocked full of some of the best songs he’s written. On this number below, I was immediately struck by the driving bass work, and the subtle jangle of guitar dancing in step with the drumming of Matt Shepherd; it’s perfectly matched in production, adding these delicate layers that build the song up. He’s also always been a masterclass lyricist; I’m particularly keen on the line “if it’s artificial baby let it die.” You’ll definitely want to be sure spend a great deal of time with Shake the Shadow, out on November 16th via Abandoned Love Records.
For Austin fans, there’s a release show on 12/13 over at Barracuda.
It wasn’t hard to convince me to play this new Monteagle track; I was stuck right away with the guitars ambling across the stick/snare percussion. Then Justin Giles Wilcox sort of moseyed on over with his gentle croon; I think the hidden charm is the slight vocal change during the chorus, offering up a slightly higher tone whilst still holding onto the natural sense of longing in the tune. It seems like Wilcox is hitting that sweet spot in his songwriting abilities, and we all get the benefit of those gifts; look for Midnight Noon on November 30th via Fire Talk.