This could be a really awesome year for Diet Cig; the duo is already building quite a name for themselves, which is a great deal considering they haven’t even released their EP, Overeasy. The songs are immediately accessible, and while I can see some similarities to bands like Tegan and Sara or Vivian Girls (minus the wall of noise), but I hear a lot of Juliana Hatfield. I’m having fun with the lyrical playfulness; they’re relatable, yet they still have a harsh punch for their intended audience. Look for Father Daughter to release the EP on February 24th.
I’m going to always pronounce OOFJ as Uf-J! I think it adds a bit of emphasis to their sound, which may or may not always be needed. For instance, on their latest single, the lush arrangements that move through the song’s first few moments are pretty restrained, pulled back as if awaiting the electronic pulse that will soon enter. It’s like a combination of movie soundtrack bombast butting heads against dance floor sensibilities; not a bad way to approach things in my opinion. They’ll be releasing their new album, Acute Feast, via Ring the Alarm on April 21st.
Band names are often weird, but sometimes they’re really out there. Oddly enough, Pinkshinyultrablast is a name that somehow fits this power-shoegaze group from St. Petersburg, whose sound is a mix of airy dream and heavy noise pop. Everything Else Matters is their debut full-length album, and it is packed with tightly wound tracks that will have your head shaking and your feet tapping fiercely.
You wouldn’t believe my previous statement at the outset of the album, as opener “Wish We Were” creeps in slowly, but as the name of this band suggests, the band just needs a little bit of time to light the fuse before this record explodes into full throttle shoegaze bliss. A few minutes in the song takes off, transitioning from distant and ethereal to tangible and rocking. The drums and infectiously shoegazey guitars kick in, moving the song right along to the sleek sound that Pinkshinyultrablast does so well. “Holy Forest” keeps things heading in this same direction—the band’s sound blends electronic elements like synth and super reverb soaked vocals with the cutting electricity of the white hot guitars to create blazing tracks with speed and intrigue.
Each track pushes through to blossom into its own little explosion of dream pop bliss, some hitting harder and heavier, while other soar through lightly and airy. The vocals play a large part in the balance of Everything Else Matters, creating contrast to the music when its weighed down with a deep bass groove or when the guitars are shredding. “Metamorphosis” and lead single “Umi” are the bands’ best examples of this balance. The first of these two holds true to its name, alternating between simmering instrumentation and straightforward alt rock, the bass line stringing the two together perfectly. “Umi,” on the other hand, is just plain pretty and lush; synths and the lead soft vocals compete for your attention while the peppiness of the percussion bounces you along. Both of these are just two of the types of dream pop you’ll find on this album, and there are a lot more adventurous tracks for you to dance along to.
Just as this firework of an album begins, it fizzles out slowly, akin to the residual smoke that is left behind when the brilliant explosion fades away. What you’re left with is that elated feeling of wonder and excitement, and the burning desire to start it all over again. While this is an album that makes you want to just turn up the volume and jam along, after a couple of times through it begins to fall slightly dimmer each time—still good jams, but a little less hard hitting than the first time.
Everyone’s posting about this new Mikal Cronin single, but it’s too damn good to not share with you! So if somehow you still haven’t heard this track, it’s time for you to press that play button and get excited for the upcoming release of Mikal Cronin’s latest album, MCIII. Now, you’ll have to wait until May 5th to hear what Cronin has in store for you on the grand scale, but for now, soak up the warmth of this radiant alternative rock song. There’s soaring vocals, great little touches like bouncy piano and a catchy chorus you’ll be singing all day. Go on, enjoy.
Just before the holiday break and year-end lists I wrote a short note about Tam Vantage, who used to be part of Pop Singles (sorely missed). But, I got carried away with getting back to work and reading all those arbitrary lists, so I missed when he released another great single just before the year ended. So, why not make your Monday by sharing this tune with you. It’s a really subtle pop tune, slightly revolving around a melancholy tone that is being offset by the Australian perfected jangle in the guitars. Just one of the reasons I love this sound.
Man, looks like I’m all over the place today; I think I’m okay with that. This tune from Gengahr rolled out late last week, and I didn’t get a chance to really get into it until the sun parted the clouds here in Austin. The MGMT nod has already been given, but that’s mostly due to the vocals. I’m listening to the bass line quite a bit, not to mention that cascading guitar part that knifes its way through the middle of the track. It’s just one of those tracks that makes you feel pretty good inside, so why not give others a chance to hear that too? Look for their She’s a Witch EP on Transgressive Records in March.
Somehow I’ve managed to miss out on the attention building around Marika Hackman, a London based artist who specializes in a folksy blend of That is, of course, until I came across this latest single “Ophelia” and was blown away with the entrancing nature of the power female vocals that dominate the song. The track has got a really stripped sound, but one in which the minimalism of the eclectic and slow burning instrumentation does Hackman’s voice the justice it deserves. Her debut album, We Slept At Last is due out in a few short weeks on February 16th and from the sound of this track below and other singles that she’s put out, this album is gonna be pretty special.
It’s been almost a year since I’ve written about Never Young; they started out 2014 with a bang, and they look to do the same with their new release for 2015. The group specializes in huge walls of distorted sound that ring in your ears hours after you’ve turned their music off. Still, while that wall is likely to anger your neighbors and the sound ordinance, you can hear a gentleness lurking in the middle of the track; it’s juxtaposed to the brutal vocal delivery that operates atop the majority of the single. They’ll release their new Never Young EP on March 10th via Father Daughter Records.
I really do appreciate what Red Bull Sound Select is doing for locals. By selecting local acts to open for a touring group or a local mainstay, charging a cheap cover that involves getting there early, several bands are getting a few more eyes than a normal show. This, of course, is a pet peeve of ours; the venues and booking people go out of their way to get you a good lineup for your show-going dollar so get there to see the openers, geez.
The latest edition had an act form Dallas call Dark Rooms, local faves Orthy and was headlined by Slow Magic to bring the crowd. In fact, I was quite surprised by the masses there to see Slow Magic. There just might be something to this whole EDM fad. Heh.
Plenty of pics and more thoughts to follow…
I hate to make comparisons to bands, but when you first tell people about someone, it’s always good to have a name check. So in the case of Twin Limb, I’m going to give a slight nod towards the Beach House sect…though I think they hold onto a bit more clarity in their production. Don’t get me wrong, there’s definitely a nice lush sound building behind the strength of the vocals, but in the simplicity the song is able to reach great heights (such great heights?). They’ve also just released a video for the song, so you can check that out HERE. I’ll keep you posted as I hear more from the band.