I’ve really been enjoying the new album from Pains of Being Pure at Heart. I’ll tell you now that it looks back at the old days of the band without a sense of regret, doing it with a fresh face, and a bit of a fresh sound. Groups can’t stay in one space for too long, so it’s no surprise that Kip’s cleaned up the guitars, opening up to a brighter pop sound on this go round. You know what? It still sounds really damn good, illustrating how great a songwriter Berman actually is. The new album is titled Days of Abandon, and you’ll be able to hear all the songs on May 13th.
Ah. The great power of good old rock and roll. Last night this track from Cocktails came into my inbox, and I’ve been rocking out to it ever since. They’ve just wrapped up their new album, Adult Love, prepping it for a June 17th release date via our friends at Father Daughter Records. The San Fran band recorded this gem with Rob Wood, who works in Warm Soda, so it’s no surprise that this is power-pop of the best sort. You’ll find a solid melody working its way throughout the track, and enough energy to help you make it through the next hour as you continuously press repeat. Let’s all rejoice in classic pop rock sounds!
Download: Cocktails – Tough Love [MP3]
Here’s the deal: Woods began as a band back in 2005, and ever since they’ve been cranking out albums left and right. With Light & With Love makes for their sixth full-length album of folksy indie rock that also kicks you in the face with rock and roll on occasion. There are a lot of things to appreciate about this group of four gentlemen from Brooklyn on this album which you’ll find soon after you press play.
Immediately, on the first track “Shepherd,” you think you know exactly what Woods‘ deal is all about. You have this ragtimey piano riff underneath it all, acoustic guitar strumming away, and what sounds like bluesy slide guitar intermittently. What is constant are Jeremy Earl’s soft and oddly half-falsetto vocals, that bathes everything in a bright light. Though the song talks of a “shepherd for your sorrows,” the sonic quality would have you believe otherwise; it’s as sunny as they come. The track briefly introduces you to their sound, making you feel at home with the group, even if you haven’t necessarily had vast knowledge of their previous catalogue.
“Moving to the Left,” offers a step back to their folksy roots—its gentle rhythm and slightly jangly percussion are smooth and comforting, while the lyrics on this song ask questions of existential proportion. Though the folk element is definitely here, Woods also brings in an undercurrent of electric guitar at the end of the song. They are always walking the fine line between genres, switching between folk and rock and pop and even blues at the trick of a hat while Earl’s vocals hypnotize and hold you steady. “Full Moon,” is another great example of this effect—the electric guitar riffs at the beginning seem to be coming to you from the Seventies, while there are also some synth sounds that bring you to 2014 again, with each other instrument seeming to evoke some other genre in between. You can pick out the influence and shaping elements from over the years here, which is somewhat of their deal: scattered throwbacks with modern elements to put a new spin on things.
Bottom line is, With Light & With Love is an accessible record of easy listening that packs a bit more of a punch with every listen. The lyrics are reaching, pulling at your conscious while the instrumentation lets your body sway easily. It is one of those deceptively friendly sounding albums that will have you constantly thinking and questioning while you jam, and I invite you to do just that.
For those of you who don’t remember Voxtrot, that’s completely okay, as the new album from Ramesh is far removed from those days. He’s spent some time gathering himself, musically speaking, and pouring out his soul into what we think is an incredible album, The King. It’s already gotten some love from P4K for its digital release, but all great records deserve a vinyl home, so we’re happy to announce that Austin Town Hall Records will be releasing The King this June. You have no idea how excited we are to be working with him, and in honor of this forthcoming vinyl release, we decided to give you a nice sneak peak via the single below. I’m pretty sure you’ll agree that this was a smart decision on our part. We’ll keep you posted with more on Ramesh’s touring plans and pre-order dates as that time draws near.
I’m sure that many of you heard this powerful track somewhere else yesterday, but I don’t care, as it is just too much fun for me to not share here. Of course Mr. Twin Shadow has given us some great tunes in the past, and this one is clearly just another one to add to his hit’s catalogue. We can find more of a driving, power pop ballad here when compared to some of his more recent dancey pop tunes. I will dare you to resist the power of this song. Double dare.
Twin Shadow is currently working on the follow up to his critically aclaimed 2012 album Confess.
Download: Twin Shadow – To The Top [MP3]
It’s been a bit since we’ve heard from Secret Cities, but they’re returning now with a bit of a change in direction, one meant to better fit their live shows. If you take in this single, you’ll immediately notice the bob and weave of the bass line, uplifting the band’s music. Marie Parker takes the vocal duties on this tune, providing even more melody and pop sensibility than we’ve witnessed before from the group. Now, we loved the group’s previous work, but I’m interested to see where they’re going on this new LP, Walk Me Home; it’ll be released by Western Vinyl on June 24th.
Download: Secret Cities – Bad Trip [MP3]
It’s weird how quickly Let’s Wrestle blew into our lives, then quietly faded away. But, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t keep an eye on the group…though it’s much harder from overseas. They’ve recently released their latest album, which is actually their first self-titled record. I beg you to find a way to get it in your hands, as it’s one of those records that will undeservedly fly under the radar. This song is one of my favorites; it shows just how mature the songwriting has gotten over the years, from the steadier pace to the use of string arrangements. Reminds me of the old school Brit-pop, just re-imagined; you can grab it from Fortuna Pop.
There are so many bands writing creative music today, that it’s quite nearly impossible to get to hear them all. With that in mind, I’d like to remind you about the Canadian act, Twin Library. I’ve written about the group before, and as I’m always stalking my favorites, I was made aware that they’ve just put up a great new album, Historical Tumblers. Personally, this track is one of my favorites on the record, though it’s also one of the shorter numbers; it’s a very simple bit of melody that draws me in every time. You can currently pick up their latest record for the always reasonable NYP (Name Your Price) by visiting them HERE.
Download: Twin Library – Swallows [MP3]
I feel like yesterday I sort of went in one-direction, musically. But, today I aim to mix it up a bit, so this little number offers up a little bit of art-rock from Puff Pieces. The song’s short, with this steady stabbing bounce that propels the song forward. There’s little yelps accenting the vocals every step of the way, making things emphatic, yet fun at the same time. The three piece is releasing a brand new 7″ titled 4 Songs next week via Lovitt Records; it’s mean to hold us over a little bit while we wait for a full-length to be recorded.
Frequent readers of our site, know that I am a huge fan of L.A. based rockers Criminal Hygiene. Once again, the band has completely surprised me with another superb track found below called “Raid”. Of course it’s a rockin’ number like we’ve come to expect from these guys, but let’s not forget the overall fun quality you hear throughout. These guys are just in it to create some solid tunes man.
This track is available on a new 7″ split with fellow rockers Dagos. Buy that one from Summer Bummer here.
Download: Criminal Hygiene – Raid [MP3]