I’m really enjoying this great new tune from Rae Fitzgerald as I look out the window at the pouring rain. The track offers a slow pace of careful pop built up by a nice electronic background. When the song picks up pace just a little bit for the chorus, that warm sensation washes over you as Rae details her personal experience through they lyrical content. This is our first listen to work from Popular Songs for Wholesome Families, which she’ll be releasing on her own on June 3rd.
Retail Space is a pair from Brooklyn brandishing catchy pop music that you won’t want to turn off. While the band play upon the trading melodies of male and female vocals, they aren’t one to sound like too many of their contemporaries; I, for one, really like the energy that they’re kicking out. Like the best hits, the chorus is perfect for singing along, and the propulsive nature of the synth work builds you towards that emotional release. They’ll be releasing In the Lotia this June, and this our first listen…and what a listen it is.
I really like this new track from Stone Cold Fox. There’s vocal bits that remind me of early Beach House, though I feel like you can hear just a little bit more of a soulful longing. Musically, the band has more of a sprawling noise based upon guitars rather than electronic washes, which definitely ups my enjoyment. And, the vocals remain the song’s focal point, accented by the stabbing guitar chords and machine-gun drum hits; it leaves you with a powerful impression that begs you to come back for more. The group release the Tunnel Vision EP next Friday.
It’s been nearly 9 years since we last heard from Japancakes, and there couldn’t be a better way for the band to reintroduce themselves than through this new synth driven track off their new LP. Those who’ve followed the band might notice something slightly different…the inclusion of vocals…the first time the band have used such an approach in 20 years. But, Carrie Clough hits the perfect notes, especially around the 1.43 minute mark; it soars highly before allowing for the electronic pulse to bounce back into your ears. Backing vocals get added to the rear-end of the song, emphasizing the majestic pop the band have left you with on this tune. Their self-titled release will be out on May 6th.
I like when bands quietly release tracks, knowing that the strength of the song will draw people in to their work…which happens to be the case with this new Psychic Ills tune. Listening to it, it feels like the band have sort of taken on the Spiritualized approach, turning from one sound into the darkened R&B/soul influenced folk outfit. This tune really has the feeling of Western expansion, gradually letting the song flow through your speakers. Sacred Bones Records will be releasing Inner Journey Out on June 3rd, and it looks to be one of those records you quietly enjoy, then buy copies for your friends.
There have been whispers of Omni signing to Trouble in Mind Records, and man, this one lives up to all my expectations. It’s definitely not your run-of-the-mill tune, hitting hard instantly, frenetically blasting through in less than two minutes. It sounds old-school, but in that, it also sounds refreshing, not being weighed down by any of the modern textures. This is pure angular punk of the pop sort, the type that excites anyone listening. Deluxe will be out on July 8th, so be ready for something really exciting.
Prior to right this minute I knew not one thing about Netherlands based pop group Stillwave, but I’m looking to change that starting now. Our introduction to the band is this awesome and unique new single “What Have You”. What we have here is a brooding sort of pop song full of darkness and some extremely heavy vocals unlike any other you’ve likely heard before. I think you’d be hard pressed to find this interesting and delightful take on pop music anywhere else. Stay tuned as a new EP is apparently coming soon.
If you didn’t get your hands on the Gunnels/Tangible Excitement album that came out via Emotional Response then you’re surely missing out on something great. But, that’s neither here nor there, as Tangible Excitement (Boyracer/Lucksmiths) are back with a brand new track…though rumor has it that this isn’t the final version (expect more noise). For my two cents, I think this one succeeds without the noise; there’s a moment just before the 1.5 minute mark that really got me. The melody is spot on, with just enough twinkling from the guitars to catch the listener. You’ll hear this song on a new 2 song flexidisc that’s slated for later this year via Freakscene.
Puff Pieces are anything but what their band name might lead you to believe. They’ve compiled 11 songs for their latest release, Bland in DC, with each providing listeners with a message. You needn’t look further than some of the titles like “March of the Idiots” or “Money” to see where they take aim. But, in order for the record and the message to completely endear itself to the audience, the band has to supply the musicality to make it last…and boy do they.
“Wanna No” kicks off the album in a jittery, proto-punk fashion while the vocals are drawn out across the tune, seemingly working against the heart of the track. Emphasis is given by backing vocals sporadically shouted from the distance. Staying long isn’t the band’s cup of tea on Bland in DC, as they bounce right into the next track, and so on and so forth until the end. At times, it almost feels like you’re falling off the tracks or racing towards the finish line, such as on tracks like “Wondrous Flowers;” it’s remarkable how quickly and flawlessly the rhythm section moves throughout.
Yet while the group definitely has a signature sound they’re pushing, they also open up the chords for a more traditional approach on tracks like “Pointless People,” which again takes on a furious pace that would likely have normal humans rushing to catch their breath.
I think my favorite track is “Goths and Vandals;” there seems to be a dark sense of humor that lurks in the track, if not a slight bit of sarcasm. My favorite lyric comes via “Y” where the band proclaims “the future’s like a big locked door.”
All in all, I found the record really enjoyable, but I can see detractors proclaiming that it’s too one-note. On the surface, sure, but those of you looking for energetic, yet artful, punk with a message will find a happy home with Puff Pieces.
Adrian Quesada has pretty much combined a who’s who of Austin and part-time Austin greats to comprise his latest work as the Echocentrics. Yesterday, as I hope you heard, they unleashed one of the tracks that features Bill Callahan, who we haven’t heard from since about 2014. There’s something about his voice that’s always hit home with me; it’s somewhat forlorn, yet familiar and deep…maybe it’s how I want my voice to be. Anyways, once the production jumps in, the song takes off completely, adding a spirit not always associated with Bill. I particularly enjoy the little guitar part that dances between the 54 second and 1.14 second marks. Echo Hotel is the next project slated for release from the group; it hits on May 20th via Nacional.