It looks as if the Smallgoods were not calling it quits, they were merely on a hiatus, and now, seven years later, that has come to an end; the band just announced their return and a new album to come this June. It’s been about a dozen years since their last proper release, and they’re still writing these soaring pop tracks that seemingly survive on melody alone. Don’t get me wrong, the sonic texture is bright and meaningful, but the slight tonal changes that rise and fall are pure bliss; it’s like the best indiepop and power-pop mash-up you never knew you needed…one might even call it the twee Nada Surf (and I mean that respectfully). Lost in the Woods will be released in June via Lost and Lonesome.
You think we’d sleep on another up-and-coming Melbourne act? Think not, especially when it comes to churning guitar pop like Quivers present to us here. There’s a classic alternative sound to this track, something that’s faintly reminiscent of early U2 or REM, though they’ve reworked the style to fit right into today’s musical landscape. I love the sharp guitar stabs that shine through your speakers, and you don’t have to get me started on the vocal harmonies that float throughout the entirety of the single. They fill this track with so much delicate musicianship that I keep going back and hearing little chords or melodies that I hadn’t heard the first time, so please, give this at least 12 listens. Oh, and did I mention they’ll be at SXSW?
Tragedy struck the Ocean Party late last year, with the passing of Zac Denton. But, before that, the band, who had typically written all their songs together, suggested the idea they should all write their own EPs, to spotlight their various songwriting talents. Zac went home to record his, encouraging the others to add to it as they saw fit, though there was no hurried schedule. When he passed, the band went to add their parts, to add to the storied life of an incredible songwriter gone too young. Nothing Grows marks what is the last Ocean Party release, dropping in a limited quantity on Emotional Response here in the States.
While Chapter Music might be best known in the States for their excellent guitar oriented tastes, they have a deep catalog, with several club acts that need your attention. The label’s latest signing Honey 2 Honey, is one such act, offering dance-inflected RnB tunes. Their first single is this steady groove that builds atop itself as it moves along; it sort of teases out additional notes as it moves forward, though I respect the amount of space left in the track. The vocals are deep and heavy, intoxicating in their own way (which I guess can match the song’s title?). Those of you who are way into James Murphy might want to spend some quality time with this one. The band will release their A Taste Of EP via Chapter on April 5th.
Late last year, before we started dropping all that list nonsense, Jess Ribeiro released a new tune; she’s back again with another new track/video for you. This tune has a sort of cosmic pop vibe, one that seems build for those drives from Texas through into the dusty horizons heading out West. Ribeiro’s voice has this nice smokiness to it, which only furthers that meandering vibe of the music that pulsates just beneath her. She hasn’t released a full length since 2015, but these last two powerhouse singles are incredible, so maybe there’s still hope 2019 will see a new Jess release…though is she’s stoked to just drop great track after great track, I’ll be here listening.
Don’t let that sludgy guitar deter you from finding the pop nuggets lurking in this brand new track from Aussie outfit, Mope City. I love the mellow pace of this track, letting you sink into your chair as it takes over while Matthew and Amaya trade vocals with one another; it reminds me of the cute moments in a Moldy Peaches song, though much much cooler. But, just as I was comfortable, the band blast forth with a forceful moment of rock n’ roll, making me jump out of my chair. Haven’t heard anyone execute the quietLoudquiet routine this perfectly in quite some time. The group will be releasing their new album, New from Home, on January 18th via Tenth Court Records.
Admit it…you’re already tired of year-end lists; you want to hear a great song or two before you go home for the Holidays. Luckily, Australia’s Annual Leaf have just dropped a wonderful collection of new songs that warrant your attention. I mean, I’d go ahead and give this band all my money for the opener alone. It teases you, with this really slow guitar for a few seconds, but if you hold tight, the quick turn to bubblegum pop stylings will have you softly tapping your toes as Matty and Mel let their voices intertwine. If I were you, I’d go grab the Raspberry Intense EP now!
Jess Ribeiro is one of the great voices coming over from Australia, though she perhaps doesn’t get the deserved buzz that some of her fellow songwriters do. I’m hoping this video starts to make its way to our neck of the woods, creating some new friends for Jess in the States. The guitar on this tune is understated, lightly strummed behind the front of the mix, which is obviously reserved for Ribeiro’s striking voice. At times, she’s got this smoky chanteuse vibe, seducing your ears…though I think one of this song’s highlights comes just before the 2 minute mark with the lines “we did it over and over” before stretching for higher tones. This is Jess’ first new bit of music since 2015, so let’s cross our fingers a new LP is on its way.
Not too long ago I raved about “Losing Touch,” the latest single from Way Dynamic, so today I’ll treat you to the video version, if only to reignite your interest in this great song. I don’t know how you can be a pop fan and not enjoy the feathery vocals draped over the strummed acoustic guitar and minimal rhythm section present here. And, don’t even get me started with how ridiculously good that chorus is. The band release their new EP, What’s It All for Now, this Friday. Shout out to our friend Lach whose playing drums in the video! Go listen to this song a lot, right now!
Lloyd Meadows reached out to us from across the sea, and I feel like we shine some light on this 15 year old songwriter. Don’t worry one bit, the age is irrelevant, as he’s writing with a maturity far beyond his ears. His guitar lines have faint crystalline qualities, sparkling against Meadows’ deep vocal tones, crafting a contrast the fits perfectly for guitar pop. There’s a certain earnestness too, here, which perhaps could be due to age, but perhaps could play a bigger role in our own lives. If you have a minute, sit down and listen to Lloyd.