Man. This track just made my day. I absolutely adore the Sea Pinks, though it’s always hard to get their wares over here in the States. But, they just announced that they’ll be releasing a new album, Dreaming Tracks, which is sure to make my arbitrary end of year list. I love the jangling guitar, though I’ll admit those chords have a slightly darker tone on this listen. It’s like meeting your favorite jangle pop band playing in a pub with their best friends, so maybe let’s call it jangle pub. Regardless, look for that new album on September 29th via CF Records…you’ll be grateful.
It’s really easy to fall in love with a new act when the label that’s releasing them does such a great job of using band descriptors to describe new signings. This was much the case when Belfast label CF Records put out some information on their newest act, Waiters; all they had to do was name-drop The Servants and The Shop Assistants and they had my money. They’re crafting this melancholy pop music that’s hard to ignore upon first listen, or upon the fiftieth listen for that matter. I’m glad to have found these guys; I’ll be picking up their 12″ What For Art Thou EP from the label today.
Have I mentioned lately how much I love Sea Pinks? The group first came to my attention a few years ago with their relationship to Girls Names, but since that discovery they’ve released two incredible LPs, Freak Waves and Dead Seas. Today I bring you a brand new single that you’ll definitely have to sink your teeth into. Much like Freak Waves, the vocals are up in the mix, which really does make the group all the more exciting; it allows for the natural vibe and bounce of the group to make way to your eardrums. They’ll be releasing this track on a new 7″ via the band’s label, CF Records. This totally made my week worth it.
Well, it’s that time of year again; your liver hurts just thinking about it, and your Excel program has never seen so much action since Windows 98 first came out. Let’s put all that anxiety aside and concentrate on some really rad bands that are going to be making it our way in the next few weeks. These are three of the bands I’m most excited about seeing, and I have a feeling that I’ll see one or more of them at least twice…I’m just that guy.
More shows are popping up by the day. Keep your ears to the Internet for the coolest party info.
Dreamy guitar pop is definitely one of my favorite genres, and it seems that its quickly reemerged as one of the world’s favorites too. I’ve heard gems from Australia, the UK, Mexico, Japan and now, with Brothers In Law, Italy. The band’s latest album, Hard Time for Dreamers, fulfills the promise that was apparent on their early single, providing listeners with an uplifting pop record that’s breezy and enchanting.
There’s something familiar about the way album opener “Lost Control” begins, but as soon as those steadily bouncing drums kick in, I forget about that, and just let myself get lost. Guitars swirl in the background and the vocals are uplifting in tone; it’s hard not to find yourself immediately falling for Hard Times for Dreamers, especially when the wayward guitar playing you carries you away towards the end of the track. It fits nicely with the next tune, “Go Ahead,” which lives in a similar sonic realm, though there’s something about the vocals that gives it a different feel. It’s just a brief moment, but they raise higher in pitch, leaving me with one of my favorite 2 seconds of pop this year.
I definitely can see that there are times when the vocals might have too much coating on them, but it’s almost as if Brothers In Law intended to be that way. It’s as if the voice has been built to add the depth of another instrument. That being said, during “A Magic,” there is some clarity just after the two-minute mark when the song breaks down to a slower pace for a momentary relaxed movement. But, that brief moment sets the scene for “Childhood,” where the voice takes the central role in spectacular fashion. For the beginning, the whole song centers around the voice, surrounding it with warmth, as you would expect in some sort of cathedral recording. Then, the drums begin to pound, the guitars are turned up, and they shuttle you away to the place where Hard Times for Dreamers lives: a bliss-filled state of relaxation.
If you’re in need for a certifiable hit, and let’s face it, most of us are, then you can probably find the answer to your search by going straight to “(Shadow II) Leave Me.” Almost from the moment it starts the angular guitar cuts its way back and forth between the solid drumming section. Honestly, I’m pretty sure this is the best song that Wild Nothing never wrote. Yet I’ll admit that it’s not easy to find a standout on Hard Times for Dreamers, and that’s not because the record falls short in any way. In fact, it’s so consistent that you could easily find yourself listening to every track over and over for many days to come.
Those of us who’ve found our lives intertwined with bedroom pop should be rejoicing over the world’s musical fascination with the genre’s reemergence over the last several years. Even in Italy, Brothers In Law have been crafting their own propulsive blend of atmospheric guitar pop for some time, and they’ve finally got a full-length coming to light titled Hard Times for Dreamers, which is seeing a limited joint release between WWNBB and CF Records (who put out that excellent Sea Pinks record in 2012). I can’t help but fall in love with this track…sure, there’s a dreamy quality, but I put it on and my arms can’t help but flail about as they spin me around the room in my office. Feel free to fan over this one.
My love for Sea Pinks originally began when I discovered that the drummer of Girls Names, Neil, had started the group. My thoughts were that it would have the same dark jangle rock sound, and I guess the first LP, Dead Seas, does have a bit of that. But, it didn’t prepare me for the incredible Freak Waves album that I cannot stop playing no matter where I go.
“Lake Superior” beings Freak Waves off with a nice jangling bounce, even including a bit of monosyllabic doo wop moments in the background. It’s catchy, and it definitely sets the tone for the rest of the album. That attitude is stepped up almost immediately with “A Pattern Recognition.” The vocals begin in step with the songs underlying groove, with a light guitar wavering in the background. My highlight though is the vocal delivery during the chorus, just changing the heavier verse into a hint of warming pop as guitars pick up and dance away. It’s perfectly juxtaposed to the psych-pop elements of “False Spring,” which sounds like one of the long-lost Fresh & Onlys tunes.
Then you’re introduced to my favorite moments on this latest Sea Pinks release. It all begins with the refreshing “You’re Not Happy,” which is a song that lyrically I think a lot of us can relate to, not being able to completely make a loved one happy. I’m just in love with how the vocals are delivered in contrast to the heavy drum beat in the background. I’ve probably played this track 40 times in the last two days. Then it moves into the slowly unfolding “An Act of Treason;” the song begins rather slowly with a twinkling guitar line off in the distance, yet its beauty is truly reached when the chorus of “I can make you cry” is repeated. There’s something about the change in the vocal inflection that is so affecting and addictive that I can’t get it out of my head, nor do I want to do so.
Even though the middle of the record has the meat and potatoes of pop brilliance, I can’t sit here and pretend like every song isn’t worthy of your attention. For instance, I’m completely infatuated with “(Out of) The Capital,” which seems to be a reflective look at one’s life moving forward and away from their roots. The refrain “I work out of the capital” has been playing in my mind all day long. The song’s bounce is noteworthy too, but I think once you listen to this track you’ll see that its efforts speak for itself.
Sea Pinks might not be one of the many band’s on many people’s list, at least not yet in the United States, and that’s quite a shame. I haven’t had this much fun listening to a record through and through in a long time, making this review easy to write about. Freak Waves isn’t an ordinary record, and those of you looking for something to appease your jangling pop fix might find this one of the best albums to come your way this year. You know what, who cares about genres, this might just be one of the best things I’ve heard.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Sea-Pinks-A-Pattern-Recognition.mp3]
Download: Sea Pinks – A Pattern Recognition [MP3]
Freak Waves is out now on CF Records.
We’ve always enjoyed the work of Sea Pinks ever since the project started, and I’m so excited they’ve got a brand new LP in the works. In fact, it’s already done and titled Freak Waves; the record will be released by CF Records, who’ve recently put out a collection of B-Sides from the group. As soon as the jangling guitar line bursts in from the opening, I was hooked. But, I really like the way the vocal is delivered with the words “a pattern recognition” in the chorus; it’s the hook that made me gravitate towards this song. Love this band so hard.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Sea-Pinks-A-Pattern-Recognition.mp3]
Download: Sea Pinks – A Pattern Recognition [MP3]
If you’re looking for a band that lives somewhere between Fresh and Onlys and Wavves, then let me introduce you to No Monster Club! The group came to my attention as I was following one of my favorite smaller labels, CF Records. They’ve recently helped this Irish trio put out a small small run of their newest LP, Dublin, and it’s a pretty solid introduction to the band. Below you’ll find a rambunctious bit of garage pop filled with infectious hooks and a bit of disregard for hi-fi recordings. Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t get this jam out of my head.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/No-Monster-Club-Be-My-Bone.mp3]
Download:No Monster Club – Be My Bone [MP3]