I’ve really been enjoying short pop songs over the last years, which I suppose I owe to the likes of Tony Molina. But, today, I’m turning over towards the work of Greg Mendez, who just released this really great ditty I can’t stop listening to at the moment. Beginning ever-so-gently with this careful strum and airy vocal, crafting an immediate intimacy that sucks you into the song. Light arrangements begin to creep in from the distance, drums adding some nice textural tension; it all culminates in this nice energetic burst with a sparkling guitar that draws the song to a close. This track appears on the forthcoming Cherry Hell LP, which drops on February 28th via Forged Artifacts/Devil Town Tapes.
Minneapolis has a history of great bands, and while fairly new, I’m hoping that Palm Friends can fulfill the promise set out by their new single, and forthcoming Nice Weather EP. Guitars sort of ring lightly from the get-go, but you can feel tension as they turn over and over, building towards this huge drop…it comes at the 20 second mark. Once you’re there, you’re in love with the band and this song; it really only takes 20 seconds before you press play time and time again. I love how indifferent the vocals are, like they don’t care whether we’re listening, they’re going to do their thing while the rest of the band gets on with it. I don’t think you can play this song enough times today, but if you do, I promise you your jaw’s going to hurt from the ear-to-ear grin. Look for the EP via Forged Artifacts on August 16th. Go grab the Pre-Order.
Prudence is the moniker for Tom Crandles of Au.Ra and it’s under this name that he’s making new wave bangers such as “Smile & Nod.” This track apparently began with an infectious bass line and flourished from there. You’ll immediately note said bass part upon first listen, as it provides the groovy undertone while the distorted, echoey vocals and jangly guitars play higher in the mix. Later on, you get some upbeat percussion and glittery synth sounds to round it all out into a tune for repeated listens. This track is taken from Prudence’s upcoming debut EP, Major Tom, which will be out on May 10 via Forged Artifacts.
If you’ve missed they hype surrounding Wild Firth‘s new LP, then now’s your time to get in on the action, and what better way than by enjoying the group’s new video. The video is sort of a journey in and of itself, taking the viewer on a ride through a sort of hazy 80s style cut of landscape images; it fits pretty perfectly with the vibe of the tune itself. A fuzzy guitar opens things up, letting the vocals sort of work the listener into things. You could see where some bombast would be perfect as the tension builds, but the group, don’t go with the expected, dropping this gorgeous light jangling guitar pop to meld with the fuzzy feels. There’s a nice little vocal change right before the 2 minute mark, adding a wee bit of pop sensibility in the song’s latter half. I know you love it, so go grab Lawn Memory, out April 26th via Forged Artifacts.
It’s weird when you listen to a new artists and you immediately start to draw comparisons to other artists, which as a jerk like myself, I inevitably do…and have done with Prudence. On the surface, it’s a club number for those with inclinations towards the rehash of yacht rock extravagance from the 80s…just listen to those guitar notes. But, as the song continues to unfold and my ears get sucked deep into things…I sort of here the heart-on-the-sleeve openness that Tim Kasher shared on his early outings with The Good Life. There’s this natural fragility like someone baring their soul to you for the first time…it’s an earnestness but captivating. His debut Major Tom EP will be out on Forged Artifacts May 10th.
One of our favorite labels at the moment, among the many is Forged Artifacts; they just announced that they’ll be jumping back into the vinyl game by reissuing Stunner by Scrunchies…an album they tossed out on cassette last year. It’s a collection of 9 powerful pop rockers, some toying with pop sensibility while others have a touch more abrasiveness driving the record. I know that “Stunner” is the obvious hit, but I’ve always been partial to “Double Vision;” I just love that bass line opening things up. Take a listen to the whole of the album, then grab a copy from FA right away!
If you haven’t been paying attention to what Forged Artifacts in the last few years, it’s high time you get hip to one of the great small indie labels out there. Just yesterday the label shared a song from the forthcoming Bill Waters EP; I must admit that I’m quite smitten. My ears are probably jaded but I think the first single we hear is fairly reminiscent of 60s pop music; the way the harmonies and guitar lines are wrapped around the vocals. Of course, the latter half of the track is intent upon ignoring standard tropes, so you get to hear a little sonic noodling. The Honey Hi cassette tape will drop on March 29th.
Imagine that you took bands like the Clientele, Animal Collective and Elvis Depressedly…then throw it in a blender and see how fucking beautiful the world could be…that’s what this new track from Made-Up sounds like to me. It has this warped, warm coating that intoxicates the listener, while still making nods to our love of pop sensibility. Still, it has this natural intimacy that lends itself to the vibe we often get with bedroom recordings; it’s sort of the perfect blend of all your favorite things, allowing you, encouraging you, to get swept away in the world. Look for the Made-Up EP, out March 8th via Forged Artifacts.
I first heard Small Forward when they dropped their Affections EP via Forged Artifacts back in 2017, and now it looks like there’s new music on the horizon. I love the growth the band have shown, even within this singular tune. The track trickles in nice and slow, letting guitar chords dance and shimmer right behind the feathered vocals; it all seems calm and chilled out. But, around the 2:20 mark, there’s this gradual build and an emphatic movement in the track that still holds the melodic majesty while seeming all the more powerful than before. No word on when this song will pop up, and where, but a great song to share with you nonetheless.
I know everyone’s hooked on that G. Nash single from Friday, but something else that dropped last week via Forged Artifacts is a little bit Texas, so let’s turn our attention towards Get a Life. This whole record reminds me of what we might have got if Jason Lytle kept leaving Grandaddy in a more pop oriented direction. It employs the same usage of layering notes, while still creating this hook that pulls in the listener. Chase deMaster has this calm voice that rides the melody of the track from start to finish; it’s really one of the keys to the success of the song. Our Band Could be Your Life or Debt drops February 7th via Forged Artifacts/Artificial Heart.