I had no idea who Kevin McKay was, but his recent album was recorded with Fred Thomas, so having that backing says all I needed to know. It’s really hard to pinpoint his sound too, which actually makes his work all the more intriguing to me. At times, it’s almost this light dream pop, using slightly jangling guitars to add pace and craft a shimmering wall. But, the softness in his voice seems to have this smokiness, albeit faint, that also harkens to the work of Papercuts…like the perfect blend of psychedelia and indiepop. You’ll find this gem on Kevin’s album Neutral Mind, out on Cudighi Records today!
I mean, technically I didn’t miss it, as this new Tyvek EP isn’t being released until August 1st, but you can stream the whole damn thing below. You get two bopping ditties as well as two little instrumental jams with your purchase ofChanging Patterns of Protective Coating. “I’ve Not Thought Once” has this British pop rock feel, especially if you listen to the way those guitar chords line up to the likes of every band that played at Indietracks last week. “We’re Back,” the other tune with lyrics begins in much the same manner, though it ventures off into this skittering discord as the song draws out. Just a little something more of you should be listening to; it’s available this week via Doubles Tapes.
I’ve been listening to Fred Thomas for almost two decades in some fashion or another, and while I always appreciated his work in Saturday Looks Good to Me (and His Name is Alive), his growth under his own name has been pretty spectacular. His 2017 album, Changer, might just be one of my favorite pop records of the last 10 years. Today we get the first listen to new stuff from the forthcoming Aftering. I love how the piano works just behind the trickling piano, laying the groundwork for a crashing guitar that delivers an emphatic pop punch to the face. His voice helps land the track in the vein of Nada Surf, especially with the way he polishes off syllables with melody. The new LP is out on September 14th via Polyvinyl, surely looking down at the rest of those pop imitators.
It’s that silly time of year when we ascribe arbitrary rankings to the music created by our favorite artists. And, I’ve already seen a few lists from the likes of Paste or Rolling Stone (among others) that I find completely off the mark. Now, our ATH End of Year list will be a team effort, so here is a list of records I adored that probably won’t end up on too many other “Best of Lists,” though I think they should! Again, no particular order, just ten albums you should enjoy. …that you might have forgotten about.
Start early over at Mohawk by checking out Mannequin Pussy and Joyce Manor…young sound, semi-emo, little punk. It’s outside, so if you want, you can go home after because it’ll end early.
But, you could also jump ship a bit early to catch a couple of great local releases. Lola Tried is jamming out over at Cheer Up Charlies to celebrate the release of their new EP or hit up Barracuda to get your hands on the new Letting Up Despite Great Faults EP!
Then go back to Mohawk, because Tyvek and Fred Thomas are jamming out. Or be cool, and just bounce all over if your wallet allows.
You could also go see Devendra Banhart play out near Buda at some place called Emos. It’s new, never heard of it.
Sample some songs below. Read more
Fred Thomas has made his mark throughout the last decade with Saturday Looks Good to Me (I still adore Every Night). But, as he steps into his own, I think he’s making a statement as one of the great pop songwriters we’ve got around. There’s no frills and hiding behind studio tricks, instead just rocking this song with his voice and his guitar. I’m always amazed how much people can accomplish with so little, and there’s a lot here for great pop fans. Look for his solo effort, All Are Saved, which is being released by longtime label Polyvinyl on April 7th.
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