What do you get if you combine members of REM, the Minus 5 and I Was a King? Well, the No Ones! The supergroup has an album and an EP under their belts, and they’ve decided that they’re going to bring us another jam, and hopefully that means another record! Personally, this is track might be my favorite they’ve written. It’s got the perfect guitar sound, walking that fine line between punk and pop, and the vocals even have just enough bite to give the song a hint of attitude; it sounds like what I maybe wish the Replacements had evolved into, great songwriting and a touch of badass-ery. Turn it up friends.
We covered a lot of territory last week, with a few songs not on streaming services (the Persian Leaps/Cindy), so here’s a wrap-up of last week to kick off your Monday morning blues. I was stoked to hear new Intelligence, but I had to start off the playlist with a new track from I Was a King, as its one of my favorites this year. Some cool stuff came our way from the UK, from the likes of European Sun, Chorusgirl and Pete Astor. Meritorio Records had a solid presence with the new Jim Nothing LP stream and a fresh single from Spice World. Plus, we touched up on some bonus Austin sounds from Twain and High Heavens. Stream it all below, friends.
Some bands don’t age well, but for my money, I Was a King seem to be aging like the finest of wines; I feel like everything from the forthcoming Follow Me Home has been nothing short of endearing, with every note hitting just the right chord. This brand new single doesn’t waste any time, hitting things right away with this vocal that seems hurried to maximize the melodic nature. Once things settle in, it’s a steady trip around handclaps and the perfect strum, with the vocal urgency always intact. I feel like this song could be the one I play again and again for the duration of this year. Follow Me Home is out on October 7th, and it looks like we’ll all have to get the physical copy on Discogs…as both versions are sold out! Hear why below!
You’ve waited all weekend for the quick and easy recap of all the sweet tunes we hit up last week. We started off the week really strong with a bunch of stuff, but somehow, it feels like we kind of sputtered to a close, just sprinkling a tune here and there. Still, we managed to get 20 great tunes you should enjoy in your first hour of the morning. We start it off with the absolute banger from Say Sue Me, then have some more experimental works from the likes of Sinaive and Double Vanity. Plus, we’ve got a new track from our friend Lizzy Lehman produced by S. Houser and Jim Eno of Spoon. Turn it up and get your day started.
One of the bands I’ve always quietly cherished and pushed on these pages is Norway’s I Was a King; they just dropped a brand new track with mention of a new record on the horizon. This song still has a familiar guitar sound, which comes as no surprise, though I’ll admit it’s a little bit more tilted towards the psychedelic/paisley tendencies (not that I mind one bit!). Time and time again, the warmth of the vocals just feel like they’re hugging me closely, holding me to let me know everything in the world’s going to be alright; the band feels like they’ve encountered the restlessness of the world and chosen to instead choose tranquility…and most excellent pop melodies. Their new LP Follow Me Home is expected in the Fall.
Rider might be a new name on your radar, as it is mine, but the project is helmed by Frode Stromstad of I Was a King. The Norwegian project also includes Honey Radar‘s Jason Henn on drums, which should further our interest on this side of the pond. This project definitely pulls in Frode’s familiarity with little nuggets of pop, though admittedly, this feels a bit grittier, in the best way possible. “Deep Rivers” has some faint GBV references, though Stromstad’s voice is too kind, offering more of a melodic feel. I think the easiest to access for folks will be “Smell the Floor,” built on huge riffs disguised beneath layers of fuzz, though rest assured there’s melodic treasure lurking beneath this song’s surface. Just imagine if Comet Gain were a power pop band; then you’ll understand Rider. Stream the whole EP below!
Everyone knows how much I adore I Was a King, so when they share another single, you better believe I’m going to have it up here on the site. This is one of the shorter numbers on their new effort, Slow Century, hitting you with the immediacy of their warm melodies. One of my favorite things is the way the vocals combine to harmonize in this really beautiful way as the song bounds forward; those harmonies rising and falling during lines like “on your driveway” or “your voice so faint,” bring a smile to my face as I listen again and again. They’ll release their new album on March 8th, just a month away!
I’ve been writing about how much I enjoy the power pop of I Was a King for quite some time; it seems that’s about as long as TFC’s Norman Blake has been a fan, as well. Now, the band has teamed up with Norm (producer) to bring you a powerhouse of an album…and below you can stream the first single. It’s absolutely everything you’d want, with huge churning guitar chords ringing out while the band all share in vocal roles that bring you closer to the warmth of the fire. There’s a lot of power-pop out there, but I feel like no one’s doing it quite on the level as this bunch; if this is the last new song you hear before heading into the weekend, your life will be better for it. Look for Slow Century to drop in March of this year!
If anything, I’m a pretty loyal listener, but being a fan of I Was a King has always been easy. They craft this beautiful mixture of heavy-ish indie rock and power-pop, and their sound seems ever evolving. This track relies more on the indie rock side of things, filled by crashing cymbals and distorted guitars grumbling in the distance. But, the smooth melody of the vocals cuts right through the noise, balancing the track in the most perfect manner. They even include some extra flourishes, such as the faint echo of children’s voices (at least that’s what it sounds like to me) near the 2 minute mark. This is a band that no longer needs to experiment or dabble in genres…they’re building their own sound, and I couldn’t be happier. The new single drops digitally on Friday with an album to follow later this year.
Just a few weeks ago I dropped the B-Side to the latest single from I Was a King, and now we’re here to tell you to check out the A-Side. While the band’s penchant for power-pop definitely shines through, particularly with Frode’s vocal delivery…there are hints at a slightly heavier vibe. Their beautifully distorted chords seem just a step lower, deeper, bringing in almost a brooding feel to the melodic sound; it sort of matches the opening moments of the “Run.” No one does it better in my opinion than this band, so I’m looking forward to their completed LP, which is said to drop next year!