In case you were sleeping, Sunday Dinner, by Keath Mead was one of my favorite releases from last year. Mead has one of those incredible voices that echo in your head long after the record’s stopped spinning. But, he quietly released the below tune to welcome in 2016, and it’s just too good not to share with you. His voice is clearly on display, but those of you looking for an ornate bit of guitar playing will surely find solace in his work here, not to mention those ridiculous harmonies. I beg you to listen to this song as many times as your heart can handle today.
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Year-end lists are everywhere…and I can see why they’re important to people. But, seeing as we generally walk off the beaten path more often than not, our list of the Top 50 Albums of 2015 is in no particular order, save alphabetically. It seems pointless to rank one piece of art higher than another, especially when the four of us at ATH all have varying tastes. We just put this list together of the albums we loved the most this year. Are we saying they’re better than records by Grimes or Kendrick Lamar? No, we’re just saying that these are the records we loved more than others. So, you can read on for what we thought was hot.
Also…put links to individual stores where you can buy the albums from the bands…as that’s how we all survive in this music world.
Keath Mead is South Carolina boy and self taught musician, and Sunday Dinner is his debut album. Recorded in California at the home of one Chaz Bundick, of Toro Y Moi, the album comes off as a mix between these two distinguished styles: southern ease mixed with California lightness. The result is delightful, crammed full with bouncing pop tunes that make for easy listening.
Like the best kind of end to a relaxing weekend, Sunday Dinner kicks off without a hitch with “Waiting.” Some sugary synths come winding in, scattering around lightly while the lower synths ground the tune all before Keath’s high-pitched, yet still soulful, vocals chime in. This generates a pop song gently evolving and changing modes from the east to west coasts: from slow heated and sleepy to the breezier and permanently chill California style. It’s around two minutes into the song before it reaches its full potential and the drums and some ooh-la-la’s bring it on home. “Grow Up,” the following track, feels kind of like a sunnier Mac Demarco track; the guitar licks are clean and crisp but also distorted and serve as the backbone for the bopping nature of the song. Mead’s vocals and lyrics work together, telling you to “Grow up and act your age,” talking about the self-centered nature of youth, but the overall mood of this song is far from serious. Instead, it feels filled with whimsy and effortlessness, which is the trend of this album; light and airy pop songs with serious, often heavily grounded lyrics to give you that kind of delightful dichotomy.
But the tracks on here aren’t so bouncy that they’re overwhelming. As I said before, the lyrics tend of provide a sense of balance and gravity to the Sunday Dinner that Keath Mead has invited us to. The style itself also gains gravity as it progresses, like you see on later tracks “Quiet Room,” that provides an almost gothic tone with its alien synth parts and heavily distorted vocals. Although sunshine and bounce aren’t terribly far away, as moments like these provide just the right amount of weight before we return to brighter numbers like “Polite Refusal.” Though it begins with those same synth sounds, we get to the choral hook and the soaring vocals and acoustic guitar take over the track and there’s no shortage of sunshine.
Once you get to the end of the album, it’s only a matter of figuring out which tracks were your favorites and which were just really good. Sunday Dinner is brimming with pop gems and enough variation in style to keep your attention all the way through to its termination. This debut from Keath Mead has certainly put him on my map, and if you’re into sunny pop with melancholic undertones, then it should certainly put him on your map too.
Ever feel like listening to the Velvet Undergound, yet you wanted something even more warbled and warped? Then perhaps you’re going to enjoy spending some time jamming to Keath Mead, who seems to have reimagined “Sweet Jane” in a more pristine fashion, yet wrapped it in some oddity of fuzz and scrambled tape samples. It’s a track that achieves so much in so many ways that I’m pretty sure I’ll just kick it with this song for the rest of the day. I’m really excited to see what he does with his album Sunday Dinner come February 24th (Company Record Label).
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