I think every time I hear one of the new Bright Eyes song, I immediately try to rush through his catalogue in my brain to classify what era it seems to fit into best. This latest single seems like a clash between Digital Ash and Fever and Mirrors. It employs that sampled beat at the beginning, building in the nod to Digital Ash, but the vocal tones seem to have that fragility in its warble that made Conor’s voice so distinctive. Of course, the song is spun anew with excellent string arrangements, all for our benefit. I was on the fence, but the more I hear, the more I’m jumping back in that Bright Eyes pool. The new record will be out later this year via Dead Oceans.
With Snapshot of a Beginner on the near horizon, we’re excited that there’s another Nap Eyes tune out there to give us a little taste of what we’re to expect. This track feels pretty bare at the song’s beginning, which perhaps can be owed to Nigel Chapman really focusing on the message of the song. But, shortly in, the song sort of erupts into slide guitars and jazzy solos that cut across the song’s core. It all returns to the solemnity and weariness of the verses to close things out. Look for the new LP to drop on March 27th courtesy of Jagjaguwar and Paradise of Bacheolors.
The wife and husband duo, The Saxophones, have just announced their brand new album, Eternity Bay, and with it comes this lyric video for the first single. As Austin flirts with Fall/Winter, it seems the perfect musical piece; it’s careful and thoughtful, with all the accents fit into the song perfectly. Initially constructed as a duet, Alexi ends up taking all the vocal roles, with his wife Alison adding backing vocals; the decision does make the track seem more delicate and fragile, which perhaps ties into the thematic element presented in the lyrical content. A soft start to hump day, and a strong start to the album cycle; Eternity Bay will be out on February 14th via Full Time Hobby.
It’s good to see a band you enjoyed take a step to the side and start to flex their musical muscle. I love Bodega‘s brand of thoughtful art-punk, and while the lyrical content doesn’t seem to stray too far, the music we’re hearing from the band’s forthcoming LP definitely has the group reaching into new territory. Here we get to hear the band sit back and entrance listeners with Ben’s emphatic lyrical delivery while the rhythm section dims the room (as seen in the video, right?). The guitar work is still slightly angular, but it almost seems like a shiny accessory in the presence of this tune. The band will releasing their new Shiny New Model EP next Friday via What’s Your Rupture.
The Late Innings will be releasing Wild Places, and why not drop the album with a big big bang, like a great lyric video in completely different languages? That’s just what The Late Innings have done, sharing this power pop gem with its accompanying video offering you a taste of new cultures. The song is interesting. On the surface, it seems like this straight ahead power pop tune, filled with these big riffs built around a solid melody. However, once you go back and listen again, your ear starts to catch the accompaniment in a more forceful manner, particularly the great horn work for emphasis. It left kind of reminding me of Beulah, if they were really into early Elvis Costello records. Wild Places is out today, so enjoy this treat from the band!
Since the inception of this site back in the 00s, Abram Shook has been a constant feature on these Internet pages…either as a solo artists or one of his various projects like Feverbones or Great Nostalgic. Next week, he’ll be releasing his new LP, the Neon Machine, and while it definitely has his imprint, I think a lot of folks will be surprised by the sounds. For me, the synth pulse, albeit in a smooth fashion, was an unexpected twist; it’s interesting how some of those notes match the rhythm of Abram’s vocal delivery. Speaking of his vocals, there’s this velvety soulfulness that it far more pronounced than anything he’s done; I think the “with your time” line is the only time when I was like “yeah, this sounds like Abram, 100%.” It’s a really impressive shift into new territory, and I can see this getting some Neon Indian comparisons for those with careful ears. The new LP is out August 16th via Western Vinyl. He’ll be out on the road through October with White Denim, mostly through East Coast/Midwest; check some of those dates HERE.
Canadian outfit No Museums generally gives us something new to listen to each year, and it looks like we’re on the cusp of a new LP as the band have just uploaded a new tune/video. It’s definitely a track built upon the tension of the guitar chords, pushing the train (mail train?) along with very minimal percussive elements; they’re hiding out there in the woods while the guitar is up front in the mix. The vocals sort of hang in the middle of the tune, like traditional slow-core…not overbearing, but just audible enough for you to be hooked on the lyrics. It looks like The Artifact is Nothing is going to be a great guitar album; and there are hints we’ll hear it before May is up!
It’s been a few years since we last heard from Lost Tapes with their collection, We Thought It Was Okay at the Time. One thing’s for sure today, the band definitely are doing okay right now, hitting that musical sweet spot of my personal tastes. For starters, there’s a wash over the track, matched by some of the shadier attributes of the accompanying video; this haze hangs on to the vocals too, giving off this dream state. But, just beneath that fuzzy pop is this stuttering jangle pop; it’s sounds a great bit like “Rip It Up” by Orange Juice, which is a sure-fire dance number for me and my wife. Not every day you come across a number that hits the dream pop and the jangle at once; this tune appears on the group’s new EP, out on Shelflife on February 22nd.
Not sure why it’s been so long since I’ve mentioned the legendary Dan Mangan on our website as he’s been a busy guy over the years. Maybe we just aren’t that good at this… Regardless, Dan is currently working on a new album and has offered a delightful new tune called “Troubled Mind” as a preview of the new material. Contrary to his usual singer/songwriter genre, this track has much more of a driving rock sound to it sort of similar to something you might hear from Spencer Krug/Moonface. Though the sound is light and cheerful, the lyrics play nicely as a counteracting agent to create a balanced mood. I’m happy to say that it’s put me back on board the Dan Mangan fan wagon.
Mangan will release a new album sometime later this year on Arts & Crafts.
Last October, Nap Eyes blew into Austin on the backs of Alvvays; I hoped, and prayed, that people would show up early, remembering the perfect morning when I caught their set in a small room during SXSW the year they dropped Thought Rock Fish Scale. Today they return with news of a brand new record, and our first taste leaves off exactly where we left the band. The vocals are given in almost haphazardly spoken manner, and I love how strong they are in the front of the mix. What I didn’t expect, and am appreciative of at this moment, is how crisp the guitar licks sound on this track…even when ramped up to jangling speed. The band are set to release I’m Bad Now via Paradise of Bachelors on March 9th.