Guess it’s a Sarah Records sort of Monday, which I’m totally okay with over here. After the Useless Users announcement, let’s turn our attention to the Orchids. The Glaswegian outfit have announced a brand new LP, Dreaming Kind, their first record since 2014. For fifteen seconds they tease us, hanging with some wee ambient bits before the song just seems to drop in from the heavens, with James’ voice in particular embracing you as it crosses through your speakers. At times, the tones of the guitars and keys leave a darker note to the song, but one can’t escape the melody churned out, especially when that chorus hits you. Dreaming Kind will be released by Skep Wax on September 2nd. And, if you’re ordering from the States, the label’s worked out a deal with American distributor Jigsaw, so you won’t have to worry about shipping costs! Grab it quick!
With historical lineage and ties to Sarah Records, you’re likely going to love Useless Users (members of Secret Shine, Action Painting, Even as We Speak), but please don’t go into thinking this is a revisiting of the days of old! Useless Users are onto something new, something a little more dedicated towards a denser realm of pop music. The opening track on the band’s debut creeps along, bubbling bass working over sharp little beats; the vocals have this ghostly aura, with guitars ringing about behind it. While the opener exudes patience, the group still maintain their murkier edges while pushing a bit of a pace, as you see on “I Am Forton Wreck;” this is likely where folks are giving the band early Pulp nods! What I’m hearing is a bunch of great tunes, written by songwriters I already loved, so I expect We Are All to fulfill my wildest dreams; it drops on July 3rd via Emotional Response Records.
There aren’t too many people making pop rock as good as Elizabeth Stokes and The Beths; today the band announce their brand new LP, Expert in a Dying Field. This new jam kicks off in true Beths fashion, using sharp drum hits and tightly tense guitar notes to raise Stokes’ voice into the forefront. I love how they pull back the punches just before the minute mark, setting up another verse in perfect fashion. I do hear some noisier elements, or at least some flare in the background, which was promised in the press release; it’s pretty pronounced with the ripping guitar solo and smashing close. Time will tell if they can balance the noise and the pop, but so far so good! Expert in a Dying Field is out on September 16th via Carpark.
After the success of Germs, Grass Jaw feels like it should be a name on everyone’s tongue, especially as the band prepare for the release of their new album Circles next week. A few of the singles have been put out there, and I wanted to be sure we got this on the radar for everyone, as Brendan Kuntz songwriting gets filed somewhere between David Bazan and David Berman…and that’s something that definitely has my attention. “Circles” is a heavier handed number, carrying with it this weighted darkness, which is noted by both the vocals and the guitar sound. “Excuses” seems to be a bit more forceful, though still hard to pull away from Kuntz melancholy tones. If this is your style, remember, Circles is out officially on June 17th.
I always forget how much I enjoy listening to Scarves. There’s something in the band that just screams Pacific Northwest, in its heyday. They’ve just announced their new album, their first since 2018’s Dinner Dates for the End of Days, and with it, they’re reminding us of their sound with “Heavy Eyes.” Something about Niko’s voice always reminds me of the earlier years of Built to Spill, when things weren’t quite so clean and the beauty was in the details that seemed misplaced. There’s also some similarities to early Death Cab, which I’m pretty sure is still okay to admit you liked (I did; I still do!), so if you’re feeling like you miss that PNW sound, then why not just listen to Scarves; their new album Delicate Creatures is out August 26th via Good Eye Records.
We’ve been covering Wilder Maker for several years now, and I’m really excited with their new album, Male Models, being announced, courtesy of our friends over at Western Vinyl. Gabe Birnbaum’s songwriting and lyricism is something we should all cherish, but what they’re doing in this track really sees the band hitting their musical stride as a whole…with an added bonus performance by Katie Von Schleicher. In a way, it reminds me a lot of the Glands or something in Jason Lytle’s solo catalog; it’s rooted in this almost Southern spirit, tinged with boogie, but not afraid to try and push those boundaries into weird pop realms. Male Models drops on July 29th.
This likely doesn’t happen to everyone, but by chance have you ever invested in a song to a point where you just can’t turn away from it? You’re drawn in, unsure if you love it or hate it. This happened with the latest single from Bad Pelicans. Musically, I’m on board through and through; I might adjust some volume in certain spots, but overall, its a rad tune. The vocals are what throws me here. At first, I thought surely they’re mocking modern trends, but then matched with the video, I’m sucked in, and I can’t get out of just loving this tune. Give it a spin, and look for their next LP, Eternal Life Now, at the end of the year courtesy of Geographie Records.
Brighton’s Beachtape made some waves with their Bigger Picture EP, and they look to pick up where that left off, as can be witnessed by the growing view count on their latest single. I’m indifferent to the hype, but I love this classic guitar pop sound, with the band admitting that they might have been “listening to too much Grandaddy at the time.” It’s crunchy in the right spots, and the vocals stretch to the high notes, all of it to come crashing down in this perfect shred at the 2.5 minute mark, or thereabouts. This tune appears on the group’s forthcoming LP, so we’ll keep you informed as we hear more about it!
Lately I’ve just been super overwhelmed by tons of things, so I’ve definitely traveled down the pop punk days of my youth, with no shame, mind you. Today, in a day where everything feels shattered for a teacher, Texan, father, this song’s just hitting the right notes. It feels like the sort of tune I’ll get stuck in my head, and just take a drive to scream it at the top of my lungs. Adult School have the hooks and the energy, and sometimes, that’s all you’re looking for in a good pop punk jam. They’ll drop their No Party LP this July via Lavasock Records.
I have a feeling that if you’re writing about best tunes for the week, this new Living Hour track definitely has to be up there (if not, one of my favorite tunes of the month). I got hooked on the crashing guitar opening, but love the contrast as the tune quickly slides into a more mellow space, leaving lots of room for notes to ring sharply in your ears, allowing all those notes and vocals to kind of hang in the air. All that said, the song eventually slides back into the heavier notes, but I love how the mix keeps it heavy, though quiet; the vocals still have their dreaminess, even when coated with the distortion. A perfect balance between fragility and noise awaits you. The group will release their new LP, Someday is Today via Kanine in September.