GRMLN, currently out of Osaka, Japan, has received a slew of positive praise on ATH over the last several years. It’s crazy because we’ve seen the group go from a post-emo sound, to a more garage rock sound, and then even to a more polished Strokes style sound. Well it seems like we are headed back in time a bit as this new single “Half Moon Bay” harkens back to the beginnings of the band with a more dream pop/mellowed out vibe. Personally, I love it when a band becomes known for one thing and then throws us all for a loop with something totally different. I’m loving this one.
A new album is coming from GRMLN soon with a release date not yet announced. Stay tuned.
Last year I spent a decent portion raving about Lafayette, the latest LP from The Golden Dregs, and it looks like 2019 might have another album in the works from Benjamin Woods and his project. We’ve got a new secret, offering up this smoky ballad, working over trickling piano lines while a throbbing pulse works beneath the mix. Benjamin delivers one of his strongest performances, though the arrangements in this song also deserve attention. I love how he’s left a lot of negative space out there, hanging and waiting to be filled…sometimes by nice cello work, other times by tinkering ivory keys; it’s a thoughtful turn in Woods’ songwriting craft, one that indicate grand ideas will be coming our way with that new album, slated for release later this year.
Admittedly, there’s something nostalgic in the sound that Tom Morris is crafting under his Swim Camp moniker. He’s just released Barlow Hill, and while listening I was thrust back to the late 90s where I was filling my CD collection with Jade Tree/Polyvinyl releases. But, that doesn’t mean this sounds dated, and in fact, is quite the opposite, fitting right into the modern fold of indie rock. As you listen through, you’ll feel the intimacy, as if Morris is performing in your living room; you can feel the hum of the guitar strings as the waft through your speakers. It’s a glorious listen from the start to finish, so indulge in the joys of this listen.
Man A.A. Bondy is one of my all time favorite songwriters to come out during the rise of our website. He has always had a knack for simple, yet emotional and powerful songs capable of evoking real feelings. For eight long years we haven’t heard much from Bondy, until he dropped two new singles late on Friday afternoon. The first one, entitled “Killers 3”, is just an absolute beauty in songwriting. It’s Bondy at his best with a slow burning, atmospheric track featuring some sick organ playing. He’s also released a new song called “Images of Love” with a bit more of a dancy vibe to it which is certainly a cool change from the songwriter.
A.A. Bondy will release new album Enderness on May 10th via Fat Possum Records.
Long time fans of Lust for Youth might shudder at the thought, but it seems like the band have completely embraced their pop sensibility for their new self-titled LP. Our first listen has this pulsing brightness, breaking through the cavernous darkness usually present in the group’s tracks; the production seems a little bit more lush, with vocal turns that charm like at 1.30 mark when the line “it hurts my eyes to see you walking by yourself.” That seems to be the theme here, a brighter sonic future, but still holding onto a grim disposition in regards to the world’s state of affairs, both personal and global. Sacred Bones will be releasing this self-titled LP on June 7th.
The ten tracks that make up the debut album from Exasperation show a band confident in their craft, willing to wear their various influences openly. Album opener “Pyre” has this almost spastic punctuated vocal, before it twists into a crunchier blasting riff ride. It’s matched by songs such as “Devil’s Gate,” which has the faintest smell of Les Savy Fav in the angular guitars and vocal delivery. Still, while things often seem sharp and treacherous throughout Paradise, a soft underbelly exists within that only reveals itself when one pulls back layer after layer, song after song…like on “Sludge Plow.” It’s a power ballad of sorts, calm in its appearance, emphatic in its chorus. Venture forth listener, peel back the layers and uncover the secrets of Paradise.
Feels like cheating offering up two Dan Francia tracks in one week, but I’m super stuck on Dan’s vibe. It’s part collage, at least in the actual recording, with Dan culling his friends to record with him. But, for me, the draw is the huge emotional pull that flows through the speakers. He teases the listener here for the first minute and half, offering up vocals and lightly strummed guitar…it builds with percussion and electronics…then it bursts exuberantly through your speakers, stretching your lips into a huge smile. Sometimes you want the music you love to make you feel good, and this song definitely strikes that note on my end. Come Back to Life is out on January 25th via Exploding in Sound.
At the moment, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of artists with the productivity rate of Justin Cheromiah aka High Sunn. Only about a week into 2019, and he’s already released a new LP, Our Perception. It’s another captivating entry into the young artists catalog, going back and forth between dreamy angular guitars and electronically pulsed bedroom pop numbers. Surprisingly, while there are some tweaks I’d like to hear, there’s not a bad song in this collection, meaning Cheromiah is still riding his own hit-making machine, living in the land between emo and dream pop; I’ll take it. Our Perception is out right now via Spirit Goth.
I am a bit late on this new Methyl Ethyl jam as it came out on Friday, but you will have to agree with me that it’s worth sharing and blasting. If you’re looking for a pop number to brighten your dark and cold Monday, this is the song for you. I’m finding myself dancing along to this song with its catchy beats, energetic vocals, and hazy guitars. Seriously, this is what pop music should sound like.
Methyl Ethyl will release new album Triage on February 15th via 4AD.
I had to search our own site to find out how long it’s been since I’ve posted an album review and I will refrain from embarrassing myself with the exact timeframe, though you could search yourself I guess. We as an ATH staff have been neglectful as a whole when it comes to album reviews and we are hoping to rectify this moving forward. Hopefully you can understand that if an album has brought me out of my review slumber it must be a great one. The very soon to be released new album from Dan Mangan, More Or Less, is just such an album because, holy hell, it’s impressive. Hit the jump for some thoughts, photos, and tunes.