One of the fads of the last decade or so has been alt-coutnry, and with so many bands out there, it’s been hard to really find that one great alt band that wins everyone over. Fortunately for us, and you, Austin band Guns of Navarone have crafted an exceptional record full of well-written tunes in the vein of alt-country. Prize and Battlefield is the name of the record, and they’ve just tossed out another great single that exemplifies the band’s sound. It’s a bit of that country feel, but there’s hints of underlying pop, as well as a gruffness that accompanies the vocals. Now’s your chance to join us in our praise for one of Austin’s great bands.
Download: Guns of Navarone – Gatsby Did It All For a Girl [MP3]
Interestingly, Wild Arrows has a bit of a post-hardcore influence, but listening to this single from their new EP ,The Punks Don’t Know What Punk Is, has not trace of that style in there at all. From the moment you get into the track, there’s nothing but playful pop lurking about. and it’s the pop of the good kind. It’s light-hearted with very little kitsch to it, so you can’t help other than to feel the effortless bounce from within. With main musician Mike Law’s storied past in the business, it will be interesting to see where he goes with the rest of the EP.
Download: Wild Arrows – Cloudbursting [MP3]
After the release of the Human Highway record, featuring Nic from Islands, I truly expected a lot more of a mellow approach to singwriting. But, then Nic went out and threw Vapours at us. It’s not that I minded, but I was looking forward to a more contemplative side of the man, which might be what we’re getting when Islands release A Sleep and A Forgetting on February 14th via Anti- Records. He seems calm here, willing to lay down a great harmony to build the song around. He’s great when he’s spastic, but this is an interesting touch on an ever-changing career.
Download: Islands – This Is Not a Song [MP3]
Fresh off the excellent release of New Heaven, Pittsburgh’s 1 2 3 are back with a brand new single, and with that single, they’ll be offering you two brand new tracks. As of right now, I’m pretty sure you can grab these tracks from the band’s site for free, so you’ll need to get your hands on these new jams. However, the single itself is for “Scared but Not That Scared,” which is one of the standout tracks you’ll find on the record. It’s got this cutting guitar line working in and out of these excellent bits of melodic pop. It’s a record filled with hook after hook, so you’ll want to head back and revisit the work from these guys.
Download: 1 2 3 – Scared But Not That Scared [MP3]
Everyone has been talking about the reunion of the “classic” line-up for Guided by Voices since their return to the road last year. And while the January physical release of Let’s Go Eat the Factory Out is still a bit off, the band is pushing out another new single for your ears. This new number is a bit slower than the previous single, but Pollard’s vocals definitely have that tone that made him such a memorable frontman from the beginning. If you’re a true fan, you’re probably on board; if not, you can still get into this track, and band, before the new album hits stores.
Download: Guided By Voices – Doughnut For A Snowman [MP3]
Long have we adored Headlights over here at ATH, so when word leaked that singer Erin Fein was going out on her own as Psychic Twin, we got really excited. We posted a track not long ago, and now we’ve got another one to offer you. This one has a similarly darker quality to Fein’s music, though her voice still maintains that coy playfulness that drew us in so long ago. It seems to me like she’s got a knack for this sort of thing, so we look forward to see what else she’s got up her sleeve in 2012.
Download: Psychic Twin – I Want to Forget [MP3]
The self-titled release by Cloud Nothings this past January was one hell of a ride, consistently staying in my player for most, if not all, of 2011. And now we’ve got news that Dylan and his group are at it again, ready to rock and roll with a brand new record on Carpark. As of now, it’s titled Attack on Memory, and it should be hitting the streets on January 24th, so we’ll probably have another year to enjoy fresh new Cloud Nothings jams. Don’t think that you’re gonig to get the same fare this run around, as this first single displays a more subdued group, tossing out a more stripped down, slow-burner, as opposed to the furious blisterning rock of last year. I’m interested to see where this goes.
Download: Cloud Nothings – No Future No Past [MP3]
There’s never a bad time to come across a dreamy little number like this new track from Psychic Twin. The Illinois duo is self-releasing this single later in the year, with hopes to get out a full-length in 2012. While it begins coated in haunting atmospherics, the song picks up soon after, bouncing off in a blissful manner that’s sure to appeal to any listener. Personally, I appreciate the way the lyrics come in and out of the foreground of the song, giving it a deeper mystic quality that you don’t hear every day. Be sure to check out this up-and-comer.
Download: Psychic Twin – Deepest Part [MP3]
Man, sometimes the world just collides in odd ways. Just this morning I started a book on Marquee Moon, and later, I get an email about former Dictator Thunderbolt Patterson! Next I expect a text from Debbie Harry. There’s never anything wrong with classic punk rock, and while this isn’t precisely classic, the new song from Thunderbolt definitely has its roots in the glory days. There’s a bit more polish to this track, but imagine what all the old stuff would have sounded like if only we had ProTools in 1976. This is just good honest rock n’ roll; the kind that makes you proud to be a music fan.
Download: Thunderbolt Patterson – Life’s Rich Pageant [MP3]
Late at night, you slowly let the slow jams take over; you’re ready to wrap up your evening. Such was the case when I stumbled upon this little tune from The Echo-Friendly. Sure, it’s not necessarily the most breathtaking thing (no offense), but I love the vocal interplay between the male and female counterparts, which really drew me into the track, letting them take over the rest of my evening. Before completing their first EP, the band wants to spread the word about their project. I think, if you’re looking for something slow and dramatic, then you’ll love the lead track from the new single, “Same Mistakes.”
Download: The Echo-Friendly – Same Mistakes [MP3]