Fresh Indiepop from The Holiday Crowd

holidaycrowdIt’s probably best that I start off our Friday tunes with this recent number from The Holiday Crowd, although I think a lot of us can probably put it on our nightly playlist. I mean, that guitar sound makes it hard for me not to pull a “it sounds a lot like Orange Juice” card, but come on, there couldn’t be anything better…in my opinion. It’s got a little stomp, a little shuffle, ultimately making you feel good to be alive. So happy Friday and look for the band’s next release on Shelflife sometime in the nearest future.

Pop Weirdness from Gregor

gregorThe sad truth of my life is that sometimes I take everything to seriously. And I mean everything. I forget to give in to emotion and silliness and let go…and then I hear something like Gregor. Oddly, I hear hints of Orange Juice, but mostly I just hear a pop musician willing to forgo modern cliches in order to make music that’s as weird as it is infectious. It’s just a reminder to let go and enjoy what’s coming through the speakers, and I definitely am digging the deep tones of Gregor’s voice. This track will appear on Thoughts and Faults, a collection of home recordings he’s releasing via Chapter Music on April 8th.

Nostalgic Jangle Pop Gem From The Artisans

the-artisansNow, not too much is known about The Artisans, but from my understanding they were formed near the end of 2014 and call home somewhere between Hartlepool and Newcastle. While this band is still under the radar, the song below, “Yield To The Night” is sure to bring about their impending rise. It’s got just the right amount of shimmer and shine to the jangle of the guitars, and those mellow classic indie rock vocals are sure to trigger some nostalgic listening of Orange Juice, or The Pastels, or your favorite indie rock band.What I’m getting at is that the sound here is instantly classic, but by no means trite. Take a listen and keep your ears listening for more from The Artisans.

Hear the Title Track from Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s New EP

painsI can’t lie about my adoration for Pains of Being Pure at Heart, especially as they’ve grown and changed throughout the years. The last two releases from the band, including their new Hell EP seem to have pulled back the shades on the band’s distortion-laden pop songs, leaving us with these undeniably catchy hooks. As I listen to “Hell” I can’t help but to see some similarities to the work of Orange Juice, filling the track with sensational grooves and a great vocal performance. How does one not fall in love with this track? Look for the EP at the end of this week, featuring two covers in addition to this tune.

Groove to the Beat of Kisses

kissesI feel like somewhere I gravitated away from dance music in the last few years. I hit it hard for awhile, then I sort of went the opposite direction again; it’s the cycle of my musical life. Anyways, I can definitely hear remnants of the 00s dance greats like LCD Soundsystem and !!! in the groove crafted by Kisses on this new track. It’s about as funky as anything they’ve done (that might be the reason for the title “Jam”), and it doesn’t hurt that they’re tossing out names like Talking Heads and Orange Juice in all the press literature. Wanna get down today? Wanna get down on October 9th? Then check out their new effort, Rest in Paradise.

More New Tunes from Girls Names

I’d be remiss if I didn’t write about the most recent Girls Names track to come out of the Internet.  I’d also be in the same boat if I didn’t admit that I have no idea where the group is going musically, in an extremely exhilarating sense.  When I first heard this tune, I noted the semi-Orange Juice guitar chops, but was thrown off by the haunting of the vocals.  Then came this progression with keyboard intrusions and a brighter tone to the vocals–it honestly reminded me of The Fresh and Onlys traveling back to the early 80s, which basically equates to a hit in my ear.  Luckily, The New Life will be in stores from Slumberland Records on February 18th, so I’ll finally get to put all the incredible pieces together.

New Summer Jam from Hoop Dreams

That’s it. I’m going to throw my hands up as my new obsession definitely has to be Hoop Dreams.  They’ve just released a superb 7″ track on Captured Tracks, and I can’t help but just press repeat over and over again.  There’s this weird hint of Orange Juice, but with a more modern feel that will definitely appeal to any current listener in the indie music spectrum.  Perhaps it’s too short, but that makes it all the more powerful, as you can’t help but get this song stuck in your head the minute it comes on; it’s likely to remain in your head for some time to come, making the band your new obsession as well.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Hoop-Dreams_01_XCPR.mp3]

Download: Hoop Dreams – XCPR [MP3]

FTC: Orange Juice

Our From the Closet feature this week involves one of those bands I’ve been jamming to for quite some time, and it’s a band that recently made news this week, as it was announced that Domino Records would be releasing Coals to Newcastle on October 9th, a six disc box set including all sorts of work from Orange Juice.  Personally, I first got into the band via Belle and Sebastian, who I feel the band used a lot as a reference point in their early songwriting.  Singer Edwyn Collins sort of distanced the band from the rest of the post-punk bands in the early 80s by taking a more direct, almost tongue-in-cheek, approach to writing songs–as opposed to political minded lyrics.  Their combination of R&B, funk, soul and punk always made them a lot more danceable, and a hell of a lot more endearing than many of their peers.  If you like anything involving twee, you need to visit this band, and if you just like great music, then you need to check this group out. The following track isn’t my personal favorite (“Love Sick” is), but it’s a good starting point for casual listeners. Can’t wait to get our hands on all the gems from the newest box set.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/07-Rip-It-Up.mp3]

Download: Orange Juice – Rip It Up [MP3]

Magic Bullets – s/t

Rating: ★★★½ ·

San Francisco of late hasn’t really offered up a lot of genuine pop records, instead it has a great deal of bands weirding out if you will.  That is until you hear the delightful sounds coming from the self-titled album by Magic Bullets. There’s a lot of obvious influences that you’ll hear on this, their second album, but regardless of where they’re coming from, the group is sure to be up for good things in the future.

It’s hard to tell if the band is using California as their starting off point, or if they’re just channeling classic Orange Juice riffs.  They’ve got sharp guitar hooks fueling the song, and the drums give it an extra bit of spring.  You might find a hint of Robert Smith in the vocals, but the overall atmosphere of the song is much more vibrant, creating less of a mood swing and more of a foot stomper.  A similar effect is employed in “Lying Around,” the single for the band, but the pseudo-yelp in the vocals can only evoke a magical quality you’ll find in the band’s name.  Bubbling bass work here goes a long way to give a bit of a groove, and one you’ll use to get your friends moving about your house.

Still, this isn’t your typical album chocked full of jangle pop, as slow-movers exist to provide an underlying level of depth.  “They Wrote a Song About You” catches you in the arms of your lover, twirling you about, as the vocals have a smooth croon, which is different than early exposure to the band.  “China Beach” moves really slowly, but careful guitar strumming provides listeners with a chance to give themselves over entirely to the emotive quality here.  As other songs seem to encourage you to catch up with Magic Bullets, this song asks that you slip into the song itself, going gently into the swirling beauty of the chorus.

Surely everyone will find joy in songs like “On Top of the World” with its ringing guitars reminiscent of recent work by The Lodger.  This is the music you can dance to while your arms flail about and your feet struggle to catch the beat.  It’s a track that lets you get lost in joyousness and carefree times.  Similarly, “Sigh the Day Away” goes all nostalgic, reflecting guitar oriented dance tracks of the mid-80s (this is before the cursed invention of laptop dance).  You’ll hear songs like these, with their solid percussive elements, and you’ll have no choice other than to give yourself over to the rhythm, as you should.  Just let yourself go.

Magic Bullets self-titled album has a lost of trademark sounds taken from various other groups, which I suppose could be the one knock against the group, but when you’re able to perfect such qualities, taking them to your own place, then you’re a success.  Every bit of this album sounds familiar, friendly and danceable.  Grab your friends by the hands, drag them to your living room dance floor and enjoy this pleasurable record.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/04-Track-04-1.mp3]

Download: Magic Bullets – Lying Around [MP3]

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