Last fall, Drew Danburry released a remarkable collection of songs under the Icarus Phoenix moniker; I raved about the release on these very pages here, though its possible you missed out on those. But, for me, the brand new video for album track “Cassie Knows, or How a Shy Person Says I Love You” is reason enough to re-celebrate that release…not to mention the joy at marveling in Danburry’s ability to craft great pop and illustrated his own videos! Drew’s got this natural kindness in his voice, the sort that I marveled at when I first heard Stuart Murdoch, so that should set the tone for you. Thematically, the tune revels in the present, appreciating the fact that we’re here today, so take a breath, listen to this and be grateful you were given today. This album’s available via Telos Tapes.
I think most people who buy records and tapes tend to have their go-to labels, and it’s great to have a reliable source for good tunes. The last few years, Paisley Shirt Records has been bringing us a pretty solid catalog of great pop tunes, and now they’re adding Oakland’s Blue Ocean to that mix. For me, listening through to the album’s opener, it’s like listening to DJ Screw, only if you were into really heavy shoegaze and indiepop. The song’s core is this bouncing rhythmic pop pulse, but its been chopped and screwed by this thunderous wall of feedback and noise; I get that that analogy does not work for everyone out there…but the tune speaks for itself! The whole self-titled album is out on April 16th (though you can find some of the tunes elsewhere!).
You ever stumble upon a song that just seems like it ties all the loose ends in life together? Well, as I’m writing that, this new track from Pansy seems to completely just fit every mood and every thought. It’s not even about the lyrical content, though there’s some resonation there too, but more so about the general feel of the tune; it makes me feel connected to myself in some manner that I’m struggling to fully explain. Vivian McCall shares this intimate number, and it borders on dramatic bedroom pop and quieted slowcore. It just makes everything feel right, so if you or someone you know just needs that, then turn them onto this tune. If you dig it, Pansy will be released by Earth Libraries on April 2nd.
I’ve been writing about Curtis Wakeling’s music for almost a decade, first with his project Velcro, then later as a member of Ocean Party and Pop Filter. But, like many of the folks on his side of the great big pond, there’s always another project brewing; this time he’s working with Kayleigh Heydon under the name Deuce. Kayleigh’s controlling the vocal role on this single, nearing some of the tonal notes that you’d find on a Beach House record, though Curtis does add some subtle backing notes to her voice as well. Musically, the song has this misty quality, almost this foggy solemnity as it floats, filled with these delicious little nuanced moments. Fittingly, that accompanying mood seems to match with the theme, as Heydon notes the song is about the pain associated with longing for things you don’t have, in regards to relationships. I reckon that plays a part in the song’s title with Kayleigh in Melbourne and her family in Manchester. Deuce will release their self-titled debut on June 16th via Dinosaur City.
With another self-titled Dark Tea album on the horizon, I’m putting my headphones on up loud and indulging in the musical journey that Gary Canino always seems to take us on. Luckily, the band are also doing it with a little nod to LA noir films, so you get both the visual journey and the musical journey. I totally love how this song walks this line between Malkmus and Woods, offering both nostalgic wordplay and present day musical tendencies, spooning with one another. This paints the picture of an album that’s begging for that complete immersion, so prepare yourself to get lost inside what’s in store; Dark Tea drops on April 30th via Fire Talk.
You’ve likely heard me rave about the Lovely Sparrows, the songwriting project of Shawn Jones. But, like many an artists he’s turned his attention to a new project during COVID titled Marriage at Nevers; it’s a collaborative effort with his friend Derek Van Gieson, who has some renown of is own with Fantagraphics. The video alone is worth your 3+ minutes, I assure you; it’s all the work of Van Gieson. Musically, its this rolling blend of soft psychedelia, featuring cascading guitars and a steady rhythmic stomp that inches the song along. There’s a particular guitar sequence that really makes you feel like its dancing demonically around your ear drums, but perhaps I got lost in the visuals! Plus, the entire album features vocals from other sources like Austin artist Dana Falconberry. They’ll release their self-titled album on March 19th!
If you haven’t been paying attention, I’ve really been enjoying New Orleans trio Kelly Duplex as they approach the release of their debut self-titled full length. Included in that release, and now with a live performance video to accompany, is the band covering the Sunday’s classic “Here’s Where the Story Ends.” They take the core of the song, holding tightly to the song’s vocal softness, but amplifying the lightly jangling guitar notes in order to build a heavier dreamscape; I love the emphatic burst midtune too, giving some toughness to the song. Their debut drops on February 12th via Strange Daisy.
If I had to pick my favorite member of the Coathangers, it would surely be Stephanie Luke, so when she began her new project NRCSSST, you can bet I was ready to hop on board. The debut single from the group’s self-titled LP employs bits you’d come to expect from Luke, but with the presence of Dan Dixon on backing vocals, the song gets a slightly different build. Stephanie still has this slight gruff growl, though it’s polished to provide the central hook; the song’s first half really reminds me of classic pop punk from the early 00s before ya’ll got all cool. The latter half features Dixon primarily, and might be dipping the smallest toe in that new wave/post punk pond. Regardless, its got hooks and grit, and I’ll gladly take both on board. Look for the LP on February 12th via Slimstyle.
If you thought post-punk was heading down the middle of the road as of late, then maybe you need to turn towards Fake Fruit today. The band draw inspiration from the likes of Pylon and Wire, and you can definitely hear that sound burrowing through the guitars on this new single. But, Hannah D’Amato solidifies the group as a powerhouse with her performance; I love how she’s got this huge booming voice, but she’s capable of softening it up to draw in that slight dash of pop sensibility into play…just watch out when she decides to let forth an emphatic howl. Can’t get this jam outta my head! Look for their self-titled LP to drop via Rocks in Your Head on March 5th.
It’s been a couple of years since the release of the Dark Tea‘s last LP, and now we’ve got news that a brand new self-titled effort is on its way this April. Amidst all my jangles and post-punk tendencies, I’m still drawn to the balladeers that encourage that sense of Americana longing. Gary Canino’s voice on this single just seems like he’s out there with hope on the horizon, giving himself up to the graces of the world. On the surface, it’s a great pop song, but if you want to dig in deeper, just listen for the all the careful arrangement work put into the background of this tune; it’s something that Gary put great care into when recording this latest LP, grabbing 20+ musicians to aid in fleshing out his songwriting. Damn, its hard to turn this song. Dark Tea will be out on April 30th via Fire Talk.