Darren Hayman and Emma Kupa have frequented my playing rotation throughout the last several years, sometimes together, but mostly separate. Fortunately for us all, they’ve been keeping their unique songwriting process going, and now have their self-titled album ready for our ears. Our first tease is this delightful new tune, illustrating how two great songwriters can up the ante by combining their powers together; I dig the way they play back and forth with varying lines. The song, aside from the vocals, has this relaxed pop feel to it; the guitar sound is great, particularly with that semi-Western chord sliding away behind “no more bombs.” Look for their finished album from Fika Recordings on July 21st.
This is the second single from Denton’s Fishboy, and I want you to imagine that John Darnielle traded in his folk stylings for heavy riffs and pop sensibilities. They lyricism begs you pay attention to every line, every syllable; it’s also powered by a distinctive voice. But, there’s huge energy in the band’s songs, making it perfect for just about any time you need a little pick me up. I don’t know how much better this band can get, but when I’ll report back to you when I spend some time with their new album Art Guards…hitting your stereo with a kick this week!
Perhaps the best thing about the Internet age is the ability for folks to rediscover acts that were probably slightly in the first place. Manufactured Recordings is currently one of my favorites taking up the mantle in the reissue game, having currently released the excellent Modulators Tomorrow’s Coming. They’re back at it, with new reissues from Come On and The Containers. Come On was from the late 70s NY scene, and they definitely have an artful rock approach, filled with that almost spastic vocal delivery Byrne made cool. I’m a huge fan of the guitar parts in the tune…if you asked me. The Containers were a huge London underground hit, possibly getting their greatest stamp of approval from Robyn Hitchcock covering some of their tunes. The label will release The Containers Self-Contained and the self-titled LP from Come on…both hit on June 16th. I recommend just browsing their soundcloud for unearthed hits.
Sometimes you make mistakes, and I made one letting this El Campo release sit in my inbox for a few days because I just can’t stop playing it. Perhaps the most impressive thing about this new Bend and Color EP is that it takes the band’s folk/country stylings and expands, like “Deceiver,” which seems to look towards sunny California for sonic influences. Don’t fret longtime fans, as the band still holds true to who they’ve always been…just listen to the opener “Exitos Mixtos” or “Pink Bubble.” It’s good to see growth, but always just as great to hear really good songs from bands you love. It’s available now from the group’s BANDCAMP.
School Damage is one of the latest additions to the Chapter Music roster, and the label always has their finger on the pulse in Meblbourne’s thriving scene. Bits of keyboard give the song a feeling of “wobbly” pop, but it’s the frantic pace of the percussion that provides an energetic push. You can hear faint little guitar notes too, jittering behind the front of the mix; it’s just weird enough to keep you inthe cool, but pop enough to make you come back for more. Look for the band’s self-titled LP to hit on June 2nd.
I ran down a crazy worm hole of pop punk yesterday thanks to a friend, and then this No Win single came my way, fitting perfectly into my day. He got some help from his friends in FIDLAR to craft a bunch of songs for Dangerbird Records Microdose Project, so don’t turn away before jamming this song. There a youthful vibe in the lyrical content, even nodding to the scribbling of notes (doesn’t everyone know the kids use Snapchat nowadays). Sometimes the bullshit just doesn’t mean much, but the good songs survive it all. Give a listen.
I hadn’t even heard of Kalbells until today, though I was aware of Kalmia Traver’s other project Rubblebucket. Despite having battled cancer, and the remaining fear that accompanies that fight, there’s an uplifting spirit to her new work. Traver’s vocal performance alone has this sweeping polish to it, sailing above light string stabs and whistles. The song’s construction really adds these dense layers that aren’t apparent on first listen, but the more you listen it only makes the track all the more endearing…is it the bells, the synths, the whistles? Who cares, it’s simply great. Look for Ten Flowers on July 14th via NNA Tapes.
In case you missed Bland in DC, then you missed the jagged stuttering punk rock of Puff Pieces. But, now’s your chance to get into the band, as they have a brand new 7″ coming your way soon via Lovitt Records. There’s this ever-present erratic sound that the band brings to the table, but twice in this song they break it down with an emphatic punch of crashing drums and ringing chords. I can’t deny the vibrance that lives in their work either; it’s smart, upbeat and ultimately, you find yourself pogoing about with your hands around your best friends. PreOrder the single right HERE.
One of the great thing about living in Austin is the abundance of bands trading friends and members to begin new projects, such as Lung Letters. The band takes members from acts like A Giant Dog and Flesh Lights, both whom we adore. As you’d expect, there’s a heavy handed rock n’ roll at work here, with Jeremy Steen handling the band’s vocal ferocity. If you’ve managed to catch the act live, then you’re already on board, but for those who haven’t, this track does a pretty good job of capturing the group’s energy on recor; there’s an animalistic quality not many can claim as their own. I’m particularly enjoying the moment between 1.45 and 2.30, bringing in some sly little hooks (reminds me of late 90s post-hardcore) before erupting into finale. Look for the Passing Days EP this Friday via Super Secret Records.
The instant the somewhat haphazard guitars danced their way into my speakers I knew that I wouldn’t be able to stop playing this new Crescent tune on my stereo. Even as the song seemingly plods along, there’s a fragility in the delivery from Matt Jones’ vocals; it sounds like he recorded these and sent them via video clips on his phone. I mean that in the best of ways, as it encourages the listener to find the track more personal. Whether you’re into bedroom recordings, slacker pop or even the dreaded dole wave, you’re going to fall head over heels for this track. Look for Resin Pockets to appear in stores on May 26th via Geographic Music.