New Single from The Ancients

LLB_8171MID.2If you want to vote for International Label of the Year, on the small scale, then you’ll probably be looking right at Chapter Music; the Australian folks have pumped out great band after great band in 2013, and they don’t aim to stop with the release of the next LP from The Ancients.  Their third album, Night Bus, will be released by the label on October 18th. If you need something that holds the warmth of creativity, yet still appeals to your search for catchy hooks, then you needn’t go any further than this single. Personally, I’m feeling drawn to the fuzzy sound of the guitars throughout, though the vocals are quite pleasant too.  Give it a whirl.

Playful Pop from Graham Colton

grahamThis new single from Graham Colton was just released, and it has me looking forward to the release of his next album, Lonely Ones; he’ll be self-releasing the record on January 21st of next year.  Beginning with a really elegant piece of pop, it does have a breakdown on the latter half of the track that flirts with a more cacophonous element, though never fully giving in to it.  I think my favorite part definitely works around the airy quality of the vocals that casually enter before the stomping and backing vocals join in the fun.  Should be an interesting outing from Mr. Colton.

Quiet Folk from Scott Orr

scottI spent all my time at Weekend/Disappears last night, so today seems like a day where I should just relax and listen to softer music…not that my ears hurt or anything.  This beauty from Scott Orr has been on my radar for a few weeks, so I figured I’d finally share it with you; it’s not fair to hold out the good tracks from you kind readers.  There’s something in his soft voice and the carefully worked accompaniment of his music that’s made this track an incredible part of my playlist as of late.  You’ll find this song on A Long Life, which comes out next week courtesy of Other Songs Music.

New Jam from Those Darlins

thosedarlinsAs far as I can tell, Those Darlins are going to have another sneaky good record on their hands.  This new single from their upcoming Blur the Line LP still holds onto the group’s affinity for female sexuality, though their music has definitely progressed lately.  There’s more negative space at work here, allowing for the guitars to cut in and out, often swirling loudly into your speakers.  There’s also a bit of subtlety to what their pushing nowadays, which coincides with that polished sound they’ve acquired.  You can get your hands on the new record when it hits on October 1st.

Enjoy Arthur Beatrice

arthurFirst, let’s focus on the fact that Arthur Beatrice isn’t a man, but rather an act from the UK.  Then we can focus on the music, which oddly resembles the beautiful pop that I typically associate with the Dears.  Yes, the vocals might be the reason why I lean that way, with that female vocal backing the soft croon.  Still, the pacing and the function of the track do pay homage to the more expansive brand of indie rock.  The group have just completed their debut record, which should find a release in early 2014.  I’ll keep you posted as we draw near that date.

New Track from ILLLS

illlsIt seems like the hot bed of American music currently has a friend down in Oxford, Mississippi.  The home of acts like Dead Gaze and Dent May can now also claim the ambitious stylings of Steven Ross and ILLLS.  I was hooked the moment that this tune began, even if it had a nod to recent works by Arcade Fire.  But, make no mistake, there’s something creepy and more sinister lurking beneath, which makes its way as the guitars began to grind out.  Pretty sure that Hideout From the Feeders, the group’s upcoming album, will have some enjoyable tunes when it sees release on November 12th via Aloe Music.

The Soft Side of Dead Gaze

Dead GazeIt’s interesting that this track should come out today, just days after I witnessed the noisier side of Dead Gaze here in Austin.  If you read my review, hinting that the group might have been too loud at points, you wouldn’t even guess this is the same group.  This is the new single from the band’s Brain Holiday, which comes out on October 22nd via FatCat Records.  It’s a soft piece of delightful pop music, demonstrating that Cole Furlow has much more to offer his listeners with his upcoming release.  If you’re looking for a tune that has dreamier qualities, then you’ll definitely be glad you stopped by here today.

Propulsive Rocker from Blanche Blanche Blanche

blancheI’m really enjoying this new track from Blanche Blanche Blanche.  The Brooklyn group has just announced the release of their debut, Breaking Mirrors, which comes out via Wharf Cat Records on November 5th.  It’s a smooth rocking jam, with this bubbling groove that just pushes the pace from the get-go.  It definitely has this old school brattiness too, which you know I’m going to enjoy.  It’s not necessarily a punk rock anthem, but it’s pretty close, and I expect the live performances from Sarah Smith to match her display here.  Let’s all rock it out today.

I’m In Love with Swearin’

swearinThis track from Swearin popped up on Friday, and I’ve been spending my weekend pressing repeat over and over again.  I could say that it’s the slight drawl accompanied by a female backing vocal.  But, it might also be that I sort of see this group as the next logical step in the history of band’s aping Pavement.  The guitar playing is simple but crunchy in all the right places.  The group will be releasing their newest effort, Surfing Strange on November 5th via Salinas Records in the US, so you’ll do well to get this band on your radar; it should be their year if the album plays out like this tune.

Arp – More

arp

Rating: ★★★★ ·

One of the great things about reviewing music is discovering an act that’s been around, but that you hadn’t given much attention to in the past few years.  For me, Arp is that group; I’ve devoured More, the latest release, and hunted down the rest of his catalogue.  From the opening track to the closing moments, it’s just remarkably moving, and if, like me, you ignore it, you’ll be doing yourself a huge disservice.

“High-Heeled Clouds” opens More with one of the best opening tracks I’ve heard this year.  A gently playful piano line works with the bass to open, before Alexis G enters with his vocals.  While one would seem to bounce at the musical mannerisms, there’s this perfect restraint that encourages solitary swaying.  But, it’s the slightest details within the track that really push the song into the realm of “stand-out;” there’s this sunny guitar solo that works its way in, fading into an atmospheric end.  But, while the opening moments slowly move forward, the following track of “Judy Nylon” creates the perfect counterpoint.  There’s a fuzzy guitar, and a heavier pounding on the piano, leaving you with loftier emotions, yet still in the spirit of the opening tune.

Suddenly, Arp leaves you in the mood for more ethereal pop moments with the warmth of “A Tiger in the Hall at Versailles.”  This tune’s more of a spiritual track, using the vocal as an extra instrument.  While you might not find yourself as attached to this song, it serves the album, overall perfectly, offering insight into the songwriting process.  It’s similar, in approach, to “Gravity,” which includes string arrangements for emphasis. The layering of each moment in these tunes gives you clues as to the way future songs are constructed, such as “Light + Sound.”  There you’ll find a similar formula, but what interested me are the faint horns flourishes or light keyboard notes that elevate a traditional pop-writing formula.

Of course, some of the other tracks are momentary throw-aways, thus why I can’t quite toss the perfect score towards More. I don’t mean one should toss these songs aside, as the little snippets of noise and samples provide detail to the storytelling of the record as a whole, but I was thirsting for more great pop moments.  I get it; I know why they’re there, but it shortens the album, leaving me hungry for more of Alexis’ word play and craftsmanship.  That being said, it’s part of the beautiful journey of this release.

Having barely been acquainted with Arp up to this point, I couldn’t help but fall in love, as if this was the first release.  The careful artistry of every track, even the snippets, overwhelmed me, washing me with emotions that are rare in a consumable musical age.  I can assure each and every person that reads this that you’ll find few records this year that are as rewarding and magnificent as I found More.

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