Those of you who enjoy the works of Twerps, Kurt Vile and Real Estate should pay close attention to what’s going on with Melted Toys. The San Francisco band has a knack for writing these really relaxed guitar pop songs, with excellent craftsmanship. There’s a slight bounce to the latest single, “Observations,” but the tune is so relaxed that you might not even notice it if you didn’t pay close attention to the drum beat. It’s a sign that the band’s debut self-titled effort will be a relaxed bit of dreamy pop tunes to wash over you while you’re chilling out this summer; it’ll be released by Underwater Peoples on July 15th.
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The days are growing warmer, so it’s time for us to all start preparing to get together some summer playlists; you’ve got to maximize the sun and the jams, right? This new single from Melted Toys has a sharp jangling guitar that rings in the background, though the coated vocals have this dreamy slur to their delivery. It doesn’t hurt that there’s some electronic lasers shooting through the tune to offer up an extra bit of pep and peculiarity. These lads will be releasing their self-titled album on July 15th courtesy of Underwater Peoples. Get your boom box ready, it’s pool time!
I have an affection for 80′s wave dance hits because I’m old. When something like this hits the inboxes at ATH, it is sent to me for approval. I approve of this hit from Evan Ønly. Gentle synth sensibilities with just enough of the Italian Disco thing going on; it will elicit the proper head nod and shoulder shimmy. Evan Ønly is actually Evan Brody, a founder of Underwater Peoples. This is the lead track from a solo EP called No Matter What due on February 18th.
It seems like the right day for me to enjoy some relaxed tunes more in the singer songwriter genre as I ease my way into another weekend. This new song “Canis Major” from Andrew Cedermark fits in that vein while also packing a bit of a punch in his rhythm section. Also let’s not forget that the guy has himself some nice pipes that can be subdued and full of emotion all at the same time. Well done sir.
New album Home Life is due out July 16th on Underwater Peoples.
Melbourne is quickly growing into the new Brooklyn as a hot bed for up and coming indie bands with solid tunes. The sound is obviously a more twee influence when compared to the punk or experimental side of Brooklyn, but you get what I mean. This new song “Nothing But Nice” comes our way from the recently formed group Free Time. It’s eerily similar to ATH approved, and fellow Aussies, Twerps. You know we can dig that.
Free Time have a self-titled release coming your way in the states on May 28th via Underwater Peoples.
Sometimes the simplistic innocence of a song really brings home where you are in life, or at least where you might want to go. I can’t explain that, but listening to this new song from Julian Lynch really exemplifies some sort of inner discovery. Perhaps it’s the quirky bit of classical construction, or the quieted vocal that remains barely audible throughout. Whatever it is, this song is just flooring me right now; pretty sure I’m going to play it on repeat all night long. You can find this tune on his new album, Lines, which will be released by Underwater Peoples on March 26th. Buen proveche!
Liam the Younger is the project of Liam Betson, a man who’s spent some time playing with his friends, Titus Andronicus. But, that’s about all he shares, or at least his music shares, with his friends, as After the Graveyard is a stripped down affair of bedroom folk tunes. It’s just now being released by Underwater Peoples, after being stored away for the perfect day.
One of the first things you’ll notice when listening to opener “Current Joys” is that there’s definitely a minimal recording quality with the album, but I promise that won’t detract from the listening experience–not one bit. There’s a familiarity in Betson’s voice, which reminds me of Elf Power (in vocals only), but it’s his approach, which includes the recording hiss, is reminiscent of a young Conor Oberst. If you listen to “Ode to Then,” it’s hard not to see the similarity, as his delivery definitely has that same feeling of nonchalance. And while indifference might not be the most charming attribute for a human, you can appreciate it in the musical sense, as the songs on After the Graveyard come across as personal introspections.
For the most part, most Liam the Younger songs on this effort don’t go too far beyond the 2 minute mark, which might do a bit of a disservice to the songs themselves. You barely have time to soak in the special quality of each number before you’re on to the next number, but tread carefully, as there are definitely some real gems. “It Is Good” is one such track, and probably one of my favorite of this entire collection. It begins with a softly picked jangling guitar, which then moves up a bit to more of a steady strum. The pace carries on for the rest of the song, finally fading towards the very end. Find this song, and no matter what, you’ll be pleased Liam sat down to pen any songs at all.
All in all, a great deal of these songs come across as brief demos, as if they’re not fleshed out quite as one would expect. It’s always great to hear someone having fun recording tracks all on their own, but one is left to wonder what would happen with a bit more time spent with each song, narrowing down the precise elements that really stand out. Don’t get me wrong, After the Graveyard is absolutely chock-full of such elements, so much so that it’s a bit overwhelming at times, but I’d love to see Liam the Younger go back in time and re-record all these tracks with everything he’s learned. Pretty sure he’d be indie newcomer of the year. For now, he’ll have to settle on being a musician with loads of talent, who just needs a touch more time.
For those of you just meeting Twerps, you’d be surprised at the evolution of their sound. When we first heard them via the folks at Chapter Music, they were a pretty basic lo-fi group, spinning tape loops and coming off a bit lackadaisical on songs like “Good Advice.” On their self-titled record, you’ll get a much more focused group bringing it all home.
“Dreamin” begins Twerps, giving you cascading guitar chords that cut through the careful jangle-pop, even tossing in some backing harmonies from female member Julia MacFarlane. It’s as tight as the band has sounded since they were introduced, and such songs only solidify their presence in our musical world. But, you’re still going to find that carefree spirit within this album.
On “Don’t Be Surprised” Marty Frawley just tosses his lyrics atop a much slower paced jingle, sort of like you’d expect Dan Treacy of Television Personalities to do, that is until mid-track where they just kick it off with this beautiful bit of noisy pop, only to return to their melodious bit of fun. Twerps use a similar tactic on what is not only the record’s best song, but perhaps one of the top songs of the year, “Who Are You.” It embodies everything magical in a song: catchy bit of guitar playing, a cool bit of vocal delivery and relatable lyrics. When Frawley goes into his “who are you/to be actin the way that you do,” it’s all perfectly fitting, and it leads up to the playful “we’ll get drunk/we’ll get stoned/we’ll get high/we’ll get drunk” line that accompanies each chorus. Simply put, there aren’t many songs from this year better than this.
One of the best things about this entire record is that Twerps simply keep you interested, going places you can easily see, but didn’t necessarily expect from the group. “Jam Song” sort of fills the middle of the record with a rambling bit of ballroom stomp, always keeping their groove. Or, you could skip a few ahead and find yourself at the simple spoken-word track, “Bring Me Down,” which is joined by a polite little bit of guitar strumming. There’s pretty much moments for every type of listener out there, be it jangling pop moments like “Dreamin,” or a more-subdued Wavves feel like the closer “Coast to Coast.” It all fits in with the band’s aesthetic, and it never seems to grow stale.
Twerps have been around for some time now, but this self-titled record is going to be one of the dates that you’ll want to remember, as a band that puts it together this well is very rare. They’ve got hooks, they’ve got creativity and they even have a bit of attitude (or essence), all making Twerps one hell of a ride. Mark my word, everyone is going to be talking about this group and this record for some time to come.
Currently you can listen to the whole album HERE. Or jam the opener below.
Download: Twerps – Dreamin [MP3]