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.
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Paul Bergmann‘s one of those artists that seems to reinvent himself with every recording, though they all straddle the same folk troubadour territory. This week he announced The Other Side, the latest LP in his collection, and our first listen has my attention. Musically, it’s dramatic and sweeping, but, what I found interesting is the way the vocals are crafted here; they’re naturally deep, but they seem to hide behind the mix, begging listeners to really invest their time in deciphering each note. Faint hints of Beirut are in here, but I feel as if Paul’s taken it somewhere a little murkier, playing in the shadows of folk and chamber pop. Should make for an interesting listen; The Other Side drops on April 2nd.
After spending a good 15 years playing music, Jeremy Charbonneau took a break to focus on his young family. But, the songs kept pulling at him, begging for completion, which led to the creation of Summer Sleeves. He’s signed up with Jigsaw Records to release In the Throes of Woes, and we’ve got the new single from the LP below. It’s a got a slight jangle, a splash of folk, but mostly its just really great songwriting. For me, it reminds me of the endearing side of the Shins from their first record, before it grew to be cliche; this is pop songwriting at its purest, working on great melodies and a voice with just enough peculiarity to keep it interesting. We’re better off having Jeremy back in the songwriting fold; the new album drops on April 23rd.
A few weeks back I shared a tune from New Zealand’s Merk, a tune I proclaimed to be the best of no-pop. Here is the artist again, with a new single and the official announcement of his debut Infinite Youth. It’s a tune that sort of hangs on this slight balance between brooding introspection and blooming joy. I just love the way there’s this huge restraint in his approach, holding tight to to the song’s central pop force, but even with pop sensibility and that warm glow, there’s never an eruption, never a climactic rise; it makes you anxious in the best way, and while it might not deliver that hook, the way it keeps you on edge is brilliant. The new LP drops on April 9th via Humblebrag Records.
Less than a month to go and we’ll have Last Time I Saw Grace in our hands, and for those seeking some solace, it sounds like it may come by playing this LP from New Bums. Their latest single is this lonesome ballad, starring meandering atmospherics lurking behind heavy guitar strums and overlapping vocals (one heavy, one light); this is the sort of tune that makes you feel both alone and understood by the world, all at once. Going back to the earlier two singles, this is starting to feel like the record you cuddle up with and call home, if that makes any sense at all. The LP drops via Drag City on March 19th.
The last few months, I’ve personally been hyping the new LP from Finland’s Black Twig, Was Not Looking for Magic. Below…I give you an early stream, as well as my track by track breakdown. If you’re interested in picking up the album, it’s out this Friday via our friends over at Soliti, and I promise you, its got my stamp of approval! Leaving the stream at the top as that’s what’s most important, but my track by track breakdown lives below!
Glenn Donaldson’s The Reds, Pinks and Purples have a new LP on the way, and rumor has it that it’s flying off shelves. Take one listen below, and you’ll hear the eternal pop sensibility that Donaldson brings to the fold. There’s a light strum fighting against an angular guitar stepping in and out; the drums have this steadying stomp, keeping the song’s balance…all the way to the push towards higher vocal notes. Oddly, the song is kind of stepping on its own toes, with the tune’s thematic reference, discussing the passionate affair of collecting great pop records, of which we have not doubt that Uncommon Weather will soon find its place in that pile. The new LP drops on April 9th via Tough Love/Slumberlandand the damage will be done.
When Michael Beach first announced Dream Violence with “De Facto Blues,” I got exactly what I expected, considering the last time we heard from him he’d been on tour with Thigh Master; it was all energy. But, if you’ve heard his songwriting, you had to know there was a heartbreaking ballad just hanging in there. On this new tune, it’s built around Michael and this lonesome piano line from the get-go; it presents this solitary figure, delivering this personal performance that’s crushes your soul in the best way. But, Beach builds in this buoyant pop moment around the 1:12 mark, where it begins to open up the song into this delicately woven opus; strings pull at your heartstrings; keys exploded the galaxy behind Michael’s striking pipes. This one’s got all the damned feels! The new LP drops on March 19th via Goner/Poison City.
Everyone’s lamenting the break-up of Daft Punk, but if you really want to hit the dance floor with your partner, then you better have the DJ turn up this great new track from Los Esplifs. This tune employs tons of the cumbia flare, all the way down to the way backing gang vocals; you can feel the focus on the rolling rhythm, intent upon a quick little turns of your feet while twirling your partner. For me, I love that this sort of stuff is getting a little indie credibility, as there’s this purity in the craft of such music; it’s not quite as formulaic as your traditional indie flare, thus it really revolves around the core of the players and orchestrators. Really excited to hear Estraik Back, the band’s new LP on April 20th.
I’ll admit, I’ve grown a bit weary with your everyday indie rock brand, so hearing this new track from Proper Nouns really kicked the door down and let the rock back into my life. Spencer Compton might not feel it yet, but he’s got an uncanny resemblance to my man-crush Ted Leo, both in his distinctive vocal hiccup and the way he brandishes his guitar; its mapping out that boundary between punk and pop. His voice has this natural swing to it that just sets up the song; it has this natural rising action, topped off with this cool swaggering climax that’s perfect if you turn it up real real loud. I didn’t know how much I needed this until it was right in front of me. Feel Free is being released on April 23rd via Phone Booth Records.