Have You Heard Ruby the RabbitFoot?

rubyI was looking for something rad to toss up today, something that would definitely lift the spirit, yet still hold true to my personal aesthetics (wherever those are). So I’ve been constantly listening to this brilliant Ruby the Rabbitfoot tune that’s been floating around for a wee bit; I started listening in anticipation of her show at the Blackheart on March 13th. It’s a bit songstress, though there’s this careful artfulness to it, like the bubbling guitar chord you hear lurking beneath her vocals.  She’ll be blowing in to town with her album New as Dew, which comes out the week of her Austin visit.



New Video From Andrew St. James

UntitledAndrew St. James has quickly become one of my favorite songwriters to break out over the last year, making an appearance on both our year end albums list and the year end songs list.  Since first hearing his tunes last summer, the guy has had a song or two on just about every playlist I create, whether it’s for mellowing out or needing a breezy tune for a warm weekend afternoon.  His approach to songwriting is so simple and honest, yet full of life and mesmerizing all at the same time.  If you’re into the singer/songwriter genre, St. James is the most promising act currently out there.  Oh yeah…. went on a tangent there…. ASJ also has an awesome new video for his song “Stageline” which appeared on the previously mentioned The Shakes from last year.  Check it out after the jump.

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Pure Pop from Fred Thomas

fredFred Thomas has made his mark throughout the last decade with Saturday Looks Good to Me (I still adore Every Night).  But, as he steps into his own, I think he’s making a statement as one of the great pop songwriters we’ve got around.  There’s no frills and hiding behind studio tricks, instead just rocking this song with his voice and his guitar.  I’m always amazed how much people can accomplish with so little, and there’s a lot here for great pop fans.  Look for his solo effort, All Are Saved, which is being released by longtime label Polyvinyl on April 7th.

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Do I Like This Streamlined Pop From On An On?

10960327_10152750308033105_3030398931147536978_oShort answer: yes, yes I do. I have a love/take-it-or-leave-it relationship with this kind of music, but Minneapolis’ On An On have stolen my heart with the crisp and clear production on “Drifting,” which you’ll have to take a listen to below. This is the band’s first release in two years, and while the song may seem like a simple and plain track at first, before it reaches its end, it sharply changes direction and brings a real emotive punch. Indulge yourself and enjoy some straightforward alternative pop music with a hint of folk.

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Wand Show Off Exploratory Angle

WandThe first single off Wand‘s newest album was an all-out rocker, displaying the band’s live energy in a recorded manner. But, their new single has a different side to it; it holds onto some of the heavier edge of the live setting, but the band explores some of that negative space in their own way. There’s a darkly driving pulse to this tune, but it brings out that experimental attitude along the way, which should make Golem one of the album’s you’re most looking forward to come this March (In the Red, 3/17).  You can also check the band at SXSW, and read this rad interview I did with them a few weeks back.

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Woodsist Is Cornering Troubadour Folk

woodMan…Woodsist is on it this week, as far as the troubadour style folk stylings go.  They just tossed out two great tracks this week, both of artists that will be releasing new music soon. The first tune they had up was Simon Joyner‘s “Nostalgia Blues” off his Grass, Branch & Bone album (3/31); he has more of a Jeff Tweedy wistful quality, yearning, always yearning.  Their other hit was from Little Wings; it’s “By Now” from his effort Explains (5/26).  He’s definitely got more of a saddened touch to his style, but his lyrical playfulness reminds me a lot of David Berman.  Congrats to the label…these are some really great tunes.

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Another Young Guv Tune

bcI’ve been approaching the new Young Guv effort with a bit of trepidation for some reason; I think the first single caught me off guard, but I can see why the always reliable Slumberland Records grabbed this new LP, especially after jamming this tune all day.  There’s a bit of gritty shoegaze in the way the guitars swirl around in the mix, but Ben Cook definitely takes hold of his newer pop-centric aims on his vocal display.  This is one of those tracks that could seemingly break through the universe and catch hold of every pop fan out there; it’s that good. Look for Ripe 4 to hit the streets on March 10th.

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Colleen Green – I Want To Grow Up

colleenRating: ★★★½☆

As a female young adult, I feel as though the music of Colleen Green should really appeal to me, but her last album, Sock It To Me, didn’t sink in too deep, and left me feeling a bit weary as to the nature of her girl garage rock. I Want To Grow Up is another trip down the road of maturation and growing up, as the title would suggest, but this time around Green’s tunes themselves have matured a bit and we’re able to rock along with her navigation of youth and adulthood with the greater coherence of pop hooks.

“I’m sick of being immature, I want to be responsible” is one of the first lines on this album, giving you a snapshot of the general theme this album: wanting to transcend ones current state and be something else, but not quite achieving that goal instantly and the frustrations that arise out of this dilemma. This theme makes for an interesting subject matter for Green to craft some great garage rock gems to delight. Look no further than “Grind My Teeth,” or “TV” to give you fuzzy guitars and pop hooks. “Grind My Teeth,” is one of the more complex tracks you’ll hear from this artist, and it’s definitely one of my personal highlights off the album. This song goes several different directions, first beginning with a rapid pace, leaning more towards the stripped simplicity of punk song, then transitions to a slower grunge mode, when the buzz saw guitar takes center stage and allows for some sweet synth to solo for a bit. Before you know it the track is back to its hyper fast original state,

The lyrics, while they aren’t the deepest, acknowledge their own shallow-ness and play with this idea, especially on songs like “Things That Are Bad For Me (Part I).” Here, Green’s rhymes are simple and easy, sometimes elongating a word or syllable so that the rhyme will work out; there’s no apology or inhibition, Green just goes with it, and her honest naïveté goes a long way.

I Want To Grow Up feels light years away from Green’s last record and the tunes on here reach further than just noisy girl rock. While Green sticks to her guns lyrically, the music now provides an appropriate catchy- grunge pop setting for them to play in. Something has clicked for Colleen Green on this album, and perhaps something in her life has clicked as well, now that she’s realized she can do whatever she wants. Right on.



Check Out Spring King (SXSW Act)

springI was just talking about the search for rad bands I hadn’t had a chance to even really check out when I stumbled upon Spring King.  The UK pop group have this strong sense of pop traditionalism, though they juxtapose that with some rougher edges, building their tunes with driving guitar rhythms to hook listeners.  They just released this single this week, so if you’re looking for a bit of discovery, or just a rad hit to work into your daily listening rotation, then go with these lads.

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