Chad VanGaalen Shares Samurai Sword

I’ve always got room in my listening rotation for Chad VanGaalen, and it seems so do a lot of folks based on how quickly his latest video has blown up. For me, he’s one of those overlooked artists; he employs great creativity to the folk landscape, where it can sometimes get boring, at least to me. You can hear the “everything and the kitchen sink” regard here, but what I’ve always loved is that it sounds so seamless, like every note truly has its home in his songs. Plus, you get extra creativity in the video this go round, all of it hopefully getting you amped up for World’s Most Stressed Out Gardener, out on March 19th.

Aubrey Key Shares Flies

Ever hear a song and in the first 2 or 3 seconds you knew you couldn’t pull away from it? That was the gravitational pull in this tune from Aubrey Key; I was drawn immediately by the sound of the guitar. For me, it works in contrast to the popular tend of strumming soft and slow; it almost feels like Key is angrily jamming out on that guitar. Then the vocals just seem to fit in perfectly, sung with earnestness and passion, adding emphasis to the stomp of the percussion. I just want to keep pressing play over and over; you’ll find this track on Cow, the latest LP from Flagless Records.

The Third Cut Share Sugar, Stop

Well, when the music climate gets stale, you turn to the sounds that brought you up as a human, which is I’m at with this new jam from The Third Cut. For all intents and purposes, it’s a pretty straightforward tune; it’s good old fashioned pop rock, with a little melodic flare via combined vocal harmonies. You even get a nice dose of some horn work in there to illustrate the band aren’t just dialing it in with formulas. Give this one a few spins today, preferably with a little bit of max volume and you’ll be guaranteed a better day than most. Enjoy.

Buffet Lunch Share Red Apple Happiness

It’s strange that as the world clamors for more of the same, I’m just drawn to these voices and performances that seem to be isolated out there in the world. Take this new Buffet Lunch jam, for instance. Going through my email, I can see a dozen other bands playing in the same ballpark, but they’re speeding around the bases, dropping that formulaic not quite post-punk…and it’s, well, it’s fine. But, here comes a band that just seem to toy with the formula, they’re deconstructing the standard notions of the genre. For one, the pace is a bit like a stutter, or an askew hop-along. The vocals have this punch in the front syllable, but often get pulled back to reveal the curl of pop sensibility the band bring to the table. Don’t even get me started on the squawk of the horns and that jittery guitar line here and there. Makes sense that the band would find a home for their LP, The Power of Rocks, over on Upset the Rhythm. It drops on May 7th.

Slinky Pop Tune from Merk

I seem to have arisen from my funk of yesterday, so I’m sliding into this clever pop ditty from New Zealand’s Merk. We had no wave, but this feels like no-club pop; it’s got these little flourishes of club beats and dance floor ready notes, but they’re pulled way back, almost as if the song moves in slow-motion. Still, you can’t hide a natural hook, which is offered via the chorus and those little synth stabs in the far off distance. Just really enjoying the fact that I haven’t heard a whole lot like this, like dance music you’re not sure you know how to dance to. It’s okay, let your body do the work.

CLAMM Sign to Meat Machine

Started off my morning with one of those angst ridden ideas in my head about “teacher privilege” (a rant for another day), so I was browsing through, trying to get my angst out, and here’s this great new jam from Melbourne trio CLAMM. They’ve just signed on with Meat Machine to release their debut LP, Beseech Me; you can check the video below to hear what they’re all about! It opens with this squalling wall of guitars, sort of muddy in nature, which I actually love, as it doesn’t really build much pop sensation at all (I needed that this morning!). They smash through the song at breakneck speed, delivering vocals with stabbing screams that rip through your speakers. Cathartic in every way; the LP drops on April 9th.

Crabber Return with A Kind of Tragic

I was a big fan of Bluesbuster, the 2018 LP from German outfit Crabber, so if you’re digging on this, feel free to check that out as well. But, this tune is brand new, the lead single off a forthcoming LP that’s slated for release later this year. My ears hear a middle ground somewhere between Boyracer and Teenage Fanclub; its got that rambunctious attitude to it, though its naturally wrapped around the central coil of pop sensibility. This is the sort of timeless pop rock that curls my toes…nice melody, solid pace and a big little hook just waiting for you in the chorus. Stay tuned for more news on the new LP!

Verandan Announce New 7″ Single

I’ve been really high upon Verandan since the band first came about, admittedly drawn to them by Ville Hopponen’s connection to indiepop greats Cats on Fire. But, as all great songwriters do, he’s clearly crafting his own path with this new project. Today we bring you news that the band will release a brand new 7″ via Soliti and Cloudberry Records, two labels we love. This tune that accompanies the announcement has the group really settling into their subtle indiepop vibes, its almost like a laid back lounge performance. Where you typically find sharp guitars knifing through, you get a bit more warmth and swirling dream notes, letting the vocals come in with their melodic croon. Plus, the arrangements behind it all build in this texture that allows the song to brim with pop sensibility that goes beyond categorization. The 7″ will be available on February 20th.

The Reds, Pinks and Purples Announce Uncommon Weather

Every list that really mattered at the end of 2020 had You Might Be Happy Someday by the Reds, Pinks & Purples at the top of their list (my personal list too!); it looks like the band will stake their claim to that same acclaim in 2021, as today they announce a new album, Uncommon Weather. Contrasting guitars jut against each other from the open, one ringing melodic and true, while the other seems intent on butting up against it with its angular discord. Fading away, it allows Glenn Donaldson to steady the ship, coolly feathering his vocals across the front of the mix, softly soothing slackers like Bob Pollard singing a bedtime lullaby. Perhaps my favorite bit survives beneath that voice; it recalls the timelessness of Sarah Records or even early K Records, with DIY jangles recorded to tape in solitude. This new record has a great new home too, with Slumberland Records slated to drop the LP on April 9th.

NRCSSST Announce Self Titled LP

If I had to pick my favorite member of the Coathangers, it would surely be Stephanie Luke, so when she began her new project NRCSSST, you can bet I was ready to hop on board. The debut single from the group’s self-titled LP employs bits you’d come to expect from Luke, but with the presence of Dan Dixon on backing vocals, the song gets a slightly different build. Stephanie still has this slight gruff growl, though it’s polished to provide the central hook; the song’s first half really reminds me of classic pop punk from the early 00s before ya’ll got all cool. The latter half features Dixon primarily, and might be dipping the smallest toe in that new wave/post punk pond. Regardless, its got hooks and grit, and I’ll gladly take both on board. Look for the LP on February 12th via Slimstyle.

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