Over the past dozen years or so, I’ve been covering the music of Frode Stromstad, one of the key songwriters in I Was a King/The No Ones. Today, news came our way that Frode has a new project titled Colored Lights, and we’re more than happy to share the first little taste of what’s in store. Personally, I can’t escape the familiarity of Frode’s voice; it seems to sit perfectly in this song, like a small little boat casually resting atop the water as the song ripples through your speakers. Emotional impact is almost immediate, matching up the light strum and percussion with Stromstad’s voice…and then it’s gone, fading away with a gentle bit of noise exploration. The band will release their self-titled LP via Bobo Integral on September 22nd.
Dammit if this song from Wireheads hasn’t seeped into my subconscious, haunting all my listening for the rest of the day. When I first heard this track, I immediately felt like it sounded like what the Television Personalities could have evolved into had they come of age in the last few decades. There’s this brilliant bit of light jangling, , but it’s totally relaxed on the couch jangling, like it knows just how cool it fucking sounds. While the indifference is enchanting, the seduction comes in the way the vocals combine to churn out these little sparkling melodic diamonds for your ears. If you think this song is as rad as I do, then by all means, grab their new LP, Potentially Venus from Tenth Court on June 23rd.
If there was a track that completely encompassed everything about this week, somehow it’s this new tune from the Sheeps. There’s a steadiness to it, an almost routine and circular chug; it feels, to a degree like finding you’re footing in this weird old world. Even so, you get the feeling like you’re on some magnificent car ride to nowhere, but not bothered by that one bit. You’re just riding in the backseat, music blasting, sun shining on everyone in the care as you all grin from ear to ear. Feels like the promise of adventure, while simultaneously providing you with a sense of comfort, safety and familiarity. It’s all the things my friends, which is why I can’t get it out of my head.
Grecian outfit Youth Valley are all set to release their new record, Lullabies for Adults, so figured we’d toss our hat in the ring here and let you sway to the sounds of their latest single. “February” immediately takes you deep into the cavernous world of post-punk, letting the guitar work and the brooding rhythm beneath move the track, and the listener. But, just as the song feels like it should erupt, it settles into more of a soar, like a bird just catching the wind beneath its wings and riding it out to the end. Where other artists might force a climactic push, Youth Valley hold tight to their calm…letting it guide you, letting it hold you. If you’re digging on it, the new LP is out on June 23rd.
I was seeking out something that set up Friday perfectly, something that felt like summer, but still kept me on my toes, which is where I landed with this new Plane Color tune. There’s a lot of that silky guitar work on the surface, which creates this natural warm swing to it; it feels like something that would be considered Captured Tracks adjacent. Still, the thing that kept my interest piqued was those deep-throated vocals; I love the deepness and how its works when juxtaposed with the melody. Throwing a late night pool party? Try this one on your playlist!
Sometimes you have to have sounds working against each other, creating friction in order to come to terms with something magical, which is sort of my description for the latest single from Shady Bug. Bending guitar lines leave the listener tense once they’ve pressed play; they have this carnival-esque nature to them that toys with a darkness that’s unsettling. But, then Hannah Rainey comes right into the picture with this sweetness that takes the song into this playful territory. It gives you a hook and an edge, and personally, leaves you wishing there was a whole lot more where that came from. Luckily, the band are dropping their What’s the Use EP on June 30th via Exploding in Sound.
If you ran into me in the last two months then I likely told you my favorite track was “1000 Times” from Maine family band, Big Blood. Well, today they’ve dropped another stellar track, albeit with more of a brooding stomp; it almost feels like it’s going to be this psychedelic barn burner, until singer Quinnisa rolls right into the fray. There’s this powerful majesty in her voice, far beyond what one would expect from a 13 year old vocalist. I love the way she’s able to kind of roll with the ebb and flow of the song’s natural movement, perfectly filling in all the corners of the track with emotion. It’s time you hopped on board and fell in love with Big Blood; they will release First Aid Kit on June 9th via Ba Da Bing/Feeding Tube.
I am a little late to the game on the latest release from Australia’s Lakes Region, but I aim to rectify my error by sharing one of my favorite tunes from the new Vital Signs LP. “Echo” lives in the dream pop realm, with these swirling guitars filtering through your speakers like wisps of smoke. Pete Bridle’s voice, however, unlocks the secrets the song, coming across like a last grasp of grandeur, one more attempt to stretch the melodies into the beyond. This is what you’ll get through and through on Vital Signs, a record that feels like its slow burning along the edges, leaving these glowing little embers of warm pop.
Sometimes I feel like I have pigeon-holed my own musical tastes; you send me something with really great arrangements and a deep melodic voice, I’ll likely cover it somehow. That’s how I hit upon this new track from Cereus Bright, which I keep playing. There’s this central piece from songwriter Tyler Anthony that ultimately feels like a really good folk ballad/croon, but the arrangements from the strings and woodwind samples totally take this into territory you’d likely find on an old Broken Social Scene record; it has that everything but the kitchen sink feel, only with great execution. File this under a more serene version of what Destroyer sounds like!
I know folks are getting tired of the reimagining of shoegaze and such these last few years, but I’m definitely still into the balanced approach of both loud and soft. Take, for example, this new Scrunchie tune; the song’s opening moments carry this threatening wall of noise, thundering down upon you with sheer volume alone. But, then the middle opens up and these soothing melodic vocals into the fray out of nowhere, steadying the song. In a way, it kind of reminds me of a mash up of sorts, throwing in an indie pop gem with a scorch-the-earth noise piece. Again, give me balance and I’ll lend you my ear!