You might remember Parrot Dream from our brief SXSW Interview with the band, but if not, let’s refresh a bit. The group began in Chile before relocating to Brooklyn where they fleshed out their band with various friends. They’ve finally gotten all the pieces together, amassed a decent following and now have their debut full length ready for you. Our first listen has this excellent blend between shoegaze and dream pop, which I suppose always combine to make the perfect mix. The guitar has this refreshing glisten with atmospherics lurking from behind from layered electronics. Christina soon enters the fray, letting her voice hang above it all, almost casually in fashion. Light Goes will be out on August 24th via Good Eye Records.
I seem to be continuously charmed by the Smittens, and here we are again with another brilliant pop song to adore. It’s got a steady cadence, filled in with wonderful harmonies between various members of the group; the group stretch out the song in the latter half, allowing for a more thought provoking element to the tune. That makes sense, as Dana says he penned the number as ‘a coming out/transition anthem,’ encouraging us to all ‘find the spaces in which we belong.’ City Rock Dove will be out via Fika Recordings on August 3rd.
When Andy Burns reached out to me, I wasn’t familiar with his work, but I’ve been delving deep into the music he’s sent me. He’s putting finishing touches on his latest album, which will be out in the Fall; it was completed while the Australian songwriter has been living in Tokyo. I’m a sucker for string arrangements, especially when they accompany light little pop songs, such as this one. Plus, Andy carries deep vocal tones, though there’s a slight hint of operatic tendencies lurking deep in there. A mellow number that’s perfect to start out your Friday goings-on.
- Having spent a great deal of my time over the last fifteen LPs of the Black Watch, the thing that still strikes me is how willing John is to continuously attempt new things. He’s claimed that the entirety of Witches was conceived as a dance album…yet songs like the track below might lead you astray. In this number, he seems isolated, standing alone at the front of the mix while everything goes on behind him; you’ll hear the strum of acoustic guitars, matched by cascading lines, there’s faint hints of tambourines in the far off, bass just barely bubbles up from below. Then there’s John, bare before you with his poetry and voice. Witches drops on July 25th via Atom Records.
Nacho Cano has had a hard time of late, spending the better part of a year recovering from an accident where he was hit by a drunk driver. In that, he’s changed the direction of his work as Harmless, focusing on how isolated he’s been, both personally and culturally in the United States. Seems fairly grim, and understandably, but this video still brings a smile to my face every time I play it; I especially love the smooth moves of the man in the beige suit. Musically, it’s definitely an understated slow jam, one that’s perfect for late summer night’s of slow dancing. His latest EP, A Donde Te Vas, will drop later this Fall.
What better way to head into the weekend than to receive new music from Shelflife Records; this time they’ll be working with Filipino group Outerhope for their first ever US release. The project is comprised of siblings Michael and Micaela Benedicto, who’ve turned to dreamy electronica to capture hearts. The opening moments have this twinkling keyboard line working over atmospheric washes, then the percussive element picks joins in to up the speed just a bit. Already, you’re captivated by the energetic number before Micaela entered the picture to layer warmth atop the track with her voice; she’s got a soft approach to deliver, allowing notes to sort of drift off her tongue and into the ether. Shelflife never has a miss when they release albums, and it looks like they’ve got a spot-on winner with Vacation; it drops on August 10th (with several limited color editions!).
It looks like Antiquated Future is on a roll as of late, as they’ve got another release on the horizon that’s piqued my interest, this time from The Washboard Abs. I like how the first minute or so of this song is spent primarily in isolation, which perhaps nods to the album’s thematic element of the possibility of loss of a partner. Then, just as you’ve settled in, the song is elevated by nice electronica and spot-on percussive elements; it’s like the song just begins to grow right inside your ears…a special moment. If you like what you hear, be on the lookout for the band’s 3rd LP, Lowlight Visions, which will drop on August 17th.
I’ve been writing about Acting Strange for quite some time, probably since the band’s inception, so why stop now…especially when I’m getting emails about Awolnation. This tune is a pretty simple pop ballad, with just enough sugary hooks to keep my ears attentive. It has some slight similarities to Mystery Jets, especially the way the vocals dictate the song’s natural cadence. Plus, as the song moves into the chorus, there’s this grand swelling, then the melody is dropped right on top of you. As of now, the band looks to be in the studio working on their follow-up to their 2017 album, Talk Talk Talk.
We’re riding high on the Tony Molina train over here, especially with Kill the Lights dropping in a few weeks. The latest single, and possibly the last before the LP is out, is one of the longer songs on the record, and to my ears, one of my favorites. Tony’s execution leaves him somewhere between Teenage Fanclub and Joe Pernice in my brain…and those are things that will keep me coming back to this song over and over. Sure, he might just be teasing us with 10 short ditties, but I assure you, no one is writing them better than Molina at this very moment. Kill the Lights hits July 26th via Slumberland Records.
Remember when Animal Collective were writing incredible pop songs that had everyone salivating? Well, I think you’ll find something similar in the music of John Dragonetti aka Jack Drag. The very first vocal entrance creates this soaring melody that immediately had me fawning for sunshine; it’s strange how a simple melody can transport you, but such is the power of this song. It also probably doesn’t hurt that Aimee Mann, a friend of John’s, had a hand in this tune, as did Dylan Gardner. Really, none of that even matters as the hook of this track supersedes everything else before you today. Look for the new LP, 2018, in September via Burger Records.