The ten tracks that make up the debut album from Exasperation show a band confident in their craft, willing to wear their various influences openly. Album opener “Pyre” has this almost spastic punctuated vocal, before it twists into a crunchier blasting riff ride. It’s matched by songs such as “Devil’s Gate,” which has the faintest smell of Les Savy Fav in the angular guitars and vocal delivery. Still, while things often seem sharp and treacherous throughout Paradise, a soft underbelly exists within that only reveals itself when one pulls back layer after layer, song after song…like on “Sludge Plow.” It’s a power ballad of sorts, calm in its appearance, emphatic in its chorus. Venture forth listener, peel back the layers and uncover the secrets of Paradise.
I’ve got a lot of respect for Shane Natalie, not the least of which is attributed to his day gig as a Special Education teacher (RayRay and I both teach too!). Of course, you can also look at his Good Shade project where Shane plays all the instruments and writes all the parts. His guitar style is similar to label-mates such as Marked Men or Steve Adamyk; it’s furiously rushing from the get-go, racing alongside your ears all the way to the song’s finish. And, it wouldn’t grab my ear of Natalie’s voice didn’t have the slightest penchant for pop leanings when he stretches it. Good Shade will release Way Out on February 15th via Dirtnap Records.
Long ago my infatuation with Bleeding Gold Records led me to Oh Well Goodbye; the band brandished this lo-fi brand of post-punk that I found pretty intoxicating. Now the band are back with a new EP on horizon, and this sprawling darkened pop tune. The first couple of moments are built upon this brooding guitar line, angry in fashion, while breathy vocals bubble up beneath the surface of the murky mix. This much I expected, but the added element that elevates the group’s sound is the band’s willingness to explore the darker textures within the confines of their own music, hunting for those perfect notes to accent the swirling guitar lines. You’ll be able to find the band’s brand new EP on February 15th via EDILS Records.
It’s always good to have a band on your radar as reliable as Herzog; they seem to consistently release music that you know you’re going to love…and their new single isn’t going to let you down. The track has this alt-country twang to the guitars, though there’s still plenty of crunchy riffs in the band’s delivery; it’s a mash-up of indie and country, without sounding like Americana, more like warm power-pop. The video accompanying the lead single is quite sad with the central figure ending his night alone atop his skateboard with LP in hand; it’s a hard knock life kid. Me vs You, their first album in five years, drops on February 22nd.
Chris Richards, who sings on this track, played a huge part in my musical collection as far back as 2000, but that’s another band and TK Echo is another entity entirely. That being said, you can’t help but feel a slight tinge of nostalgia when his voice comes through your speakers. This song kicks into gear immediately, stomping in with percussion and a warm wash of keyboards soothing your soul while Richards vocals burst through. You can definitely hear the emphasis on the rhythm section, though Chris never seems to be one to skirt pop nods of late, and my enjoyment is all the better for it. The band’s self-titled EP comes out January 25th.
Okay, so a version of this song has been floating around for a bit, but now we’ve got this version and its accompanying, with the announcement that the song will appear on the new Le Superhomard LP! It’s a pulsating electro-leaning indiepop jam from the French outfit, with nods to their influences like Air and Stereolab. Plus, the brand new video seems perfectly with the star of the video being none other than a “paper girl,” along with other striking visuals. Meadow Lane Park will be released by Elefant Records on February 22nd, and hopefully it gets a great deal of much-deserved coverage.
I’ve been writing about how much I enjoy the power pop of I Was a King for quite some time; it seems that’s about as long as TFC’s Norman Blake has been a fan, as well. Now, the band has teamed up with Norm (producer) to bring you a powerhouse of an album…and below you can stream the first single. It’s absolutely everything you’d want, with huge churning guitar chords ringing out while the band all share in vocal roles that bring you closer to the warmth of the fire. There’s a lot of power-pop out there, but I feel like no one’s doing it quite on the level as this bunch; if this is the last new song you hear before heading into the weekend, your life will be better for it. Look for Slow Century to drop in March of this year!
Feels like cheating offering up two Dan Francia tracks in one week, but I’m super stuck on Dan’s vibe. It’s part collage, at least in the actual recording, with Dan culling his friends to record with him. But, for me, the draw is the huge emotional pull that flows through the speakers. He teases the listener here for the first minute and half, offering up vocals and lightly strummed guitar…it builds with percussion and electronics…then it bursts exuberantly through your speakers, stretching your lips into a huge smile. Sometimes you want the music you love to make you feel good, and this song definitely strikes that note on my end. Come Back to Life is out on January 25th via Exploding in Sound.
At the moment, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of artists with the productivity rate of Justin Cheromiah aka High Sunn. Only about a week into 2019, and he’s already released a new LP, Our Perception. It’s another captivating entry into the young artists catalog, going back and forth between dreamy angular guitars and electronically pulsed bedroom pop numbers. Surprisingly, while there are some tweaks I’d like to hear, there’s not a bad song in this collection, meaning Cheromiah is still riding his own hit-making machine, living in the land between emo and dream pop; I’ll take it. Our Perception is out right now via Spirit Goth.
It’s been a great few days reading over the responses from the various labels who’ve been so kind to share a quick thought on who they are and why they do what they do. It’s a great view at all the hard-working individuals putting their life into music. Today we’ve got Forged Artifacts, Emotional Response, Spare the Rock, My Little Empire and Dadstache.