I hadn’t heard of Bu until this track rolled in, and now I’m pretty sure I’m going to spend my day browsing through the entirety of their tunes. The tune offers up this buzzing wall of noise to start things off, but you can hear the band’s natural tendency towards pop sensibility just behind the curtain of feedback. The guitars jitter and dance, then cut in angularly as the first verse comes into play. Songwriter Josh Healy has this calming delivery, softly rising into the melody when needed; the guitar dances off here, seemingly running away from the distortion behind it…particularly fond of the little stutter at 2:14. Keep an eye out for this bunch going forward; these are good jams!
Last year Neutrals burst onto the scene with Kebab Disco, but with all the hubbub of Bandcamp today…the band has two new offerings of important. First, they’ve tossed up a demo of a brand new track…you can hear that HERE. Second, they’ve just put up orders for their new Rent/Your House EP via Domestic Departure Records. In order to promote the new release, they’re currently sharing the below cover of the classic track from the Exploited, “Hitler’s in the Charts Again.” Now, I know we’re all focused on COVID-19, as we should be, but, this release is donating all proceeds to both RAICES and Border Angels…two important organizations helping immigrant families/causes; we should keep in mind that this pandemic is not the only problem facing the US today. Maybe you like the cause, maybe you like the song…either way, the money goes where its needed most.
Last fall, we teamed up with Resurrection Records to co-release the sophomore LP from Austin’s Mean Jolene; Try Harder was an excellent follow-up to Salty, with the band taking on a streamlined focus after some line-up changes. One of the standout tracks, and my personal favorite “Dark Harmony” today gets the video treatment, directed by the band’s drummer Adam, and edited by guitarist Stevesie. The thing I love about this song is the sort of understated anthemic nature; it’s like they’ve slowed down this big arena rocker so they can draw you in with the sweet voice of Jolie. It’s hard not to be charmed by this one, especially when accompanied with the band at their exuberant best in the video. Go grab the Try Harder HERE.
Radio Dept has always made it easy to retreat into their music, crafting these little pop nuggets beneath a sort of murky surface, like seeing the sun through a cloud of smoke. Today they’ve got a brand new track, and it might just be one of my favorite they’ve released in years. It opens with this tempting atmosphere, cut through by shimmering guitar notes, slowly picking up pace. Then it jumps off into this bouncing rhythm that soon finds a companion in the whispering vocals to elevate the track; I like how the slight guitar buzz builds in from the distance, then recedes. There’s just something about this song that fits perfectly into this rainy day and rainy times.
Needless to say, There’s No Fight We Can’t Both Win, was one of my favorite records of last year. One song that didn’t make the final cut for Mammoth Penguins was this gem they’re sharing titled “Sorry I Hurt Your Feelings.” It’s a special b-side tune that they’ve run up especially for today so that they can donate those funds to Trussel Trust, who support food banks…which I imagine becomes even more important in the current climate. Plus, the song makes up for the fact that we’d be seeing the band here in Austin for SXSW.
You can donate directly to Trussel Trust HERE.
When I found out that Paul Erlichman was the man behind the songs of Elrichman, I had expectations, as he’s one of the members of the most excellent Ducks Unlimited. “Cop on a Horse,” the first single, was beautiful, but a little more akin to folky indierock. That said, this new single is precisely what I was expecting, or rather hoping, to hear from Elrichman. It’s energetic, and reeks of Edwyn Collins/Paddy McAloon vocal references. I do like how Paul ties into the earlier single with this orchestral closing moment (its also in the song’s middle), which is important when one considers the album as a singular entity. A fun ditty, most assuredly. Heaven’s Mayor is out April 24th via Bobo Integral.
In my effort to write about most things coming into my email today, I thought this Rabbi Harnoune and V.B Kuhl was one that normally wouldn’t pique my interest, yet today I’m rather enjoying it. Rabbi is a Gnawa-master from Morocco, which means he’s a specialist in Islamic religious songs; he’s fusing his work here with German producer V.B Kuhl. There are two parts that grab my attention. First, the innate musicality of Gnawa music shines through in Harnoune’s performance; it seems that it’s almost perfectly fit to any style. On the other hand, the work of Kuhl kind of transforms that into a dance-floor ready groove; I can see myself dancing to this back in my Jnco-wearing heyday. Seems working across communities is now more important than ever, so give this a listen.
As we prepare for the release of Unmask Whoever, it’s time I start really paying attention to the craftsmanship of Activity. The first 30 seconds of their new single felt like a sort of post-rock industrial piece; there was this ominous noise echoing in the distance that build this uneasiness. That was calmed, mildly, by the band’s cool vocals, smoothing out the edges of the song just a smidge. That tension began to build, as did the anxiousness of the track, but the band excel by showing restraint, focusing on their pop sensibility while the world seems to crash around them in this song. Initially, I wanted this to unleash a wall of noise and crash into me, but I’m thinking now they made the right choice holding back. The new LP is out on March 27th via Western Vinyl.
Perhaps the visual aesthetic and influences of Roz Raskin harken to 60s pop, but the feel of Nova One‘s “Violet Dreams” seems every bit steeped in the current climate we’ve been in for the last few years. There’s this almost slow-moving trait to the track, like the song got stuck in some time warp and slowly spins in this galactic haze. I love the way Raskin’s voice seems to have this purposeful emphasis on various syllables, as if each note carries a secret only evident to the narrator. It’s a subtle song, staring off into the horizon of the unknown with the rest of us. This song appears on Lovable, which drops on April 24th via Community Records.
I know that Control Top‘s Covert Contracts got a lotta lotta love last year from all the heavy hitters…but I listened, and it was good, but it wasn’t something that really blew me away. Here they are upon their return, and I want to like it, but at the moment, I’m on the fence. Ali Carter’s voice is the high point throughout; there’s a flare in it that only the best front people have, shining through the recorded version. Musically, I just wasn’t super interested in the guitar work; it felt like someone that was really into Queens of the Stone Age their whole life suddenly wanted to be in a punk band. Guess that makes me an asshole, but I wanted something sharper, more angular. Didn’t hate it, but didn’t love it. You?