A few years ago, everyone was buzzing about Yard Act; they were the brand new baby for those that were in attendance at SXSW. To be honest, I thought they were the poor man’s Franz Ferdinand, as you could hear the style of dance music leaking in, but it didn’t quite feel as passionate. This go round, the band are aiming for something that feels a little bit like the crossing pattern between Talking Heads and LCD Soundsystem; it’s built to get your feet moving, embracing the body’s natural movement and employing all the tricks to get it up and going. It’s a lot more fun this go round, so I’m eager to see where they go now that they’ve announced Where’s My Utopia, out in March via Republic.
It’s early in the morning, so I’ll be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about folks signing to Third Man Records; I’m not sure I’m wholly in the Jack White camp; it’s a weird world where Steve Albini’s out there making merch negotiations for all the musicians. But, what I can say is that the label has another rad band on the roster, with today’s announcement that they’ll be releasing the newest Hotline TNT LP. To me, this single feels like an Will Anderson is channeling an aged emo/post-hardcore kid who just got a Teenage Fanclub mixtape from a friend; the song’s have this wall of noise built in, kicking off the heavier vibes. Still, the central nature of the tune revolves around Anderson’s melodic delivery, the sort of gravitational pull of everything around it. Plus, pretty sure once you dive into the lyrics every single listener can relate. Cartwheel is out November 3rd with a big old tour coinciding with the release!
Unsurprisingly, it sounds like K Records have another stellar release on their hands, this time with a new LP coming from Feeling Figures. For fans of the label, this new single feels precisely what I imagine it was like growing into a young adult with K’s catalog on your tape player. There’s almost this natural indifference to the churn of the guitars, riding the wind on the back of beat, waiting for the vocals to soar into picture. Nothing seems overdone or exaggerated for musical effect, tightly wound up around this simplistic DIY ethos. Plus, there’s plenty of open space here too, allowing the musicianship to frolic about in enchanting fashion. Old school vibes with new school flair; Migration Music is out November 15th!
This fresh tune from the Serfs, accompanied by an album announcement, was the tune and groove I didn’t know I needed. At times, there’s some synth work that has that crystalline stab like a record from the Knife. But, there’s this heady pulse being pushed here, squeezing every ounce of cool into these shuffling beats working in the undercurrent. Little vocal samples creep and lurk around every corner, but the core vocal is cold and distant, almost indifferent to the twist and turn of every beat bouncing off your bedroom walls. This feels like my soundtrack, the groove for a kid who can’t dance but does it anyways; the band release Half Eaten by Dogs via Trouble in Mind Records on October 27th.
Another day and another dollar I’ll likely have to send to Mt. St. Mtn., particularly now that they’ve announced a fresh new LP from Seablite. Although they’ve sprinkled in some singles and an EP, we haven’t had a proper LP since 2019, so I’m excited to hear what’s finally coming our way. And, after spending several minutes running through the new single, I really like how they’ve come out. Sure, there’s some dreamy/gazey moments that are still wrapped in there, but something about the vocals really has me leaning towards those 90s alternative rock vibes. It’s a nice twist, allowing the band’s murkiness (also there in the video) to hang in the air, while still driving home this pop aesthetic they seem to have perfected, letting the hip kids indulge from all the various angles. Lemon Lights is out on September 29th!
I’ve been championing Paige Berry and her Half Dream project since they released the excellent Monster of Needing EP back in 2020. Now, news comes across that we’ll finally be getting the band’s debut Will I Still Bloom LP this October, and we’ve got the title track from Will I Still Bloom. This song’s filled with tons of little details that illustrate just how much the band’s grown; I love the little guitar tickles atop Berry’s voice and the thumping drums for the first 45 seconds or so. Then, at 53 seconds, the track shoots off, layering in a dreamier vibe from the guitars as Paige delivers a striking vocal performance. The band take a moment to flex their musicianship, then jump right back to the affair at hand, brooding in mood while we await the next huge chorus! Everything in this track just feels like a huge step for the band, and if Paige ever doubted herself, this song is evidence that she’s clearly blossomed into one of Austin’s finest songwriters. And, if you’re in the ATX tonight…the band celebrate the new single at Captain Quackenbush’s Soundspace, so come pregame with me as I DJ at Tweedys, then head to the show!
Scenes across the US musical landscape tend to move from time to time, and as of the last couple of years, there’s not been a place I’ve gravitated towards, musically speaking, as much as San Francisco. Today, one of the Bay Area’s biggest labels announces a new release by one of the best bands; Slumberland Records will be releasing the next Tony Jay LP! Now, who is Tony Jay? Well, rumor has it that the band is loosely tied to Michael Ramos of Flowertown, but he’s not singing here, so perhaps the vocals have been leant to video director and Cindy powerhouse, Karina Gill? Most importantly, this song feels like that perfect late night lullaby; it hangs in your brain, allowing you to walk between that realm of reality and deep deep sleep. While it all starts with soft vocals over a subdued beat and a ringing guitar note, there’s a turn to a steadier strum that changes the melodic nature, and it will most certainly take your breath away. Look for Perfect Worlds to drop on September 15th.
Fresh on the heels of the excellent Jaboukie 7″, Brontez Purnell is ready to return with a new full length LP, Confirmed Bachelor. With that, you get a fresh single, introducing Brontez new solo stuff, and man, I just love the way this song unfolds. It kicks off with these huge riffs ringing around Purnell’s voice. The drums snap in quickly, and the track quickly begins to have this playful bounce to it, but mid-track, there’s a pause and then this striking swirl of guitars feeding back through your speakers, shattering the pop structure just a bit as the tune filters towards a stomping close. Twist and turns and hooks and noise; this tune has it all. Look for Confirmed Bachelor via Upset the Rhythm on September 15th.
I will admit that I was hooked the first time I heard Genesis Owusu; musically he reminded me of a pop version of Dizzee Rascal, offering quick rhymes with a super distinctive voice and sprinkle of pop. Then you throw in all the visual video work done for the tracks, like the one featured below, and it feels like a throwback to those over-the-top hip-hop videos of the early 90s where every setting seemed like it cost a million dollars just for the costumes. So, this new tune…it’s a driving tune with that thumping push that makes Genesis style attractive; I will be seeking out some variation on his LP, but for now, I’ll take this banger, and wait until Struggler hits on August 18th via Awal/Ourness to give a final verdict.
If you were anywhere near SXSW this past year, you were likely turned onto Lifeguard; they were one of our favorite acts of the festival, dropping these mature performances that went beyond their age. They’ve just announced their first release for Matador Records, which is a combination of an old EP and a fresh one to get you excited for their future. Listening through, it sort of reminds me of At the Drive-In during the Vaya EP; they’ve got this masterful balance between hypnotic pulses and artful noise; you’re being pulled and pushed while the lyrics seem to echo more of a mantra than a typical mantra. Look for everyone to rave about this trio; they drop Crowd Can Talk/Dressed in Trenches on July 7th.