I’ve spent the last week or so really digging deep into Pure Soul, the newest LP from John Steiner’s recording project as Boy Romeo. Every time I press play, I can’t help but wonder how some folks get big and famous, while others toil in obscurity. For me, this whole LP is a brilliant collection of pop songs; it should be a huge record, even as indie standards go. You can just take the singles to start. “Let’s Roll” has this surf-y swagger filled with hints of doo-wop and vocal layering that would make Brian Wilson smile. “Sophie” brings in a high-stepping jangle, meant to kick your heels up and have some fun, even with a sly hint at 80s club dance floors. But, a great LP needs a ballad, which you get in “Daydream” as the album draws near a close. That doesn’t even cover a song like “Pastels,” which could draw Steiner some Dent May comparisons, but here we have him going all in with a big horn solo added to the mix. Oh, and you need an art-y song too? Well, there’s “Waiting for My Call,” which stretches a solid pop number into a synth exploration. This LP has it all, and you can have it all too if you grab a copy from Z Tapes tomorrow when the album drops! Here it all below!
You might know Gabriel Bernini from his work in LuxDeluxe or as part of the Deer Tick team, but here, we’ve got a fresh listen to Gabe’s solo work, Sweeties! The entirety of the listen revolves around the balance between melody and rock n’ roll attitude. Take the lead single, “Caramel,” which employs some energetic riffage you’d find at the rock show, but it’s wrapped around this effortless melody that gives the song its cool. Bernini follows that up with the catchy rocker “White Room,” but skip ahead a few tracks and you find the secret joy of this record in “What You Want.” It’s a mellow number, really built entirely by the strength of the voice, with some light accompaniment via guitar and drums. It kind of sets you up for Side B of the LP, which to me, felt a little softer, but every bit as enjoyable; “Hold Up” was the charmer there for me. Sweeties is available this Friday via Dadstache Records!
For many of us, music is escapism. We wrap ourselves in our headphones and let go of everything around us. Perhaps no one is better at creating that sonic cocoon than Finnish outfit Cats of Transnistria, especially once you delve into the depths of Aligning. “Mountain High” opens things up, almost as an album itself, offering delicate touches and heavy notes to whet your appetite going forward. “Vampire” offers up the angelic beneath it’s brooding atmospherics, patiently bringing the vocals to rest atop. As you move into “Born Again,” a darker texture seeps in, though its still interrupted by the soaring vocal performance…if anything this only makes the song more haunting. In order to bring you out of that darkness, they offer up “Light” and “Wild Herbs,” sharing a natural warmth that provides the proper balance to the collection of songs; I think the latter is possibly my favorite track on this LP. The close of the album is much like the beginning, as “Aligning” seems very much like its own entity, book ending the listen with this exhilarating sonic exploration. If your one such listener looking for that other worldly experience, then grab Aligning from Soliti Music, out worldwide this Friday.
Being in a band these days is tough, and as is the case for Rhode Island’s Beverly Tender, it’s best to call it a day when you’re peaking. While Little Curly/boy is a Bird will be their final release, they’re going out with a musical wonder. The whole record is comprised of these little sonic collages, woven together carefully to craft some oddball pop quilt. “April 17, 2018” comes across like a more demented Animal Collective, but they’ll flip that in a moment, turning into the delightfully playful “We Are the Children of the Future on Earth;’ this is just one of the many twists and turns offered throughout the LP. A rarity nowadays, but this is a collection that’s meant to be listened to as a whole; it’s not meant to be partially consumed and then discarded. Immerse yourself in the fabric of this LP and you’ll be rewarded with pop wizardry; then go grab the tape from Disposable America. We wish the band all the best in their new ventures, but you can catch them on December 6th and 7th playing with Palberta.
With their 2017 album Colors, El Lago won us over with their elegant take on dream pop; it sounded refined and grown-up, something those with a sensible pop palate couldn’t pull away from. But, from the moment you press play on the Pyramid EP, you meet an entirely different beast. “Citadel” announces itself with this guitar squall ripping through the front of the mix, allowing Lauren to dance in with a spritely vocal delivery; she’ll add a softer touch reminiscent of the band’s early work during the song’s chorus. “Endless” has this sharpness to it, though you can’t turn your ear away from the dark texture lurking beneath the surface. “Moths,” to me, represent the band’s greatest musical leap; the structure and off-kilter rhythm almost craft this sort of angular post-punk spun through an arthouse lens; it’s the sort of tune that leads you down a path of reflection. “Pyramid” comes in to sort of remind you of where the band’s been, nostalgically looking back upon Colors. “Solo” is another of the calmer tunes, but in being such, it really highlights the power of Lauren’s voice; I feel like that’s something I took for granted, but this whole EP is full of remarkable moment after moment. It’s even set up perfectly, heavy and strong at the beginning, full of artistic flare and bold moments, but it narrows its focus on the band’s pop sensibility as it nears the final number, closing out with a nice 46 second instrumental at the apex. Please don’t skip this EP; its out Friday via Wallflower Records.
It’s Friday, and people are all about those streams, but I want you to be all about those pop songs; the kind that instinctively make you swoon, like the entire LP from Ultim Cavall. I’ve given you a few of these tunes already, and I know that the non-English lyrical content is a bit of a stretch…but dammit if these songs don’t just you want to learn new languages. The entirety of Alaska walks this line between bouncy indiepop and the dreamiest of dream pop numbers. “Els Ilacs” is a jam and a half, but I’ve really grown partial to the title track, “Alaska.” Just ten solid pop tracks to make your life infinitely better. Out now on Discos de Kirlian.
Admittedly, I was all in with the reemergence of psych rock that came with things like Levitation and the like. But, after a few years, it got kind of boring; it felt like everyone was recycling the same bits and pieces, and I just grew weary of listening to the same song over and over. Fast forward to now, and there’s this new LP from the Flower Graves. It was presented to me as two halves of an LP; sure, there are song breaks, but the presentation really let me immerse myself within the album’s confines…which is how I fell in love with it. You can find the stereotypical psych tropes, like fuzzed out riffs and smokey guitar noodling, but peak beneath the songs and you’ll find this striking pop sensibility. “Living in Disguise,” for instance, definitely employs a stronger sense of melody than one typically finds, leaning almost towards dreamy pop realms. I’m partial to Side B’s “Plastic Orange;” it feels like a pop hot air balloon just slowly descends atop the whole LP, which, in turn, sets you up for the heavy riffs of “Night Byrd.” The whole Living in Disguise LP is a journey, but one easily worth your time today; the album drops Friday via Wallflower Records.
Not too long ago, I just casually dropped a new tune from Brooklyn’s the Holy Tunics, in hopes that it would build some anticipation for their latest album, Hit Parade Lemonade Supersonic Spree. Well, tomorrow Meritorio Records will drop the entire thing, so we wanted to give you a sneak preview of what was laying in wait for you. Grab the album HERE, stream below…and jump July Tour Dates for random Nathan thoughts on each track.
Joel Nicholson’s been working as Butcher the Bar for some time, and in that period, he’s gone from solo to full band and probably back again…but for III, we get the full band pop bombast that’s always lived within the confines of Nicholson’s songwriting. There are straight upbeat pop numbers, and some more pensive tunes here, so just stream it below. You can grab the LP directly from Bobo Integral, and if you’re so inclined, you can read my thoughts about each song below.
Listening through the entirety of Onesie has made me feel comfortable and safe; it’s like a warm blanket of nostalgia wrapped tightly around my ears. Umpteenth is as scatter-brained as Leos Consume, their last LP, but you can easily follow the power-pop bread crumbs from the get-go. Opener “Ten Times Tinnitus” has hints of that Big Star sound, though as it carries on, it also starts to lend itself over to Jets to Brazil territory, which inevitably sets you up for the more Jawbreaker-ish follow-up track “Customers;” this one’s slightly heavier on the riffs, but still adheres to pop sensibility. Skipping down to ”
Would You Be My Goon,” you get a glimpse of the landscape created by acts like Teenage Fanclub, with riffs muted slightly in favor of layered vocal harmonies. And, all that diversity comes before the band hit the sweet spot with “Awards Show” in the album’s latter half…it’s the pop rock number you didn’t know you needed. All this is just to say you could feel good too; you too can smile while you rock, but you can only do so by picking up Umpteenth, the new LP from Onesie, out this Friday courtesy of Dadstache Records.