I’ve been careful with Rose Dorn up until now, not quite sure if I would buy into the hype surrounding the super-young LA act; you can’t fall for everything from a town of smoke and mirrors. That said, some songs are just great songs, like their latest single “Collar.” This is sort of a downtrodden number, mood wise, but I was first struck by the layering of the vocals at the very beginning of the song; there’s something about it that’s both youthful and sort of ghostly, like it will haunt you forever. That is especially true when the chorus drops in and the band let the chords take a little more power on and build in the male backing vocals. Ultimately, they’re crafting these beautiful pop nuggets that seem so effortless, which is perhaps even more impressive considering singer Scarlet just graduated high school. They’ll drop their debut Days You Were Leaving via Bar None Records on August 23rd.
I’m hoping that Justus Proffit has a breakout year, as I think his music can go in various directions; he ties in all these various influences, wearing them openly in his tracks. My ears hear a mixture of GVB in this track, especially in the main verses of the song. The chorus does offer a glance at Proffit’s ability to turn up the noise level and just unleash his sound on the listener; it all comes across weirdly balanced. There’s still that intimacy in his voice that we heard on “Hole,” which likened him to E. Smith, but here comes something a touch different for ya. LA’s Got Me Down drops on March 8th via Bar None Records.
This year is going to rule for the old guards of rock n’ roll…new JaMC, new Bats, new Wire and, of course, a new record from the Feelies. I think the cascading riff that opens this song really will grab modern listeners that might not be too familiar with the band’s work, just before they settle into their hook-laden groove. That guitar sound is so familiar that I think I’ll hear it haunt me for the rest of my life; I don’t want to even think of how many bands owe these guys a debt of musical gratitude. In Between is the title of the new LP, and it’s being released by Bar None on February 24th.
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Surely Happyness has hit your radar, as they’ve had an incredible run the last year or so. They maintain their balance between huge walls of guitar noise and pop sensibility that really harkens back to the late 90s when bands like Grandaddy and The Comas were gods in my listening rotation. You’ll hear a screeching guitar in the middle here before they bring back the power hook that comes with every vocal. If you love pop, but still love to rock a bit, then there’s not going to be a better band for you in 2015. Look for their new effort, Weird Little Birthday, on March 24th via Bar None.
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Something about a band duo who are also a couple makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside right? Well dating duo Eros and the Eschaton are just that and can evoke some tingly feelings inside with their dark pop music. Below you can sample their latest single called “Heaven Inside” which is a great example of how this band can craft some incredibly spooky and heartfelt pop music. Enjoy.
Debut album Home Address For Civil War is due out August 13th via Bar/None Records.
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As much as I can get carried away by the world of power pop at times, there’s always been a soft spot in my heart for great songwriters; C. Matheny is one such writer, writing much like John Darnielle of Mountain Goats. His group, Emperor X, is riding a high note after the release of Western Teleport last year, and will probably continue on a high note as Bar None Records are re-releasing their old albums for the masses. I think once you give a good listen to this track from Central Hug/Freindarmy/Fractaldunes (2005), you’ll be just as excited as I am that we’ll all have a chance to get our hands on these great old songs from Matheny and company.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/01-Raytracer.mp3]
Download:Emperor X – Raytracer [MP3]