Last Week’s Jams (4.8 – 4.12)

Apparently it’s that time of year when I just can’t help myself; I’m going full-time it seems, as we ran 28 brand new tracks this last week, plus some nods to albums we liked that dropped on Friday. We got some fresh premiere activity from the Wesleys and Max Blansjaar, then there were some recent favorites dropping in new stuff like Lightheaded, Neutrals and Autocamper. Me personally, I loved the new Gregor single, and that new CBVB plays into similar territory. This collection of songs, like my own catalog, is pretty random, though we always tend to aim for left of the left of the dial. Stream on.

Camera Obscura Shares Liberty Print Video

Long ago, when a friend first suggested listening to Camera Obscura, I remember that it was all about Tracyanne Campbell’s voice; it felt steadfast in solitude, yet charming in its emotional power. When I listen to their latest single, “Liberty Print,” I can still feel the majesty in Campbell’s vocal performance, though sonically, you can hear the band moving in new directions; even Tracyanne comments that “it’s the song most unlike anything we’ve one before.” That charming openness of the song, leaving drifting guitar notes atop sampled synth notes is perfect, leaving the song with tons of space to be filled…and they do, adding in snappy drum work that gives the song a bit of gallop. Lyrically, the song manages to detail Campbell’s grief (after the passing of her brother) from within the context of a buoyant pop song; this the charming craft of a songwriter few can beat. Look to the East, Look to the West is out on May 3rd via Merge.

Last Week’s Jams (3.4 – 3.8)

Last week was crazy on our end, running around trying to get all the cool songs out, not to mention trying to cover some of the SXSW stuff we’d promise to get out from artists like Bodega and Smut. Ran a few solid premieres too, so be sure to focus on Magana and House of Heaven. You’ll also find new Lunchbox, Mirrorball, Good Looks and many more. Plus, Fantastic Purple Spots dropped a video HERE, so it gave us another chance to remind you of their gifts! Stream al the hits from last week below!

Camera Obscura Share We’re Going to Make It in a Man’s World

There’s so much new music out of late that it’s incredibly impossible to keep up with it all, unless that new music is coming from Camera Obscura, who I adore. After a long hiatus, the band are back with a new LP on the horizon, and this new single takes their fascination with country-tinged pop and fuses it with their classic pop sensibility. Through the repeat of the song’s title, the melody is built and layered, almost drilling the track right into your brain. You’ll also find some little playful interludes that see them tinkering with their songwriting; I love that they are still finding their way while adhering to some of their old pop feels. Look to the East, Look to the West will be out May 3rd via Merge Records.

Camera Obscura Return! New Album + New Single

How on Earth have we reached 10 years without a Camera Obscura record? This was the news that I wasn’t expecting, though now that I’ve sat with “Big Love” for a minute, I’m definitely celebrating. There’s an immediacy in the tune’s hook, Tracyanne Campbell’s voice is so powerful and distinctive, that you can’t pull away, even as you notice the band have begun to shift the sound a bit. Press info reports that the group have peeled back a bit of the horns and strings, turning towards organs, keys and a bit of swing to boot. One of my favorite things about this tune is that you can hear the shift in a new direction, though the move doesn’t seem outlandish, as the central style of songwriting is totally lurking beneath that slide guitar. Really excited to hear what’s in store on Look to the East, Look to the West, out May 3rd via Merge Records.

New Public Service Broadcasting ft. Tracyanne Campbell

We’re big fans of Public Service Broadcasting, but that adoration went up a step when the band premiered this new single featuring Tracyanne Campbell from Camera Obscura. This song comes from their forthcoming release, which is still shrouded in mystery, though this song features little vocal samples and a calming Tracyanne floating her melody atop it all. Feels like a really great way to start off a Friday. We’ll keep you up to date as more news of their new LP comes our way.

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Brand New Tunes from The Crystal Furs

crystalfursNot too long ago we were introduced to the indiepoppers, The Crystal Furs, hailing from a few miles North of us in Ft. Worth. Well, they just upped two brand new tracks that I think you’re going to love…at least I do. I love “Miss Hughes” in particular, blending aspects of Camera Obscura whilst putting on a janglier touch with the guitars. It’s a wonderful way for you to start off you Monday morning. Can’t wait to see these guys finally come to Austin. Happy Monday folks.

Dreamy R&B from Sunbathe

sunbatheLooks like Lefse Records is getting into the tape business, and to introduce Golden Brown to the world, they’re releasing a compilation titled Perfectly Toasted Vol. 1. One of the track’s that stood out to me immediately was this new one from Sunbathe. It’s this dream-pop piece nodding to classic R&B sounds, sort of like a hazier bit of Camera Obscura, and I can’t stop spinning this song, even though I’m staring at a delugefrom the heavens outside my window. The compilation sees a release on June 17th…and this is a definite reason to check it out.

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Beautiful Pop from Eerie Wanda

eerieEerie Wanda hadn’t really come up on my radar until I started thumbing through the SXSW listings, but I’m glad to have found the act, moving them high upon my list of bands I want to catch. They’ll be releasing their new album, Hum, on Beyond Beyond is Beyond this week, and pop fans will clamor to get their hands on it. At moments, the band recalls Camera Obscura, but there’s also a darker edge in the guitar chords, which creates a different sound that’s not really being utilized by any other acts. Spend some time with this track, and grab the album when it comes out tomorrow.

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Camera Obscura – Desire Lines

desireRating: ★★★½☆

Everybody loves Glasgow. Well, everyone should love Glasgow because that city puts out more great indie rock bands than most and Camera Obscura is no exception to that, as they’ve returned for their fifth studio album, Desire Lines.

The introductory song to this album is reminiscent of that bit of music that accompanies the production company/studio’s logo before a great movie begins. A mixture of some brief string arrangements, “Intro” gives out a slightly different vibe then you are used to with our Glaswegian Indie Pop power group. Though the group has never lacked maturity, this thirty-second opening lets you know that they are back and with a new take on their original sound that they first presented twelve years ago on Biggest Bluest Hi Fi and even vastly different than on My Maudlin Career, their most recent studio release.

So what’s changed you may ask? What has this varsity band done differently this time around to make their music stand out to new fans and still appeal to old? For the most part, not too much; you still have subtly confident front woman Tracyanne Campbell spinning tales of love and loss from behind the mic. Her vocals are ever the perfect balance of present and yet not overwhelming and missing a lot of the reverb that was present on their last album. In addition to the clarity in vocals, the reverb seems to be also missing from the rest of the elements of Camera Obscura’s indie pop to reveal a more straightforward rock approach. Such is apparent on single “Do It Again,” in which you have a fun little bouncy number complete with buzzing guitar and hyper percussion carrying you through. Another snappy number that will welcome you nicely to Desire Lines and make you glad you pressed play is “Troublemaker,” which jumps out for its bouncy tempo and catchy lyrics.

Really, there are a lot of little gems to be found on Desire Lines, but on the whole, the album rings a little flat in reference to the other albums in Camera Obscura’s long list of full lengths works. Perhaps it is a slower burner and this new collection of songs will grow to become favorites, but this new work doesn’t really wow you upon first listen or even after a few listens. Desire Lines is good, but not as grand as you’ve come to expect from such a band.

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