If Laura Kovic wanted to get our attention with her band line-up, it doesn’t hurt that she’s fleshed out the Fortitude Valley line-up with members of Martha and Night Flowers. It also bodes well that the band just keep releasing these pop rock jams that just get stuck up inside your head! The latest singles is almost as much fun to watch as it is to listen to, letting these grunge-y pop rock riffs rip and swirl all over the place as Kovic bounces her voice in and out of the song’s grooves. The video matches up with the song perfectly, giving the sense that the band are not only enjoying the songwriting, but each other as well, which is always a bonus for a fan. Fika Recordings will release the debut self-titled LP in October of this year!
If you’re in need of your early morning pop dosage, well, be sure to check out the latest Wanna Go Dancin (So Far Away) EP from Vermont’s The Smittens. The EP opens with a brand new tune commissioned by Burlington City Arts for their Bubblegum Pop Exhibition; the tune’s got tons of vocal layering to craft an undeniable hook that will have you clapping your hands spiritedly. “Year of Happiness” is a lost tune that was recorded during the band’s 2014 sessions for Love Record Breaker, but somehow didn’t make the cut. There’s a few remixes too, and another unheard tune from the band’s early days, and in the end, all the tunes are going to get your day going right. So start here. Courtesy of Fika Recordings.
I’ve really enjoyed all the work from Randolph’s Leap leading up to their new album, Spirit Level. But, having had a bit of time to absorb this new one, I have no qualms saying its my favorite of the bunch. It reminds of the old Austin band Hollywood Gossip; just imagine Belle and Sebastian rushing through a tune just to cram it in under 3 minutes. I love that they don’t stray away from arrangements here with the horns, even though it definitely has the feel of more of a rock tune. This new LP is dropping on February 26th via Fika Recordings.
Definitely need our spirits lifted after yesterday’s American shitshow, so good thing there’s this new Randolph’s Leap hanging out there. It immediately jumps in with this joyous gang chorus, raising joy from the get-go. Once the song moves forward into the verses, it sort of takes on that chamber pop feel, bursting forth with horns and various instrumental textures. I won’t deny how much I love the rise and fall of the chorus here, like a roller coaster with a huge lollipop waiting for you at the end. Their new album Spirit Level will be out courtesy of Fika Recordings on February 26th.
We return to Rock n’ Recipes features with one of my absolute favorite musicians, Emma Kupa. I first stated my fandom with Standard Fare, but she’s gone on to her current projects Mammoth Penguins, Hayman Kupa Band…and, this month she’ll release her new solo LP. We caught up with her via email to chat about her songwriting process, the new LP, and she shares her go recipe for Vegan Banana Pancakes! It Will Come Easier is out Friday via Palo Santo Records and Fika Recordings.
If you’ve been following Emma Kupa since Standard Fare hung things up, then chances are you’ve likely heard live versions of “Nawlins.” But, with It Will Come Easier not too far away from the official release date, we finally get a lovely recorded version. I’ve listened to previews of this record quite a bit, and the strumming style and various accompaniment make this tune one of the immediate standouts, particularly when backed up against the stunning “No Easy Way Out.” That initial strum caught me instantly, filled with the accent of shakers and banjo; be weary of the chorus, as once those backing vocals get their hooks in you, you’re not getting away! Honestly, I think the soloing guitar is a nice touch; it kind of adds that light twist that shows a willingness to maybe throw something else in the genre’s mix. The LP drops September 18th via Fika Recordings/Palo Santo Records.
The broad swathe of sound that Steven Adams and the French Drops are releasing has me penciling in the release of Keep It Light as an endearing record destined to be played until I need another copy. We’ve had an upbeat indiepop number, a grittier folk tune, and now we have this folk pop gem. From the bending guitar in the distance to the quiet vocal accompaniment, it seems Steven Adams is breaking out all the stops here; there’s this brilliant moment just before the 1.5 minute mark (also 2.5) that I absolutely love, if you’re looking for my favorite 10 seconds. Keep It Light will be out on August 21st via Fika Recordings.
Having already covered the first single from the forthcoming Steven Adams & the French Drops LP, you better believe I’m circling right back around with the latest single, particularly as this one feels super pertinent right now. Maybe it’s just me, but the song title alone speaks to my last few months on the Internet, though not necessarily with my immediate family. Musically, Adams is still pulling out the steady folk-tinged power pop that works like a snake charmer on my ears; you can’t go wrong adding a subtle piano line anywhere in a tune. Keep It Light is out via Fika Recordings on August 21st.
Make no mistake about it…Emma Kupa is one of my absolute favorite songwriters; I loved Standard Fare; I love Hayman Kupa Band and Mammoth Penguins (that MP LP last year is still great!). So, when she announced her new solo effort, It Will Come Easier, I nearly knocked over my chair to get a listen. It’s interesting to hear this track, as it seems to draw on bits and pieces of her musical career, from the folkier moments with the banjo to that ripping guitar line you can hear in the distance…but of course, its always about that distinctively powerful voice. It’s hard to not see this song’s lyrics through the lens of the last few weeks, however, as the protagonist seems fed up with facing the same dilemma time and time again…so even our art is starting to call us out. A beautiful tune, and one we’ll look forward to picking up when It Will Come Easier drops via Palo Santo Records and Fika Recordings this Fall!
There’s a brand of bouncing indie folk with a twist of pop that I’m quite partial too, and it seems like Fika Recordings always has their finger on the style, like Steven Adams and the French Drops. It’s the latest project for Adams, who led the Broken Family Band throughout the 00s, and man if this song’s not a charmer. I mean, you can’t ignore the natural energy swinging through, playing atop that bouncing piano and the joyous choruses involving Adams’ own children backing him up. The video features a bunch of great friends all filming themselves celebrating the nap during quarantine, with several other Fika labelmates like Darren Hayman. This song appears on Keep It Light, which will drop in August!