One of my favorite things in the last few years, at least so far as the progression of musical trends, is the move to craft pop music that sort of survives around the narrow tropes we’ve concocted, like in this new tune from Steve Buscemi’s Dreamy Eyes. Sure, there’s a definite pop sensibility, particularly in the way the guitar lines jangle and sparkle. But, there’s a heaviness to this tune, one that seems to exist outside our expectations of what pop music is. Part of that comes in the vocals, part of it comes in the descending of the chorus; it’s not uplifting, and yet it is. There’s a bright nature to the brooding, giving you promise through the shadows. Just happy this tune’s out there. You can find it on the band’s new Sweetie LP, which drops on February 14th via Rama Lama Records.
As I sit here writing, I think I constantly search for music I can take back to my mom and dad, something that represents the music I love. I think the blend of nostalgic songwriting and the penchant for pop that Bill Pritchard is offering up would be just the perfect musical conversation starter. Natural harmonies hang in the way Pritchard delivers his words, and the song seems to have this casual feel that doesn’t overwhelm listeners, like my aged parents. There’s just something so purposeful and everlasting in Bill’s work, and I hope that Midland Lullabies continues to bring him a bit more popularity; it’s being released March 8th via Tapete Records.
If you’re looking for something that’s washed in glittery guitar lines and a coat of smoky vocals, then perhaps you should spend your day with Waves of the Echo. While the track might seem rather soft in its opening moments (and other moments throughout) there’s a definite emphatic punch that surfs in and out during the chorus. There’s something anthemic lurking beneath the dreamier notes here, which will have fans of pure pop music swooning all over the place. The Finnish act will be releasing their debut Fading Daylight, Bright Nights this June, so stay tuned to these pages.
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Puppy are a trio from London that make grunge/metal(ish) tunes. That’s pretty much all that is known about them thusfar, so I’m going to let the song do the talking. What I really like about this track is that the guitars are screaming heavy metal while the vocals are light and airy; something you’d expect from dream/twee pop, creating a balance that’s hard not to enjoy. “Forever” blends genre in a seamless fashion, and makes me look forward to what they have in store for the future. Forget the weird name and press play: rock on Puppy.
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When you’re given the personal stamp of approval from Kevin Barnes that becomes a pretty big deal, but it’s how one lives up to those expectations that really cements a group’s legacy. Throughout the duration of Forever, you can hear what Barnes saw in Painted Palms; the record is brimming with melodies and hooks, making for a strong debut.
“Too High” opens up Forever, with this pulsating electronic beat before the playful vocals jump into the fold. It’s a track that rests during the verses, then bursts forth exuberantly during the chorus. It’s a pretty tried and true formula, and one that surely will find toes tapping and heads bobbing. But, the record doesn’t jump too far off this beaten path for the first few tracks, though some of the pacing is alternated around the formula. However, “Forever” definitely ups the ante from the moment you press play. It’s got this weird vibe to it, relating to the realm between Of Montreal and early MGMT; you know you all love that.
For my ears, “Soft Hammer” is where I see Painted Palms excelling. The track features one of the clearest vocal performances on the album, but it’s the structural building of the song that’s really compelling. There’s more of a folk approach to begin the tune, yet it builds this increased tension for a time by piling an electronic instrumental wash atop it all, then reverting to where it all begin. By controlling the melody throughout, and holding onto it until the end, I realized just how much of a grasp the duo has on perfecting harmonies; this is evidenced through the entirety of the effort.
While I felt like some of the songs suffered by the production, at least in regards to the sound of the vocals, there’s definitely more than a number of hits that are going to be pleasing for the ears. You can take some of the previously mentioned tracks or you could just jump in at “Spinning Signs,” which employs a pulsating bounce that drives the track home for the listener. Or download “Empty Gun” and you’ll be rewarded again with gratuitous hooks and sugary melodies that have made the band such a staple in the Interwebs.
My experience with Forever ended up being varied. There’s definitely a bunch of tracks I’ll be playing over and over again for some time, but there were also some disposable songs that might have molded my opinion of the album early on during my listening. One thing’s for sure though, Painted Palms aren’t going anywhere, and this record is the perfect place to start making a name all on their own.
San Francisco based pop hit maker Painted Palms is a group that has built quite a bit of positive praise around these parts over the last year or so. The unique blend of synth/electronica with powerful pop overtones creates this delicious style reminiscent of pop music from the late 60s, experimental era. This track “Forever” brings us even more of that great sound that I mention. Hellava tune.
Once again, new album Forever will be out January 14th via Polyvinyl Records.
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Here’s a great new track called “Spinning Signs” from one of our more recent discoveries Painted Palms. This song is just downright fun to listen to. It’s poppy, it has a sort of doo wop vibe, and it seems to get more enjoyable with each spin. Hope you enjoy on your spooky evening. Say wha?
On January 14th you can pick up new album, Forever, on Polyvinyl.
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I’ve really been digging this new track “Flesh & Bone” from Stockholm based experimental punk group Holograms since it dropped yesterday. It makes me think of what might happen if you mixed the hardcore tendencies of a band like Iceage with the more atmospheric qualities of a band like We Were Promised Jetpacks. If that’s a terrible comparison, check it out for yourself and make your own description.
New album, Forever, will hit the streets on September 3rd via Captured Tracks.
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