Just Another Hit from Girls Names

Personally, I couldn’t be more excited about new music from Girls Names.  For one, the band’s drummer Neil has won me over with his Sea Pinks project, but I like the darkened underbelly hinted at with Girls Names.  Apparently after releasing Dead to Me, the band began to rework their sound, which is completely acceptable, but none the less important to the group’s developing sound.  This tune is a good four minutes shorter than their previous leaked single, but I think you’re going to like the feel of the tune.  It’s got a wayward jangle, but there’s a wafting quality created by the guitars and the vocals that carries the mood of the ]track. If you dig what you’re hearing (and you should!) then you can pick up their new effort, The New Life, on February 26th from Slumberland Records.

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New Tune from Girls Names

I’ve been in love with Girls Names since their inception, but even more so now that their drummer Neil is battling for album of the year with his latest effort as Sea Pinks.  That point aside, the group’s got a great new single they’ve throw out, illustrating the bold new steps they’re taking in working towards the completion of their upcoming record. There’s still an element of lurking darkness in their sound, but the music seems to have drifted into a broader spectrum that I think shows the group really pushing themselves to find a new playground (musically speaking).  I love the ringing guitar that jumps in just after the 4 minute mark.

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Sea Pinks – Freak Waves

Rating: ★★★★½

My love for Sea Pinks originally began when I discovered that the drummer of Girls Names, Neil, had started the group. My thoughts were that it would have the same dark jangle rock sound, and I guess the first LP, Dead Seas, does have a bit of that.  But, it didn’t prepare me for the incredible Freak Waves album that I cannot stop playing no matter where I go.

“Lake Superior” beings Freak Waves off with a nice jangling bounce, even including a bit of monosyllabic doo wop moments in the background.  It’s catchy, and it definitely sets the tone for the rest of the album.  That attitude is stepped up almost immediately with “A Pattern Recognition.” The vocals begin in step with the songs underlying groove, with a light guitar wavering in the background.  My highlight though is the vocal delivery during the chorus, just changing the heavier verse into a hint of warming pop as guitars pick up and dance away. It’s perfectly juxtaposed to the psych-pop elements of “False Spring,” which sounds like one of the long-lost Fresh & Onlys tunes.

Then you’re introduced to my favorite moments on this latest Sea Pinks release. It all begins with the refreshing “You’re Not Happy,” which is a song that lyrically I think a lot of us can relate to, not being able to completely make a loved one happy. I’m just in love with how the vocals are delivered in contrast to the heavy drum beat in the background.  I’ve probably played this track 40 times in the last two days. Then it moves into the slowly unfolding “An Act of Treason;” the song begins rather slowly with a twinkling guitar line off in the distance, yet its beauty is truly reached when the chorus of “I can make you cry” is repeated.  There’s something about the change in the vocal inflection that is so affecting and addictive that I can’t get it out of my head, nor do I want to do so. 

Even though the middle of the record has the meat and potatoes of pop brilliance, I can’t sit here and pretend like every song isn’t worthy of your attention.  For instance, I’m completely infatuated with “(Out of) The Capital,” which seems to be a reflective look at one’s life moving forward and away from their roots.  The refrain “I work out of the capital” has been playing in my mind all day long.  The song’s bounce is noteworthy too, but I think once you listen to this track you’ll see that its efforts speak for itself.

Sea Pinks might not be one of the many band’s on many people’s list, at least not yet in the United States, and that’s quite a shame.  I haven’t had this much fun listening to a record through and through in a long time, making this review easy to write about.  Freak Waves isn’t an ordinary record, and those of you looking for something to appease your jangling pop fix might find this one of the best albums to come your way this year. You know what, who cares about genres, this might just be one of the best things I’ve heard.


Download: Sea Pinks – A Pattern Recognition [MP3]

Freak Waves is out now on CF Records.

Great Pop Jangling from Sea Pinks

Last year we talked about our adoration for Sea Pinks and their record Dead Seas, which you need to get if you haven’t.  But, I’m here to talk about a new track, sort of; this song, along with several others will comprise The Flip Side cassette being released by the Belfast group next week; it’s basically a collection of B-Sides and demos since the band’s incarnation. Every time I listen to this song, I can’t help but wonder why on Earth it didn’t make a proper album? I mean, it’s got the bounce, a nice cool vocal chorus, and everything else one needs to make a stellar hit! Just think, if these are the sort of tracks the group bangs out as B-Sides, you know something great is about to happen.


Download:Sea Pinks – Staycation [MP3]

New Single from Girls Names

Earlier this year I raved about Girls Names full length, Dead to Me, so when they announced the release of a new single on Slumberland Records, I scrambled to listen to it.  It’s exactly what I expect coming from this group, although the guitar lines seem really clean–that’s a positive.  Deep vocals floating through it all and steady drumming build an excellent foundation for this little jam.  Between this and Sea Pinks (the drummer’s project) it seems like Belfast is under control of these lads; surely we’ll all benefit from this!


Download: Girls Names – Black Saturday [MP3]

New Music From Sea Pinks

Ah yes, that old familiar new band smell is in the air today with a new tune called “Fountain Tesserae” from UK outfit Sea Pinks.  The new project is fronted by a familiar face in the form of Neil Brogan who spends most of his musical time in indie hit makers Girls Names.  Neil’s new project has a debut LP Dead Seas ready for release physically and digitially on September 6th via CF/Records.

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Download: Sea Pinks – Fountain Tesserae [MP3]

FT5: Albums of the Year…so far

Let’s face it, every site is doing it, and perhaps we’re a little late on the run in, but technically, we just got to the midway point of the year, so I was holding off until the exact date–I don’t want to get ahead of myself.  So, in all honesty, this is going to be sort of a list of my 2011 albums of the year up to now, but I reserve the right to drastically change my opinion on any, if not all, of these choices. Come on, it’s just now July, so I’ve still got six months to hammer things out in a fully functional list.  Please remember, this is one man’s opinion, not the site as a whole, nor do we disagree with your opinions, unless you like that new Beyonce.

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Seapony – Go With Me

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Jen Weidl and her posse in Seapony definitely have something wonderful going on in their debut for Hardly Art, Go With Me.  After lots of critical acclaim on the net, it would be easy to throw this band aside as just another band making bedroom pop, which they do for the most part.  But, if you can discard similarities to various other bands, you’ll find that lay in wait, waiting to carry you off.

“Dreaming” begins the entire affair with what is probably the most energetic you’ll find the band, and at times, the guitars emulate Mike Sniper and Blank Dogs.  Those pounding drums, twanging guitars, well, they’re all nice and clean, but what will really get you is the pop sensation.  You can forget about comparisons, as Weidl’s voice definitely gives a new spin on things here.

There are easily a lot of tracks on this record that one might identify as ripping off various other acts, or at least being easily influenced, but a special song is a special song, regardless of whether it was made by Seapony or various other bands out there.  “Into the Sea” is one such track, with guitars maneuvering along the sunny coastal region, and the hazy Jen warmly singing atop it all. In all honesty, Weidl is the savior of Go With Me.  She does it again on “Go Away,” which sort of sounds like a cross between Best Coast and Girls Names, but her girl-group approach to vocal delivery, not to mention the nod to such things with her lyrics, makes tracks standout beyond the masses.

There’s tons of comparisons that can be made all over the place when listening to Go With Me.  You might find a Best Coast reference here, or even a Wild Nothing allusion, but what probably sticks out the most is how similar Seapony comes to sounding like a happier version of Blank Dogs.  The recording of the angular guitars in songs like “Always” or “Where We Go” almost plays like a Sniper remix, but perhaps that’s why it’s so easy to dig this record.  Everything sounds familiar, and yet it doesn’t sound familiar at all. Lyrics aren’t typically this adorably put together, and girls usually don’t work well, at least not as of yet/late, in this genre.

Even with all these noticeable nods to the indie landscape of today laced across this album, I’ve found myself spinning it again and again.  Part of me has a soft spot for any music of the ilk, part of me finds some odd connection between Camera Obscura and bedroom pop of the now.  It’s precisely the kind of record you can listen to while swinging your significant other around the living room instead of hitting up the bars. For that alone, Seapony and Go With Me deserve a nice little spot in your collection, not to mention the fact that you can include any number of tracks all across your summer mixes.


Download: Seapony – Blue Star [MP3]

Girls Names – Dead to Me

Rating: ★★★★☆

While it may be extremely easy to write about Girls Names, based on the fact that they fit right into the musical landscape as it currently stands, it’s almost impossible to get their latest effort out of your head. Being released by Slumberland, Dead to Me displays a band that’s sharpened their knives, ready to go to work crafting infectious pop you can bounce about to while working on pretty much anything that comes your way.

One of the great things about Dead to Me is that you aren’t likely to get bogged down listening to one particular track over and over again, as only two songs go beyond the 3 minute mark.  “Lawrence” begins it all with that jagged club dance guitar, but the drums themselves sound as if you’re tapping your toes, not like your normal snare work. And that just takes you right along to another track that gives you a little bit of pep in the step, though “I Could Die” has a much more gritty guitar that hammers throughout those hypnotic melodies.  Strikingly, the guitar, at times, has a sunny disposition, which is odd considering the group hails from Belfast, not Cali, but you’ll be glad they’re utilizing such style.

“No More Words” takes a softer approach to the craft of Girls Names, as Neil Brogan’s vocals warmly float over the entire track.  It’s not like you’ll find too much different here, but Brogan manages to off-set the pep by slowly drawing out his vocals, which might remind listeners of early work by Tim Cohen. Still, it’s all done in short time, so you’re sort of taking at shot in the dark at finding various textures, that is until you get to the longest track on Dead to Me, “I Lose.”  There’s a cloudy coat that barely drapes itself over this song, and the guitar’s are furiously pumping through the track, and you can tell that this isn’t just your ordinary stab at rehashing things that have come before the band.  It’s at this point, while noticing the differences, that you can clearly say you see the Girls Names as a fully functioning entity.

There’s likely to be comparisons to band’s like Crystal Stilts, especially after listening to the record’s single “Seance on a Wet Afternoon.”  There’s a darkness to the track, and one that likely permeates from the title Dead to Me, but perhaps it’s not fair to lump the band in with anyone else.  Brogan clearly has similarities to other dark crooners of the pop cannon, but his performance here makes it’s own mark, often feeling a bit unsteady, but in a heartening manner.  Surely by this point, if you’ve made it through all ten tracks as you should have, then you’ll recognize that it’s simply a joy to involve yourself with Girls Names.  They’ve worked hard to tighten up the unit, flesh out the sound, and it pays off huge dividends for both the band and listeners alike.


Download: Girls Names – Seance on a Wet Afternoon [MP3]

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