Rider might be a new name on your radar, as it is mine, but the project is helmed by Frode Stromstad of I Was a King. The Norwegian project also includes Honey Radar‘s Jason Henn on drums, which should further our interest on this side of the pond. This project definitely pulls in Frode’s familiarity with little nuggets of pop, though admittedly, this feels a bit grittier, in the best way possible. “Deep Rivers” has some faint GBV references, though Stromstad’s voice is too kind, offering more of a melodic feel. I think the easiest to access for folks will be “Smell the Floor,” built on huge riffs disguised beneath layers of fuzz, though rest assured there’s melodic treasure lurking beneath this song’s surface. Just imagine if Comet Gain were a power pop band; then you’ll understand Rider. Stream the whole EP below!
Everyone knows how much I adore I Was a King, so when they share another single, you better believe I’m going to have it up here on the site. This is one of the shorter numbers on their new effort, Slow Century, hitting you with the immediacy of their warm melodies. One of my favorite things is the way the vocals combine to harmonize in this really beautiful way as the song bounds forward; those harmonies rising and falling during lines like “on your driveway” or “your voice so faint,” bring a smile to my face as I listen again and again. They’ll release their new album on March 8th, just a month away!
I’ve been writing about how much I enjoy the power pop of I Was a King for quite some time; it seems that’s about as long as TFC’s Norman Blake has been a fan, as well. Now, the band has teamed up with Norm (producer) to bring you a powerhouse of an album…and below you can stream the first single. It’s absolutely everything you’d want, with huge churning guitar chords ringing out while the band all share in vocal roles that bring you closer to the warmth of the fire. There’s a lot of power-pop out there, but I feel like no one’s doing it quite on the level as this bunch; if this is the last new song you hear before heading into the weekend, your life will be better for it. Look for Slow Century to drop in March of this year!
If anything, I’m a pretty loyal listener, but being a fan of I Was a King has always been easy. They craft this beautiful mixture of heavy-ish indie rock and power-pop, and their sound seems ever evolving. This track relies more on the indie rock side of things, filled by crashing cymbals and distorted guitars grumbling in the distance. But, the smooth melody of the vocals cuts right through the noise, balancing the track in the most perfect manner. They even include some extra flourishes, such as the faint echo of children’s voices (at least that’s what it sounds like to me) near the 2 minute mark. This is a band that no longer needs to experiment or dabble in genres…they’re building their own sound, and I couldn’t be happier. The new single drops digitally on Friday with an album to follow later this year.
Just a few weeks ago I dropped the B-Side to the latest single from I Was a King, and now we’re here to tell you to check out the A-Side. While the band’s penchant for power-pop definitely shines through, particularly with Frode’s vocal delivery…there are hints at a slightly heavier vibe. Their beautifully distorted chords seem just a step lower, deeper, bringing in almost a brooding feel to the melodic sound; it sort of matches the opening moments of the “Run.” No one does it better in my opinion than this band, so I’m looking forward to their completed LP, which is said to drop next year!
While Frode was working with the No Ones, I Was a King was momentarily on hold. But, just this last week they’ve rekindled my love affair with this short little blast of power-pop. It comes with the promise of another glorious single (I’m betting), but just pressing play below will have you marveling at what a punch the band can pack in 1.5 minutes. They still know their way around the perfect melodic vocal turn; I couldn’t be more excited to hear more from them going forward. This tune comes out on the new single on November 10th, with promise of a full-length to come later next year!
I’ve long followed I Was a King, and they’ve been fortunate to work with some great folks, but they’ve upped the ante by forming the No Ones, which includes two members of the band, as well as Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey (REM and the Minus 5, respectively). Together, they’ve recorded a beautiful look into the best pop music has to offer. There’s a familiarity to Frode’s voice; it’s been a constant in my listening rotation since I first came upon IWaK. In under two minutes, you’ll find beautifully textured harmonies that hold a natural sparkle, and the only bummer is that it will leave you thirsting for more. You’ll have to wait until June 23rd to hear the whole Sun Station EP on Coastal Town Recordings…with a rumored LP to follow later in the year.
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I’m going to be honest with you; I know very little about Coastal Town. But, I will fill you in on what information I do have…it’s just not much. The voice should be familiar to ATH followers, as it sounds like it’s Frode from I Was a King at the helm. This leads down a crazy path of tales and such…is I Was a King over or is Coastal Town just a new project? I do know from the IWaK blog that they have spent recent time in studio with Joe Pernice and Robyn Hitchcock…could this be part of it? I don’t really know any of it for sure, but I know the songs are incredible…so as I know more, I’ll keep you posted.
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In the last few weeks, some of the bands I thought were gone have come back (It Hugs Back/Crayon Fields), so I went in search of what was up with one of my favorite acts, I Was a King. First, I noticed they had recently released a song they’d worked on with Robyn Hitchcock. It’s a beautiful tune, indicative of the growth they’ve made since their early days as a band. Also, and I’m not sure if the two are related at all, but the band has also announced they’re in the studio with Norman of Teenage Fanclub and Joe Perince…looks like we’ll have a new LP form the band soon. Here’s that lost track that’s just appeared.
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It’s still rather early in the year to start talking about best records of the year and what not, but as we’re midway through 2014, every one is doing it…so why not join in the fun. But, with this in mind, remember that these lists are arbitrary, and if anything, pretty meaningless in the long run; you never know if your thoughts will change in six months…and really, they’re just like, our opinions man. We’ll have two sections…one for national albums and another section of Austin albums released up to this point in 2014. Read more