Stream III from Butcher the Bar

Joel Nicholson’s been working as Butcher the Bar for some time, and in that period, he’s gone from solo to full band and probably back again…but for III, we get the full band pop bombast that’s always lived within the confines of Nicholson’s songwriting. There are straight upbeat pop numbers, and some more pensive tunes here, so just stream it below. You can grab the LP directly from Bobo Integral, and if you’re so inclined, you can read my thoughts about each song below.

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New Freak Genes LP Drops

I love listening to Freak Genes, the hottest UK act you might not have heard about before; it’s made up of equal parts Red Cords/Proto Idiot members, with final mastering touches done by everyone’s hero, Mikey Young. III is the group’s third outing, and they’ve got plans to keep things interesting, throwing in heavy synth focus this round to switch the mood. Every song definitely has its own vibe, from starting off sounding like Jay Reatard to walking down the line of experimental synth pop a la Liars; it’s scattered but interestingly so, encouraging you to revisit time and time again. If you’re into it, III is available via Drunken Sailor Records.

Pop Balladry from Suntrodden

I’m not afraid to cover more Suntrodden tunes, especially when he’s slightly toying with his sound, such as he does on this new ballad. While previous tracks have been filled with harmonies and careful guitar work, this song roams atop a sullen piano backbone. Then on the song’s latter half the guitar is slightly more pronounced, percussive elements are layered and then there’s the airy voice of Erik Stephansson winning in the end! Pretty sure III is going to be another release welcomed by my ears…look for it on June 30th.

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Suntrodden Is Back with a New EP

I raved and raved about Suntrodden last year, and now we return with the latest piece from his final work in his 3-EP series, III. As usual Erik’s tossing a gentle vocal atop really carefully crafted pop styles; this is what always draws me into his songwriting. But, I really like the attention given to the recording, with various textures of guitar added atop one another to really add depth to the song…not to mention a little bit of keys hanging about too. The latest edition in the series will drop on June 30th, so you can bet you’ll hear more from us as the release date nears.

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Chief Ghoul Does It For Me

ghoulThere’s something in the simplicity of singer-songwriters that often make it’s difficult to really immerse yourself in the music, at least for my ears.  But, occasionally you lock into something that seems really special, and you hold onto it…which is the case with Chief Ghoul.  I mean, listening to this song, the lyrics seemingly get repetitive, but the sound of the guitar and the passion in the voice just drags me in.  Must have played this song nearly a dozen times in the last thirty minutes. His newest album, III, should be hitting very soon, so keep an eye out.

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Playful Surf from Peach Kelli Pop

pkpFriday’s should be all about fun, especially when, like me, you’re about to go on a nice little Spring Break.  So, with that in mind, why not prep for it with some great feel-good tunes, like the latest single from Peach Kelli Pop. It’s playful through and through, which has always been the vibe from the act, in my mind anyways.  You get a little bit of surf, little garage and a helluva good time.  I expect nothing less from the forthcoming album from the band, III; it’s getting a Burger Records release on April 21st.

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Country Spook from Chief Ghoul

ghoolUntil I get my face kicked in by some great rock n’ roll, I think I’m going to get stuck in this whole folk-inspired stomp on the soul of sad bastard genre.  Chief Ghoul is one such songwriter, creating this deep throated country tune.  I’m sort of obsessed with him right now; he’s got this great gift in storytelling, but there’s also a huge sound coming through your speakers.  That’s impressive seeing as there’s little more than an electric guitar and some distant percussive touches. Look for his album III this Spring in your local shops.

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Show Preview: Crystal Castles @ Austin Music Hall (4.21)

Crystal Castles

Date Sunday, April 21st
Location Austin Music Hall
Doors 7:00 PM
Tickets $30 from Frontgate

I’ve been really excited about this show since its announcement.  Not only have I really appreciated the growth of Crystal Castles that was is illustrated by their latest, III, but their live show at ACL was definitely in my personal favorites this year.  They blend noise, electronica, fog and lights; it’s simply compelling.  Opening up the night is Doldrums, who aren’t too shabby either.  We’ve been fortunate enough to catch them opening for several acts over the last year or so, and I can assure you that it’s worth your time to show up early.  It might be pricy, but you’re going to get your money’s worth!


Download:Crystal Castles – Plague [MP3]

Special Pop Track from W-H-I-T-E

WhiteI’ve got some work to do.  I had no idea who W-H-I-T-E was up until I received the email that contained this incredible tune.  If you’re not in the know either, it’s the project of Cory Hanson, an LA musician who seems to have created the perfect blend of pop music.  There’s a heavy coat that hangs over this entire track, but the vocals are so soft and serene that you find yourself playing the song over and over again.  This is what the new direction of electronic music sounds like to me, or it should anyways.  He’ll be releasing his third album, aptly titled III, on May 28th via Aagoo Records, so be sure to pick this one up.


Download: W-H-I-T-E – I Wasn’t Afraid [MP3]

Eat Skull – III

eat-skull-IIIRating: ★★★★☆

I’m late to the party on this one, having only recognized Eat Skull by name, rather than by their previous efforts.  That being said, III seems like a good place to start for me, as it’s already made me a champion of the work the band are creating.  If, like me, you’re new to the band, then come along as I take you on my first journey with the band, which has already been an exceptional trip.

“Space Academy” immediately had me sold on III.  It’s got a fuzzy guitar riff that opens up the album, followed by some chanted vocals that dictate to us exactly “how it’s going to be.”  My ears recalled bits of a Brit-pop stomper, albeit an extremely louder/scuzzier version.  Even as the song trails off into an instrumental guitar dabbling, I still found myself enthralled. “Dead Horses” soon follows, and it doesn’t do anything to dissuade my adoration.  For one, the band references taxidermy, my favorite pastime, on multiple occasions, but it’s also got this rolling pop-centric guitar line that lives in the middle of the track, which oddly works in harmony with the discordant accompaniment.  I’m psyched to watch these “dead horses decompose with taxidermy eyes.”

Eat Skull do decide to turn things into a different direction on the third track, “How Do I Know When to Say Goodnight,” which seems like a blend of glitch-pop and their ramshackle folk influences.  There’s an other-worldly chanting going on in the background that at times can be a tad grating, but otherwise, the experimentation of the group opens your ears to some incredible pop moments. I think the group’s dallying between genres comes to fruition, however, on the most inconspicuous of songs. There’s a heavy coat of bass fuzz atop light guitar playing, yet the vocals have this certain clarity that isn’t present on all the other songs within III.  You’ve got to have patience on this number, and I appreciate that, leaving me with my own personal haunting. Another gem you’ll find lurking in the musical madness is “They Burned You.” This jam has its own ghoul, which comes in the way of a looped vocal circling through the foreground and the background.  For me, my appreciation comes from the strumming guitar work and the rising and falling of the vocals.  It starts off your final leg of the journey that will take you through the joyous “Amnesty Box” and the more exploratory pop of “Catch Em Before They Vanish.”

It’s easy to admit that Eat Skull might not be for everyone’s enjoyment.  There’s certain elements that I can see as being inaccessible, especially if you’re one to quickly push through your musical collection.  But, if you’ve got the patience for listening, then find yourself peeling back the layers of III; it’ll take you to places you might not go, musically speaking, for the rest of the year, making this a memorable listen time and time again.




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