When Star Tropics quietly called it a day, it left Loren Vanderbilt sitting with a slew of songs and nowhere to take them, so he started up a new project titled Humdrum. Today you get to sample the first single from the forthcoming album, and if you don’t immediately feel yourself swooning, please have someone check on you. Churning jangles are greeted by sharp drum work, leaving plenty of space for Loren to let his voice drift and dance atop the mix. One of the big reasons I love this tune is the clarity in the production, particularly Vanderbilt’s voice; it’s got a very slight hint of atmosphere to it, but for the most part you’re getting this clarity you don’t always get with this genre, illustrating that there’s plenty of melody coming down the line. As of right now, this is just a little sample, but we’ll keep you posted as we find out more about the album and its release!
It’s been almost 15 years since The Smallgoods dropped their last album, but with Lost in the Woods scheduled to hit Friday, we were fortunate enough to snag an early listen to the record for you. When we first brought you news of the band’s forthcoming LP, we said that the band aimed to drop bold pop rock, railing against a stale musical climate! While I love the record’s opener, I think a great way to sample the goods from this album is to jump to track two, “Where’ve You Been All This Time;” I’ll go out on a limb here and say this sounds like Dear Catastrophe Waitress era Belle and Sebastian, swelling with arranged sounds and striking power. But, things aren’t always full of bombast; I’m totally in love with “Satellite;” it feels like the perfect pop song and thus I dare you to find a better one to have on repeat today. Shit, now I can’t stop pressing play on “A Month of Sundays;” this record is filled with twists and turns, each equally rewarding. Just imagine yourself on a scavenger hunt of every great pop sound in the last 30 years, but instead of tripping over 30 years of songs, you’ve got the only 10 tunes you’ll need today! Lost in the Woods drops Friday via Lost and Lonesome.
Having returned with the excellent Cul-de-sac of Love, the Lodger seem to be back in full swing with their songwriting. Last week they released this charming track, a bouncer if you will, jumping right off with a pounding piano and drum stomp. For me, this is something that feels very much like the band are hitting their stride once again, with one foot firmly in the history of Brit pop, and one banging out hook-laden pop as we push forward into the future. Throwing this up, just in case you, like me, missed it a week ago!
We’re working towards the weekend, yea? Well, I love to maybe sort of slink my way into with a sultry bit of pop, like this charming number from German band Roller Derby. It would certainly be hard to listen to Phline Meyer’s voice and not draw similarities to the likes of Alvvays or Camera Obscura. I love how those vocals seem perfectly matched up to the dreamier churn of the vocals that keep creeping through my speakers here. Oh, and you think they don’t know how to be playful? Just wait ’til the song’s latter half when those handclaps come join the fray to keep us all bobbing are heads.
As of right now, the new LP from Sweet Nobody is shaping up to be this really decadent pop album, something you can’t help but listen to on repeat for hours on end. On their latest single, they combine these toe-tapping rhythms matched up with really crystalline guitar jangles, taking you straight into that indiepop territory I adore. But, while you’re likely to hear some pop similarities, I think Joy Deyo’s performance is stunning here; she moves beyond merely mimicry, hitting these notes that you’d expect to hear from a Sharon Van Etten or the like; it gives the whole single a fresh feel to it, keeping the band in our listening orbit. Look for We’re Trying Our Best on September 17th via Daydream Records.
Looks that we have a pop-centric focus this morning, bringing in another great tune from the Umbrellas and their forthcoming LP. This tune reminds me a lot of the band’s label mates, Jeanines, but perhaps that’s mostly revolving around the brevity and the sharp jangles hanging in the thick of the tune. But, where they make things their own is where they take the urgency and stretch it out, adding in this sort of 60s girl-group vocal harmonizing, ending up giving the song a dreamier feel. The rhythm section gives you the immediacy and bounce, but you can sit back and let it wash over you a bit more, calmed almost by the melodic nature. The band release their self-titled debut on August 6th via Slumberland.
The Chairman Dances have had me wrapped around their songwriting fingers for a few years now, and with The Strength of Your Arm on the horizon, it seems only fitting we dig into another tune. I really like the subtle nature of this track; to be fair, it reminds me of a Pains of Being Pure at Heart record if you stripped it completely bare, with the melodic notes shining through. What I’ve really enjoyed listening through this track is the way there’s this omni-present patience; the song seems content to unfold slowly, never really rushing, though still content to charm. This feels like a record I’ve already got marked for a favorite of the year; the Strength of Your Arm is out July 23rd.
A few weeks ago we shared a knockout track from Sweet Nobody, and they’ve turned around to drop another hit from their forthcoming We’re Trying Our Best. Admittedly, in the song’s first 3 seconds, they turn around and offer this sugary pop feel that’s akin to fellow popsters Alvvays. Then you get these subtle little dance guitar cuts, shuffling the mix just beneath the creamy delight of Joy Deyo’s vocals. Digging deeper, the song has a bit of insight into Joy’s struggle with a chronic genetic illness that led her to encourage her partner to find someone new so they wouldn’t have to deal with the struggles and pain. Luckily, it led to nothing, but it ties into the thematic elements coursing through We’re Trying Our Best; sometimes all you have is what you’re giving, and hopefully, those that truly love you come to that realization. Perhaps it’s one of the great things about indiepop, bringing dark narratives to bright music so we can all take part in the joys and sorrows of life. The LP will be available on September 17th via Daydream Records.
Friday I was a little lazy, so I didn’t get this new EP up from Kansas City’s Eggs On Mars, which should definitely have been giving a little shine on the day. My favorite thing about the group is that they’re creating this bouncing indiepop, though its spun with a Midwestern sensibility, which seems to be a geographically overlooked bit of bops. Personally, I love “All That I See,” offering up this really sublime chorus that seems like this masterful mix of Beach Boys and 90s alt radio. These are 7 pop ditties that inevitably turn into little eagworms burrowing deep into your consciousness; it’s the cleanest, sincerest pop you’ll hear today. Brighter Now is out courtesy of Subjangle Sounds.
It’s always great to have friends reach out to you and point you in the proper direction, so I’m glad that I heard about this new Geddy Laurance/Michael O split tape before it was too late! We’ve covered Michael O many times (as Mantles and solo), and Geddy played drums in everyone’s favorite, Boyracer, so now we get them both together! With the GL tune, you get a little more pacing, primarily with a faster strum and thicker drum beat; the Laurance vocals do have a touch of a fading daylight feel to them, sort of wilting as they hit your ears. You’ll also find a contrasting guitar line working against the strum, sort of like the counter-punch to the jangle, which was a really nice recording touch. Michael’s tune has some bop to it, so don’t think its totally gone, but his voice sounds a touch fragile in the tune below (which I adore); there’s also this backing vocal popping in that sort of reminds me of Television Personalities somehow. And, this probably sounds like a slight, but there’s just a certain feel to Mr. O’s tune that almost feels like its still in the works, like things aren’t finished or polished; its pop honest at its finest. If, like me, you’re in love, then grab the split from Safe Suburban Home this Friday!