For years folks praised Sheer Mag, and with their signing to Third Man for their third LP, we’re expecting waves of adoration to wash ashore. For my two cents, I love the latest single, particularly the growl of the guitars, a missing link to that period of early American punk circa the New York Dolls. Tina Halladay has this bit of brattiness to her vocals too, adding that feeling of a band really pushing back against any and all expectations; they don’t give a damn what you think, they just came to lay down some rock n’ roll. But, they needn’t worry, with songs like this folks are going to be all over Playing Favorites; it drops on March 1st.
It feels like Exek are about to put out an incredibly thoughtful collection of songs, and their latest single continues to illustrate the restraint in the craftsmanship that’s present. Honestly, this rolls out on the back of simple beat and a rolling wave synth atmospherics. When the vocals enter, they operate almost like a croon, toying with the song’s tension as nuances pieces begin to bubble and burst on the track’s surface; I love how it all comes together around 1:41, churning with an added layer of backing vocals. There’s definitely some familiarity with the post-punk genre, but it just feels like they’re operating with disregard at the same time; they seem to be pushing into it as much as they’re pulling away from it, leaving listeners with an intriguing vibe altogether. They release The Map and the Territory on October 6th via Foreign Records.
Brooklyn band the Planes are here to liven up your Friday morning; they want to be sure you indulge in their crisp brand of power pop. Their latest single opens up simply, working light vocals and a gentle guitar jangle. Quickly, drums drop in, though the song doesn’t stray too far from the sweetness that’s roaming around with the melodic hooks. You’ll get some swirling guitars in the distance, but the core of the song punches hard if the volume’s turned up just right. If you’re digging their work, you’ll find this track on Dark Matter Recycling Co, out September 15th via Totally Real/Safe Suburban Home.
Brooklyn band the Planes are tearing up the kind of pop rock old punks like myself can really dive into, hitting all the melodic notes while still bringing just enough of an edge to make us still feel cool. Drums kick this song off and the guitars and vocals immediately rush in; they seem to be working against each other, with the vocals cresting through this hazy pop vibe as the guitar notes jangle furiously, trying to push the pace the whole time. If you were trying to find that cool edge, wait until the solo hits, then you’ll hear heavy riffs cutting right through a la Teenage Fanclub; I love the way the guitar stabs build the tension up immediately following that moment. Looking for an anthemic sing-a-long? Well, read the lyrics on your screen and then grab the Dark Matter Recycling Co., out September 15th via Totally Real Records and Safe Suburban Home.
We’re spending our Monday with some longer tracks, letting the mood of the week sink into our skin; below, we have the new single from Finnish outfit Ghosts on TV, who just announced their self-titled LP on Friday. They’ve constructed this beautiful lyrical video, featuring the lyrics placed over various scenes of nature; occasionally those shots are obscured, tying into the vibe of the melody in the song, hidden softly beneath a wall of feedback and noise. I love how the band stretch the stereotypical sound by layering in various other textures, like the string work, adding a layer of elegance to the tune. If you’re enjoying what you hear, the band release their self-titled LP on April 14th via Soliti.
There’s no shame in getting a little bounce in your step on a Wednesday, and who better than to slide into your dance routine than Fujiya and Miyagi. Honestly, I hadn’t thought about the band in years, until news began to circulate of a new record, so I went back and broke out the jams. This new single is just what the band are known to do, working in a propulsive groove that’s got just enough kick to it, then letting some nuanced tricks tickle your fancy as the song moves along; there’s a little guitar shuffle here, thicker beat there and maybe a vocal layer; it all works to slide you into those dancing shoes. Their new album, Slight Variations is out on September 30th via Impossible Objects of Desire.
This Friday we’ll finally get to unwind and enjoy the entirety of the new long player from Let’s Whisper; I’ve been raving about every single all along the way. Today, the band have shared a lyric video with us, filled with a simplistic charm, taking the cover art from the record and spinning it around the lyrics. Musically, the band are steady as ever, taking an artistically penned ballad and raising it up by adding little bits of flare. There’s horns, softened percussion, accompanying vocal work and all these little bits between; it not only builds the emotional connection as you listen, but buoys the charm factor that will hopefully solidify your belief in how good the new LP is; The In-Between Times comes out this Friday courtesy of Fika Recordings.
Interestingly, as I spend more and more time with Tim Kasher‘s new album, the more I realize how every few years I’m reminded of how much I love his songwriting. There’s this playfulness in his vocals on this latest single, yet always with that sense of self-deprecation to go along. I think that’s perhaps the greatest thing about Tim’s work; his lyrics, even his social critique, also comes with a sense of awareness and honesty. Plus, there’s this sailing vocal in the end, buoyed by this huge blast of horns…just another carefully arranged detail that makes Middling Age a special joy; it’s out this Friday via 15 Passenger Records.
I’ve spent a lot of time the last few weeks enjoying IV, the latest long player from Austin’s Letting Up Despite Great Faults. Hopefully you’ve been passing your time in a similar fashion, and if not, then indulge me by watching this new lyric video for “Self-Portrait” in hopes that you see the error in your ways. Starting off with a light jangling guitar sets the mood, just before the rhythm section (which is always spot on) pushes the song into foot-stomping/hand-clapping territory. Mike Lee’s feathered voice softly caresses your inner ear as heavy riffs run beneath the surface, fighting to break through the band’s melodious nature helmed by Lee and Annah Fisette’s vocals. Plus, the band get bonus points here for the great video created by Pelvis Wrestley‘s Benjamin Violet…a kind and artistic human in their own right! Grab the LP right HERE.
Bodega are set to drop their sophomore LP in March, and as they build, they drop another new tune with this emphatic beat cut up by sharp little guitar riffs. The composition provides a post-punk style that’s built to get you bouncing on the dancefloor, euphorically letting yourself run free. Lyrically, Ben Hozie and Nikki Belfligio use the song as a reflection of sorts, admitting the amount of influence their own interest in art, literature, music has influenced or “thrown” them. Sitting here typing this up, I’m like “yeah, same.” Can we trust ourselves and our tastes? Does it even matter? Watch the video and you make the call. Broken Equipment hits on March 11th via What’s Your Rupture.