Driving Pop from Azure Blue

CD63You’ve gotta love the Swedes! They’re even better when, like Azure Blue, they make their way into the American music landscape via their association with our favorite labels.  As previously mentioned here, the band is going to release Beyond the Dreams There’s Infinite Doubt; it’ll be released by one of my top labels for indiepop, Matinee Recordings, next week.  There’s a heavy synth line on this tune, which surely will hit the heart of fans across the globe, but I like the addition of Julia Vero with backing vocals.  Sometimes you can’t deny a great track its day in the sun.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/02-The-Road-I-Know.mp3]

Download: Azure Blue – The Road I Know [MP3]

Dreamy Girl Pop from September Girls

septemberFor those of you looking for someone to temporarily, or permanently, replace your Vivian Girls/Dum Dum Girls fix, there’s no one out there doing a better job than September Girls.  This new tune opens up with this pounding drum, as a washed out vocal enters the fold.  Guitars are lightly dancing around in the background, swinging this dreamy bit of garage-pop our way.  The band’s released a handful of singles with some of our favorite labels, like Matinee, but they’ll be releasing their full length debut on Fortuna Pop in just a short bit of time. We’ll keep you posted, but enjoy this sweet jam.

Azure Blue Readies New LP

azureblue-willowsandpines_highres-500x500I first caught on to Azure Blue when the band released it’s last album via Matinee Recordings. The group is the work of Tobias Issakson, and for me, I really appreciated the understated quality of his pop sensibility. Yes, it’s electronic-based pop, but it doesn’t push the beats too hard, instead using dreamier synth sounds and a casual pace. His voice carefully rests atop the instrumentation, creating songs that allow for escapism. His new album, Beyond the Dreams There’s Infinite Doubt will be out sometime this Fall.

Seabirds Sign with Matinee Recordings

seabirdsSorry folks, but Matinee Recordings is on a huge role at the moment, releasing their 4th great single to the masses in a little over a week.  This time around, the label has picked up Seabirds to release the Real Tears 7″ this coming August.  On the title track, the tune opens with just vocals and strumming, but soon opens up to a more full band sound with a female vocal accompaniment and drums.  While that quick change-up is pretty special, I’m pretty stuck on the tone of the vocal itself; it’s gentle and familiar, fitting perfectly into the spectrum of great indiepop singing. Cheers to this.

Fresh Indie Pop from The Steinbecks

steinbecksAs promised, it’s been a remarkable week for our friends at Matinee Recordings. Already with two new releases under their belt, they return with a new 7″ from the Steinbecks…the band’s first release in six years. It’s a preview of what’s to come when the band release a full-length later in the year.  From the moment this track opens, it’s the vocals that take the focus, with the accompanying music sitting politely in the background.  Lyrically, it’s got the classic touch of great indiepop, referencing personal sentiments throughout.  It’s hard not to fall in love with a song like this playing on your stereo; you can make that happen by heading to Matinee now!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/01-At-Arkaroo-Rock-Radio-Edit.mp3]

Download: The Steinbecks – At Arkaroo Rock [MP3]

Catchy New Tune from Math and Physics Club

mathandphysicsI’ve already brought you one great tune from Matinee Recordings this week, and as promised, the label has more great music to share with you all. The latest song comes via Math and Physics Club; it’s easiest one of the catchiest tracks the band has composed to date.  The song opens with some drum work accompanied by hand-claps, just before the rest of the act joins in with infectious guitar lines.  Personally, aside from the clapping, I’m really finding myself attached to the lyrical delivery on this tune.  You’ll be wise to order the Long Drag 7″ straight from Matinee Recordings, and browse while you’re there…you’ll find tons of hits to order from one of our favorite labels.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/01-Long-Drag.mp3]

 

Indie Pop Winner from Bubblegum Lemonade

matinee087It’s been sort of a sad few months for indie pop fans, with a few of the smaller labels calling it quits.  But, on the bright side of things, the next few weeks promise a few announcements from the always excellent Matinee Recordings. The first release on their list is the brand new Have You Seen Faith 7″ from Bubblegum Lemonade.  Laz has fleshed out his line-up, creating three beautiful songs that illustrate the purity of indie pop.  His voice, as always, has this beautiful warmth, and the guitar work rings perfectly in the background.  You can order the new 7″ now from the Matinee Store.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/01-Have-You-Seen-Faith.mp3]

 

Northern Portrait – Pretty Decent Swimmers EP

Rating: ★★★★ ·

It’s been almost three entire years since we’ve heard anything new from Northern Portrait, but this four song affair will make us forgive the gap between releases, as this is some of the most accomplished music the band has crafted to date.  The Pretty Decent Swimmers EP may only be a short little stop gap until a full-length comes our way, but fans old and new will surely find solace in the well-manicured pop of these Danes.

It’s early in the year, but you’re going to have to try real hard to find such a splendid piece of pop musical openings for the rest of the year.  There’s a casual entrance, building the listener’s internal tension, and then unleashing enchanting bliss at the 36 second mark.  You can sing along to the chorus of “Happy Nice Day,” aided by the perfect vocal control of singer Stefan, which never hurts the audiences ability to attach themselves to the music.

“Greetings From Paris” is an eternally satisfying track, full of literary allusions and a ringing guitar line that infects any pop lovers soul.  It’d be easy to take Stefan Larsen’s voice and make Morrissey comparisons, but this song demonstrates the softer quality of the vocals, stripped of the over-bearing sexuality.  I have to admit, I’m a sucker for monosyllabic lyrics sung in repetition like the “la la la las” that close out this little gem.

If you were wondering if Northern Portrait was going to pick up a little bit of the energy, then wait until you get to “Bon Voyage.”  The cutting guitar lines are extremely sharp, which provides a natural bit of pacing to the song…almost a dance floor shuffle.  But, like other pop classicists, The Lodger, there’s a bit of restraint, focusing instead on the harmony within the tune rather than force you to stomp your feet.  Closing out the song is a soaring bit of vocal melody and a tinkering it of piano…you don’t get better than that.

And it all comes to a grand close with the longest track, “I Feel Even Better.”  Larsen here seems to express a bit of solemnity, if only in the way he delivers his vocals.  Sure, the lyrics guide one to think there’s a bit of a reawakening, but you can hear the distant pain that the narrator had to live with at one point.  For me, the attached arrangements present in the background reinforce the pristine sound of twanging guitars that seek out your heart.  A perfect bookend to the whole listening experience.

If you aim to be frustrated about anything on Pretty Decent Swimmers then you’re going to find difficulty in that search.  There’s not a single misstep or faltering moment, but rather a complete collection of four songs exemplifying pop writing at its very finest. Cheers to you Northern Portrait: and welcome back!

Pretty Decent Swimmers is available now from Matinee Recordings.

Majestic Indie Pop from Northern Portrait

Finally, the wait is over! After two years, the triumphant return of Northern Portrait is upon us.  Just one listen to this new single and I guarantee you’ll be foaming at the mouth with anticipation.  The song casually opens, with a faint beat in the background and a jingling tambourine…and then we’re off at the 35 second mark.  From that moment on, my body tingled with the pleasure of listening to perfectly crafted indie pop that’s hard to match.  It’s looking like 2013 is going to be a great year for the band, starting with the Pretty Decent Swimmers EP, which is a 10″ being put out by our dear friends at Matinee Recordings.  Yep, I’m in love.

New Hit from September Girls

I love writing about the bands on Matinee Recordings; it makes it so easy as they almost never miss.  The newest installation to their storied stable is Dublin’s September Girls, a five piece group specializing in bringing a blend of atmospheric post rock and girl group harmonies.  It’s pretty much a perfect blend of all your favorite things, uniting noisier pop with your tendency to wax nostalgic about a more pure rock n’ roll sound.  You better get your hands on it now, as the history of the band shows that there music is being gobbled up quickly all over the globe, so chances are this 7″ EP won’t be around for too long.

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