The ten tracks that make up the debut album from Exasperation show a band confident in their craft, willing to wear their various influences openly. Album opener “Pyre” has this almost spastic punctuated vocal, before it twists into a crunchier blasting riff ride. It’s matched by songs such as “Devil’s Gate,” which has the faintest smell of Les Savy Fav in the angular guitars and vocal delivery. Still, while things often seem sharp and treacherous throughout Paradise, a soft underbelly exists within that only reveals itself when one pulls back layer after layer, song after song…like on “Sludge Plow.” It’s a power ballad of sorts, calm in its appearance, emphatic in its chorus. Venture forth listener, peel back the layers and uncover the secrets of Paradise.
Feels like cheating offering up two Dan Francia tracks in one week, but I’m super stuck on Dan’s vibe. It’s part collage, at least in the actual recording, with Dan culling his friends to record with him. But, for me, the draw is the huge emotional pull that flows through the speakers. He teases the listener here for the first minute and half, offering up vocals and lightly strummed guitar…it builds with percussion and electronics…then it bursts exuberantly through your speakers, stretching your lips into a huge smile. Sometimes you want the music you love to make you feel good, and this song definitely strikes that note on my end. Come Back to Life is out on January 25th via Exploding in Sound.
At the moment, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of artists with the productivity rate of Justin Cheromiah aka High Sunn. Only about a week into 2019, and he’s already released a new LP, Our Perception. It’s another captivating entry into the young artists catalog, going back and forth between dreamy angular guitars and electronically pulsed bedroom pop numbers. Surprisingly, while there are some tweaks I’d like to hear, there’s not a bad song in this collection, meaning Cheromiah is still riding his own hit-making machine, living in the land between emo and dream pop; I’ll take it. Our Perception is out right now via Spirit Goth.
I am a bit late on this new Methyl Ethyl jam as it came out on Friday, but you will have to agree with me that it’s worth sharing and blasting. If you’re looking for a pop number to brighten your dark and cold Monday, this is the song for you. I’m finding myself dancing along to this song with its catchy beats, energetic vocals, and hazy guitars. Seriously, this is what pop music should sound like.
Methyl Ethyl will release new album Triage on February 15th via 4AD.
I had to search our own site to find out how long it’s been since I’ve posted an album review and I will refrain from embarrassing myself with the exact timeframe, though you could search yourself I guess. We as an ATH staff have been neglectful as a whole when it comes to album reviews and we are hoping to rectify this moving forward. Hopefully you can understand that if an album has brought me out of my review slumber it must be a great one. The very soon to be released new album from Dan Mangan, More Or Less, is just such an album because, holy hell, it’s impressive. Hit the jump for some thoughts, photos, and tunes.
I have to admit that I lost the plot with Beirut somewhere down the line…those feelings of being overcome just sort of faded away…though I still put on Gulag O. from time to time. And then today, I dared to click on the new Beirut album, and lo and behold, the brilliance is back. The band’s latest tune has this softened percussive gallop and a wondrous horn section; I have to acknowledge I got swept up right away. Then Zach’s voice hits, soaring in its baritone manner, losing me in the great swirling storm of emotive pop. Maybe it’s time I revisit my old friend; look for Gallipoli in February on 4AD.
First, this is not your older brother’s Harlem; it’s possibly not even the Harlem you know and love. But, it’s still Coomers and Curtis writing incredible pop songs that are destined to get repeat listens. With a new album, Oh Boy, on the very near horizon, we get the below single, which shows a great deal of maturity in the songwriting. This is late night Harlem, writing chilled songs with the same sharp-edged guitar their early work showed, only refined to maximize the melody…not to mention, aided by some solid background keyboard work. If you ever wandered what happened to the band…they’re back and you’re going to absolutely love what’s coming your way. Look for the new LP in early 2019.
Of all the groups with Elephant Six lineage, perhaps none are as willing to participate in sonic exploration as Marshmallow Coast. Immediately, Andy Gonzales throws you into new wave nostalgia; pulsing synth work and robotic autotune. Guitars soon cut through to join in on the fun, all the while you still get that insatiable pulse that serves as the song’s heart. But, if you listen carefully, there’s definitely these nice little pop flourishes, particularly in the soft melodic vocals that sit in the distance near the tune’s latter half. If you’re willing to get out of your cool kid comfort zone, you’re really going to enjoy the group’s new LP, Memory Girl; it drops on November 9th via HHBTM.
Everybody who’s anybody is in Eyelids; the group consists of various members of GBV, Decembrists and the Jicks…to name a few. As of right now, we’ve only got the lead track to listen to, but boy is it a doozy. There’s definitely nods to the various members guitar pop resumes, those this is spun in a softer manner, fluffier almost. I guess in my ears its like a great power pop song, but with all the power sucked out…though I like the nice noodling guitar on the song’s back end. Sucker for harmonies and “oohs”? You’ll want to get in on the listen. Maybe More is part live, part Peter Buck (from some band REM) recorded sessions…you can grab it HERE.
I’ve always had a soft spot for the work of Matthew Dear, but we haven’t really heard much from him since 2012, so with a new album on the horizon, I figure we should give it some attention. It’s a common electronic sound, with understated pulses subsiding so that vocals can ride over the groundwork. Oh, and speaking of the vocals, this track features Tegan and Sara throwing down some lines, which should draw some raves (myself included). All those voices combine in the end, as a dancer beat comes in to bring about a spirited exuberance. His music is always thoughtful and simultaneously playful, and I can always back that. Bunny comes out on October 12th via Ghostly.