Joshua Powell Releases Skeleton Party

Joshua Powell is dropping his latest record Skeleton Party out into the world today, and I wanted to celebrate that by backing him up with some love for this track, “Sad Boy at the Skeleton Party.” Sure, there’s some heavy riffs in this jam, which tie into Powell’s psychedelic inclinations, but his voice always transports me somewhere else; he reminds me of old school Brendan Benson the way he hits some of those high notes to bridge the rock with the melody. Feel like this hits all the Friday notes, kicking out the heavy riffs and still making things feel like there’s just the faintest hint of pop. If you dig, check out the whole LP; it drops today!

Shoestrings Announce New Album, Expectations

Nearly thirty years after dropping their first single, Shoestrings have emerged from the quiet to drop their most confident record to date, Expectations. It makes sense that this record came about after the duo did some work for Swedish project Djustin, as there’s a very clear lineage to that delectable brand of Nordic synth pop; I keep thinking of Red Sleeping Beauty as I play this on repeat. I will say, rather than merely playing on the formula, Shoestrings definitely make this sound their own; they create these little mini-movements that punctuate their harmonies…see the great drop in at 3:11. If you’re in the mood for dense synthesized pop, then you’re going to want to press play, maybe even open it in another screen so you can press repeat. Expectations will be out on November 5th via Shelflife.

Ovlov Return with Buds LP

Are they together? Are they not? Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter, as we should also just sit back and appreciate that Ovlov have announced a brand new EP. To me, the band always sound like what J Mascis has been chasing for years, stirring up a pot of melody and noise, but with a DIY attitude. You get these matter-of-fact lyrics here, delivered almost haphazardly, like a private conversation, which steadies the song. But, what’s always appealing about an Ovlov tune is that they manage to kind of create this storm around that sense of calm, not unlike some cliche hurricane analogy; everything is bringing destruction, except, of course, those vocals. Buds sounds like a ripper and it’ll be out on November 19th via Exploding in Sound Records.

Exclusive Album Stream: The Smallgoods – Lost in the Woods

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.

Weakened Friends Announce Quitter

A few years ago, a show opportunity fell into my lap; I had the opportunity to book a primo venue for a day time SXSW show, but I had to do it in 48 hours before the show took place. Lucky for me, I know some people, and was fortunate enough to have Weakened Friends take the stage. They played in the early afternoon with such ferocity that it awoke everyone from their early SXSW slumber. Today the band announce their new album, Quitter, which is coming out via Don Giovanni Records; they’re doing it with the blasting pop rock jam that should get you as excited as I am for the LP. Sonia’s voice is phenomenal, and just the right amount of catchy hanging in there. Just turn it up super loud and thank me later!

Low Life Announce From Squats to Lots: The Agony and XTC of Low Life

Sorry to inform you that this week is indeed Goner Records week, as the label have announced yet another banger of a tune, along with the announcement of the new Low Life album. This is great news, as we were big fans of Downer Edn, so to know that From Squats to Lots: The Agony and XTC of Low Life is just around the corner makes this a wonderful Friday. When this opens up, the drums are thunderous, furiously rushing us into this tornado of guitar swirls, lifting us and dropping us, lifting us and dropping us. The vocals are rather direct, and almost without emotion, adding to the pseudo-industrial nature of the track. Personally, a few listens through, and I kind of imagine this as a dark-wave response to Les Savy Fav, particularly when you get to the chorus; it just feels very Tim Harrington. The new LP is out on November 5th.

Natalie Jane Hill Shares New Single, Solely

There’s something really enchanting about Natalie Jane Hill‘s music. Her fingerpicking style creates this delicate intimacy, and for me, brings me back to the days listening to my dad’s old folk records as a kid. The guitar sliding through the background also is the perfect arrangement move, adding depth and forcing the song to overflow with emotion. Then we get Hill’s voice, which to me, feels like she’s lived a thousand years; it has this rich depth that’s pretty striking and unavoidable, particularly when she stretches it to reach higher notes. Plus, I’m just now realizing the amazing recording was done by Jason Chronis (Voxtrot/Tele Novella), so Natalie gets all the Austin love on our end. Her new album Solely is out October 29th via Dear Life Records.

Cold Beat Drop Year Without a Shadow

When I first pressed play on this hot track from Cold Beat, I kind of thought the synth work reminded me of Robyn; I expected Hannah Lew to burst in with this exuberance. Luckily, the hook gets delayed, and even when present it feels obscured by the band’s own stylistic nuances. Right before the 2 minute mark, for instance, there’s this shining pulse that bursts through the mix, but in the distance, there’s a wash of atmosphere that kind of sedates everything in this heavy wash. Ultimately, what I love about this song, and the album that’s coming with it, is the ability to show this restraint, sort of offer up a steadied exploration of electronic leaning dream pop; it really lets you revel in the craft. War Garden is out tomorrow via Like Ltd.

Robert Sotelo Returns with Influencer

Hopefully this is the year that Robert Sotelo‘s work really registers with those who spend time with his new album, Celebrant. Musically, he’s dwelling in this sort of constructionist pop realm, carefully stacking layers of synths atop one another, leaving enough space for the song to breathe so he can drape his lyrics atop. At times, his voice takes on a slight coldness, almost robotic in nature, however, he’s still quick to turn it into this celebratory melody that will make your heart flutter. The song’s both futuristic and steeped in nostalgic art pop, so dip your toes in the fine waters of Sotelo’s craft. Celebrant is out November 12th via Upset the Rhythm.

Crabber Share Katherine/Waves

This November, all those folks that pine for Sarah Records 7″ on Discogs (like myself) will certainly find themselves being absolutely charmed by the sophomore album from Germany’s Crabber. Honestly, listening through this new single, one thing sticks out in my mind; the song sounds a lot like Comet Gain, except its just a pure pop version there, getting rid of some of the lo-fi effects in order to bring out more from the melody in these lines. I’m not sure how someone doesn’t listen to the soft crystalline guitars and just fall to pieces at how glorious they sound dancing down your ear canal. Their album drops via Jigsaw in November!

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