Let’s start off this wonderful Friday with a poppy rocker from Slush that’s sure to turn a few heads…but don’t be too quick to make your opinion. Musically, it’s a saccharine bit of grungy pop, maximizing hooks with plenty of “oohs” and “ahh;” you honestly won’t be able to turn your head away from the track. Lyrically, the band coyly wait until the middle half of the track before you even know that the entirety of the tune is an ode to the menstrual cup. The band’s new EP will be out May 10th via Hysterical Records.
We’re just about a week away from Julia Rakel‘s EP release, so why not share another stellar number from indie fEElz. This track just reinforces the power of Rakel’s voice; she moves into the empty space left by the lush arrangements she’s crafted, filling it with these heavenly notes. Her range is strong, and I love the way she sort of hangs syllables in the air, then lets them fall quickly through the speakers. I think the last minute of this tune is quite special; it’s a drifting feeling accompanied by Rakel, fitting considering the art for the EP. It drops in full on March 15th via Rama Lama Records.
Last summer, Vital Idles quietly released Left Hand; I’m not sure it got the appreciation it deserved in my neck of the woods. But, perhaps the sharpness of their new EP will put folks in the US on notice that they’re an outfit to keep an eye upon in the future, if not today. The bass line bounces the listener into the song as muted guitar riffs await the full barrage of the rest of the group; here, the band walk that fine line between minimalist pop and post-punk. I love how the lyrics are stretched over several chords in their delivery, though they do grow more frantic; that all culminates in a closing moment of discord for the last 45 seconds, with the band acting out just a wee bit more. They release their new EP on March 8th via Upset the Rhythm.
It’s been a few years since we last heard from Lost Tapes with their collection, We Thought It Was Okay at the Time. One thing’s for sure today, the band definitely are doing okay right now, hitting that musical sweet spot of my personal tastes. For starters, there’s a wash over the track, matched by some of the shadier attributes of the accompanying video; this haze hangs on to the vocals too, giving off this dream state. But, just beneath that fuzzy pop is this stuttering jangle pop; it’s sounds a great bit like “Rip It Up” by Orange Juice, which is a sure-fire dance number for me and my wife. Not every day you come across a number that hits the dream pop and the jangle at once; this tune appears on the group’s new EP, out on Shelflife on February 22nd.
It’s fun to follow your favorite bands, see who they’re following, see who they’re playing with…you’ll likely discover something new, as I did with Deep Sea Peach Tree. The band just released the EP below, and they shared the stage that night with ATH faves, Pale Lights. But, the musical link ends there, as DSPT has more of a chilled pop vibe, even going so far as to declare themselves “surfgaze.” The Milk-Based Religion EP is definitely rewarding, opening up with the wayward guitars of “Mellow Richard” and wrapping up with the EP’s best tune, “Felt,” which adds some energetic pop vibes to the four songs. Whatever, it’s Monday. And this EP is tasty.
Seeing Hands just released a brand new EP yesterday. While the EP collects a few of the singles from the band, it also brandishes two stellar new tracks that are worth your time. The first, “Colours,” is this dreamy pop soundscape, hanging fragile vocal lines carefully out there to drift through the speakers of the world; I love the feel of the vocals, as if we’re all in a large group singing together. “Sorry,” the latter tune has this more electronic sheen; you can feel the rhythmic pulse at the get-go, though it still softens the edges to maximize pop sensibility. The new EP is available on 10″ via Discos de Kirlian.
I was a big fan of the Hairs, the indiepop act starring Mr. Kevin Hairs, so when we thought about posting the stream of his new EP, I reached out to toss a couple of quick questions his way. Don’t forget to stream the new EP…out today via
ATH: You’ve been working with the name The Hairs for nearly a decade, so why the change to Kevin Hairs? Any particular reason?
KH: I got tired of playing behind a band name and working with that expectation. I felt like I was getting to that point where I just wanted to write and make music by myself and have something that was more intimate. I wanted to play out more with ease. Getting a band around town and practicing…. it’s too much stress. I love the idea of “Kevin Hairs” being flexible and playing by myself or with a bit of a band or a drum machine. It seemed easier and fun. I’m just at that age… but essentially, it’s easier to play by yourself and being a solo artist seems cool to me now.
ATH: How does Freak in the Streets fit in to your catalog? For you, do you see it as a continued progression from While I Hated Life, Barbarian?
KH: “Freak in the Streets” feels like when I started to be myself. It feels like a continuation of the Hairs, but now I feel like I can just get a lil’ deeper with the songs.
ATH: If you can think back to the recording of this EP, what was the one band or album that you were listening to on your own that might have seeped into the sound subconsciously?
KH: I really love “Crab Day” by Cate Le Bon. The way she sings. The music is batshit crazy at first. The lyrics are just bizarre and psychedelic and like free association. She feels like a modern day Syd Barrett. I’m just attracted to that kind of vibe.
ATH: You and I have talked about this a bit…but where do you see physical media going in regards to smaller artists? If you had a preference, where would you like to see it go? Any ideas on how to shake it all up?
KH: Mmmmm – all of my musical listening is streaming. If there would be physical media, I’d prefer it to be useful like shirts (clothing) with a download code attached. Maybe a postcard can be good…to hang on your wall. That band Rocketship was selling postcards with great art on it and a download code. I thought that was beautiful. I find myself being anti-stuff. I don’t like having things. I like the essentials. I think it would make going to shows more necessary. Streaming should be more shared. That’s about it.
ATH: Did Kevin ever get a dog or find something to believe in?
KH: I used to have a dog when I was a tween into my young adult life, she passed away years ago. HAVING SAID THAT…..I think I found something to believe in. Haha. I believe in focusing on positive things. External things come and go. So I think I’ve learned to just focus on how I feel.
ATH: An EP is sometimes thought of as a stop-gap between album cycles…can we expect a Kevin Hairs full length in the near future?
KH: To be honest, I haven’t really thought too far out about Kevin Hairs. I certainly want to make more songs and eventually another short album / long EP. I’m having fun doing what I’m doing. Honestly, I find music to be fun again and I don’t wanna burden myself thinking like that. I’m sure there’ll be other songs and stuff. But I don’t know.
Fanou, formerly of Skittle Alley, gave us Voyage Intererieur earlier this year, and already he’s back with a whole new batch of synth-driven indiepop songs under the name Coastal. I love how his electronic aspects don’t overshadow his indiepop tendencies, instead combining them into one organic collection of concise pop tunes. he has this way of elongating the tension until your ready for the release. Of the tracks present on Endless Summer, I think I’m gravitating towards “The Time” as my personal favorite…definitely holds the heaviest beat. If you’re interested, then mosey on over to Discos de Kirlian to get your hands on these tracks.
Our local Austin amigo Calvin Locklear just released a new EP and he’s been kind enough to let us premiere a new single from the release. “Hottest Hell” is the featured single from the EP and it’s a solid piece of driving rock music with just enough pop elements to warrant it for repeat plays. If you’re digging it, Locklear also has his entire new EP Hottest Hell streaming on all platforms. As if you needed more reasons to love the Austin music scene, welp here ya go.
We’ve already toasted to Henry Nowhere when he first announced his latest EP, but he’s followed up that announcement with this brilliant late night chill out. A driving guitar line propels the song throughout, occasionally balancing on the edge of jangling. It all works over a simple rhythm line, giving Henry plenty of room to drape his smoky baritone atop the entire mix. For my two cents, I love how it walks the fine line between uplifting spirit and late night relaxer…makes it easy to adore no matter the time of day. This is definitely promising for fans with the EP on the horizon.