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.
In the associated press of the latest single from Jessica’s Brother, it states the this is the “sound of a band coming together and getting caught up in a rush starting afresh.” I love that, as you get the feeling that their second LP is going to have this urgency, this combination of their various influences fusing together to complete one musical entity. This new single has a bit of a nice little folk shimmy to it, like running and leaping through piles of leaves with a friend, grinning all the while. The fiddle work is the perfect accent to the band’s sound here, putting on those pastoral finishing touches to this campfire singalong. Their new LP is titled Just Rain, and it drops on November 26th via Fika Recordings.
Having returned with the excellent Cul-de-sac of Love, the Lodger seem to be back in full swing with their songwriting. Last week they released this charming track, a bouncer if you will, jumping right off with a pounding piano and drum stomp. For me, this is something that feels very much like the band are hitting their stride once again, with one foot firmly in the history of Brit pop, and one banging out hook-laden pop as we push forward into the future. Throwing this up, just in case you, like me, missed it a week ago!
When it comes to the softer brand of lo-fi, there are certain things that definitely allow me to immerse myself in the musical element, one of which is a distinctive voice. Miranda Elliott, the songwriter behind Old Man of the Woods, has this way of letting her voice seemingly quiver, rising up and down from syllable to syllable, forcing enchantment on listeners. The music here seems to be made of this jangling strummed loop, naked at first, then adding a further texture to the song to elevate the arrangement; this is the brand that gets me on board! Look for the debut, Votives, on October 15th via Totally Real Records.
Having worked in production for years, Will Crumpton is ready to work out his own tunes on his debut EP as Orton. His lead single from the track seems to detail his journey, with the title “Your Way” referencing how he came to find strength in his own musical decision making. I love the heavy vibe coursing throughout, sort of this deep wash of darkened tones, pushing forth with this cavernous sound that gets occasional accents from distorted atmospherics. Crumpton lets the feathery notes of his voice float in and out, careful to keep the song’s production equal, so the emotive quality is maximized for listeners. Sparring EP will be out on October 29th via Phlexx Records.
It’s been a busy year for Parker Longbough, releasing an album and an EP, but we’re not even done yet, so we’re pleased to inform you that he’ll be releasing another record, Off Front Street. One of the great things about Longbough is his storytelling, and its what fills this record (and song), with his lyrical work resembling Doug Martsch to a certain degree, making the mundane leap from the speakers. This track has a circular nature to it, musically speaking, with this guitar ringing in and out of the mix, allowing Longbough to focus on his storytelling while the song buzzes behind him; it’s punctuated by this emphatic drum work, primarily on the cymbals, punching up the hooks as you go through. You can file this tune somewhere between the Pacific Northwest of the late 90s and Elephant 6. Off Front Street drops on October 22nd via Wilderhood Music.
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.
Oakland duo The Acharis are gearing up to release their latest album come November, and our first little teaser find the band dwelling in this territory that seems all their own, perhaps aided by legendary producer John Fryer. This polished beat opens up the song, seemingly almost losing itself in the pulse, at times almost slowing to a near stop. Drums enter the picture, carefully building a touch more pace, allowing Mila Puccini to deliver this wonderful harmonic voice; it feels like it belongs in a perfect indiepop tune somewhere. But, the song starts to get worked up, adding in all these industrial-natured textures, giving the song this violent aura that your ears can’t seem to escape. When it stops, the warped pop nature might leave you not knowing what to make of it. But, one thing’s for sure, you’re going to want to add Blue Sky/Grey Heaven to your listening queue come November 5th, courtesy of Zum Media/Cranes Records.
Not sure if you’ve got Semihelix on your radar, but this is one of the recent Austin bands I’m super stoked to jam. I love the way the song rushes in immediately, letting those jangling notes meet up with some fuzzy distortion creeping in from the distance. Geannie Friedman delivers two great performances; she toys with the song’s dreamy nature during the verses, but goes full pop when her voice soars in the chorus. Be sure to stick around too, as the fade into the ending is a real nice touch. It’s pop rock with a real edge, and just enough of that DIY spirit to be sure the band’s Recoil will be on your radar when they drop the full LP on October 1st via Mariel Recording Company.
Is it Goner Records Week over here at ATH? We’ve covered Power Supply, Exbats and now our friend Michael Beach drops this great new single with Goner as the follow-up to his most excellent Dream Violence. This new single is this crunchy rocker, fuzzed around all the corners, with Michael struggling with the ways of the world, as alluded to in the song’s title; you can feel that strife in his vocal delivery…or so I think. For me, a fan of ten second snippets of joy, there’s this great moment at 1:42 (and 2:43) where the drums stutter, and Michael’s voice softens, delivering this beautiful melodic moment amidst the crashing guitars that really will stay as part of a collection in my bag of the “Best Ten Seconds.” Please enjoy!