It’s a K Records kind of week around these parts, with that excellent Ribbon Stage jam yesterday, and today, I’m really excited to share the latest from San Francisco’s Almond Joy. The group have scheduled their Oh Henry EP for a September release, and this first listen is like sitting by a crackling little fire at camp singing with all your best friends. It’s got this quieted vibe to it, but the vocal work throughout is enough to bring sweet melodies to the forefront. Those voices intertwine and untangle, leaving behind a trail of endearing sweetness that begs repeat listens. You’ll get that chance when K Records drops the Oh Henry EP on September 30th.
You’ve got to love short little ditties, and right on the heels of Tony Molina’s short pop song execution is Mo Troper. He’s announced MTV, his latest LP, and he’s done so with this tight little jangler, twisting these beautiful falling guitarmonies into heart-felt melodies. Mo’s voice on this go round feels a little more distinctive, but I think that adds to the charm, keeping a sort of lo-fi sensibility that allows all of us to maintain our cool, right? There’s a video version of the song HERE, but otherwise, you, like the rest of us, will have to wait until MTV drops on September 2nd via Lame-O Records.
I remember when Iceage caught hold in the US, with everyone remarking about how Elias would stalk the stage, but, despite that attitude, the band never really felt dangerous to me (I still liked them though!). But, when listening to CLAMM, who bring in a heavy post-hardcore vibe, the band just feels dangerous. Jack Summers just feels like he’s ripping apart his vocals as he growls into the microphone, with Maisie emphatically joining through the chorus moments to punctuate the tune; it feels like a warning that we’re hurtling towards the end of humanity. The tune feels like a heavy march on your soul, discordant guitar work screaming all the while, and as the tune fades, you get that saxophone squeal leading to the song’s fadeout. Care, their new LP, will be out on April 19th via Chapter Music.
It takes nearly a minute for the rest of the band to catch up to Blair Howerton on Why Bonnie‘s newest single, which is fitting, as the song takes on a bit of a personal narrative about Blair being stuck in the middle of nowhere with an ex in Louisiana. But, while I love Blair’s voice, the song’s emotional appeal definitely gets upped when the drums hit and the song erupts, albeit subtilely. It’s one of the reasons the band’s forthcoming 90s in November feels so intimate; Howerton delivers this incredibly personal details in her storytelling, while the band builds the depth behind her; this song illustrates that point, with a perfect moment of punctuation in the chorus. We’ve always rated the band highly, and we’re looking forward to seeing how you all enjoy the LP; it drops on August 19th via Keeled Scales.
Seattle’s New Age Healers will be releasing Demolition Stories later this summer, thus they’ve got to get the singles out into the world, like the latest “Setting Sun.” On my listens, it fits perfectly into where my favorite jams take me; there’s this explorative nature to it, be that sort of psychedelic or what have you, almost like a space-age version of many of the current shoegaze/dreampop acts. The vocals are sedate, hiding quietly in the middle of the mix, careful not to overpower the listener, but melodically moving the track forward. You’ll be able to get your hands on the new LP come this August, so keep your ears out!
Ryan Gross and his project, Skinny Dippers, already hit these pages this summer with an earlier single, and as we stare down another week of 100 degree days, we may as well embrace the brightness in our musical world too. Gross always has these little crisp guitar notes, leaning a bit towards old-west Americana, but its when you combine that with the wistfulness of his voice that you really start to daydream; you find yourself swept away by the notes, willingly letting the song bowl you over like a tumbleweed in the wind. And there you have it, let the warmth of this song wash you down the stream of life.
Chicago’s Triangle Rain Club caught our attention earlier this year with the Close the Door EP, but it looks like a much anticipated debut LP is on its way. The song employs heavy riffs of the sort that would reverberate through your body if the amp was turned up to eleven, yet somehow the project manages to hang back just enough to allow the melody to seep through the speakers. Every time I turn this on, its like the Jesus and the Mary Chain meet up with one of the pop grunge groups of the 90s, like Soul Asylum; it’s catchy, but you can feel the weight of the song as it burrows into your brain. We’ll keep you posted as we hear more about the debut LP!
Our old pal Michael Beach is back at it, today bringing news from Australia that the songwriter will be releasing a new self-titled EP this Fall. Below we’ve got the the first sneak listen, with a track that feels like a feverish march on our sanity. For me, there’s really two sides to what Beach and company are doing. Musically, there’s this furious push and pounding rhythm, setting up the song as a sort of punk rock party anthem. But, Michael’s vocals are extremely steady in that mix, headstrong and just a melody above spoken word; it gives him this sort of rocker croon that slides right into the grooves. Stoked to see he’ll be touring the US this Fall, with a stop at Goner Fest…speaking of, Goner Records is putting out the EP along with Poison City on September 30th.
It looks like someones been watching me dance-punch all across my house this summer, and it looks like that someone is Soft Moon! The band’s new video for brooding bouncer “Become the Lies” is filled with a lone dancing machine, dancing primally to the thumping beat that’s beneath the song. What I’m interested in from the musical side is how the song manages to avoid the trappings, brining in an angelic vocal where most folks would pummel you with a wall of noise. Don’t get me wrong, you can feel the weight of this song shattering the cones of your speakers, but the melodic nature still seems to supersede. Exister will be out on September 2rd via Sacred Bones Records.
Bay area trio Sour Widows really made a name for themselves last year with the highly praised release of the four song EP Crossing Over. Now focused on an upcoming Fall tour, the band sent over a brand new single called “Witness” earlier today and it was just too good not to share with you all. This song can really take you on a musical and emotional journey through slow builds, super dramatic crescendos, and stunning harmonies packed into the nearly 6 minute song. The progression sort of reminds me of early Pedro songs with the deeply rewarding, intensely emotional builds after moments of melodic reservation. Ya dig.