I’m a super sucker for good old fashioned pop rock, particularly when its all dolled up in an indie rock disguise, like the latest track from New York’s Baby Combat. The guitar work floats purposefully between surf rock and jangling dream pop, which of course, leaves plenty of room for the vocals to star in the show. They get presented in this fashion that seems like they’re going to soar through your speakers and out into the world, only to hold back on the last syllable and have them drop so they can set up the next rise and fall. Totally dig it, so why don’t you try these hooks on for size!
Some days I wake up and I just want something loud and fun; I don’t give a shit about pretense or cool, I just want a straight-up banger of a hit…like this one from Johnny Mafia. This track races in immediately, utilizing gang vocals to anchor in that joyous celebratory nature; it’s precisely the attitude I was looking for to start off my day! The drums are pounding and furious, with the guitars just building up this huge wall of noise behind, though hanging on with just a slight hint of melody in there. The French outfit get bonus points for keeping it short, sure not to overstay its welcome, as you too much of a good thing can go bad! Check this track on the band’s new album Sentimental, out via Howlin Banana Records.
My infatuation with Liz Lawrence today is all about her willingness to take bits and pieces of various fads and weave them into something new and refreshing, like she’s done with her new tune. Opening with some vocoder vocals here kind of threw me for a loop, as it seemed to offset the power of her voice. But, then the bass enters and that vocoder fades, allowing Lawrence to dominate the track. Suddenly, a huge riff drops in and blows your hair back, then just as quickly a few synth stabs takes the tune and gives it this infectious bounce. While the raucous moments are enthralling, she even teases a touch of dreaminess too in between all her built-in hooks. A powerful tune for people who like to power dance in their bedrooms!
I’m full on embracing my adoration for pop rock this year, and at the moment, there aren’t a whole lot of acts doing it as well as Ruby Bones. This track, for instance, has solid gold arena rock riffs, handclaps and nice melodic vocals, even tossing in a couple of soloing guitar chords to make sure that we’re all on board with the aforementioned hooks! This is a fun way to revisit the end of last week and get your toes tapping before you go out into the world. If you enjoy this pop rocker, the track appears on the band’s new LP, Laser Tooth Tiger out on April 30th.
Sixteen years later, and I knew I was waiting for this exact tune from the Deathray Davies! A few seconds of toying with me, then it drops right into this huge wall of pounding power-pop, pumping out these catchy riffs and tasty little melodic treats. I won’t lie, this reminds me of all the late 90s college rock, the catchy sort that somehow made it onto normal radio stations that Suburban kids like myself could record and put on mixtapes for their friends. It’s that brand of pop rock where you think you’re too cool for it, but then you decide, nah, I’m going to crank that shit up and rock out. Their new LP, Time Well Wasted, is out this April.
At the very beginning of this year, Spanish outfit Lisasinson released “Atasco;” its been one of my favorite singles of the year, period. They return now with another single, just as infectious as the first one, which is part of their new single for Elefant Records. It starts with a ringing guitar steadily making its way through your speakers. Suddenly it drops in and the song takes off with more energy; the video version matches that exuberance by showing the group at their playful best together, showing us just a little bit of the joy still left out in the world. Don’t be turned away by the Spanish lyrics; you’ll miss out on a total pop rock ripper you need in your life!
I’m a sucker for really great pop songwriting, particularly when its crafted inside Travis County lines, which is the case for Duncan Fellows, who release the Sadlands today. The record is filled with these swelling moments that burst into euphoria, like the soft lead on “Like I Used To.” You also just get these little classic pop rock moments where the vocals stretch for these high notes, only to crash down with joyous guitars like we get on “Swallowing Grains.” But, maybe your bag is that slow burning pop vibe, which you’ll find on “Best I Can,” shimmering its dreamy way right into your heart. All in all, if you just want a record that makes you feel good, spend some time with this LP today.
Feel like I was kind of hitting too much on the post-punk note, so its great to have this Luke Rathborne tune to get in on over here. There was just something simple, something that just seemed to come together perfectly here. Perhaps it was the perfect melody, perhaps the song’s execution, but every time I press play, I end up tapping my toes, trying to learn the words so that I can sing along. I love Rathborne’s performance on the chorus too, just pure pop genius and definitely fitting for a Friday afternoon cruise into the sunset. Turn it up folks, you won’t regret it.
As much as I adored, and still do, Future Me Hates Me, I think I’m most impressed by the slight tweaks the Beths are adding to their musical repertoire. Sure, I’d love another dozen rockers I can sing atop my lungs to my neighbors on my job, but you can’t make the same record over and over. On their latest single, you can still hear remnants of the first LP; Elizabeth Stokes has such a distinctive melodic delivery…a certain sharpness in how she drops certain syllables. Still, the rest of the song employs the use of space and patience, almost hinting at what we’d typically call a big pop rock ballad. Catchy and open, this might be the best tune we’ve heard from the new LP yet. Jump Rope Gazers is out July 10th via Carpark Records.
Forget Mondays. Tuesdays are the real struggle. The good news is I’ve got this nice little pop rocker from Seattle’s BOAT to get your day started. I love the way the band sets the tune up, toying with a softer side of indie rock in the opening moments before bounding down the road into the cheerful realms of hook-laden pop. There’s a slightly rough edge to the vocals in the chorus, cut up by a backing vocal that layers a nice softness just underneath. This tune appears on the group’s new LP, Tread Lightly, which is scheduled for release on May 1st; you can pre-order it HERE.