We’re over a year or so into this pandemic, and we’re all tired. For me, the Zoom meetings, the lack of interaction with my students, etc just drains me, so this tune from Verandan (who I adore) is perfectly fitting, both in sonic feel and thematically. To paraphrase Ville Hopponen, the tune’s about putting work behind you at the end of the season and sailing off into the unknown…be it tragedy or adventure…you take it all on openly. Interestingly, the music feels similar, to me. It begins with pushing the musical boat out to see and raising the sail, catching a gust and moving a little quicker. But, the seas are mostly calm here, so you’re carefully cutting through the sea to an unknown destination. This single comes to you courtesy of Soliti!
Remember when you bought that first (or second) Camera Obscura record, and then they came in and blew you away with Let’s Get Out of This Country? Well, I do, and those are the same vibes I’m getting listening through to the singles on the next Quivers LP. For instance, take their latest single “Hold You Back;” it’s got a punchy drum stomp, with Sam weaving and wrapping his vocal notes around every corner. But, those bits were already there on their debut, We’ll Go Riding on the Hearses, but, with this LP, it’s all about those little arrangement details that make you swoon at the band’s feat. Strings hit you immediately here, then they come in and out of the song to build a deep texture that you only get with the best pop songs. Oh, and if you want the real special bit, wait for Holly and Bella to sweep you away with dreamy vocals around the 2:45 mark. Golden Doubt hits on June 11th via Bobo Integral. There’s a video version HERE too!
Long ago the Sheeps were part of the Austin scene, though they’ve since moved on to North Carolina; its a bummer that they’re not, as I’m pretty sure I’d be fighting off folks to release their music. They’ve got this sort of timeless pop vibe going through their tunes, something you’d expect to find going on in a hazy den somewhere in the late 60s. Of course, the band’s indifferent to your presence, so locked into what they’re doing here, offering a heavy croon and some poppy backing tracks to lift it up a bit into that sort of nu-paisely style. This track just sort of feels like I need it right now, like we all need it…or at least that’s where my brain is at!
I don’t often get struck by vocals as much as I might have been at a younger age as a music fan, but when I turned on the latest tune from Sweden’s Wy, I’ll admit that Ebba’s voice just hit me immediately. The song’s barely even begun, almost like the duo are still tuning when suddenly she just belts out the first notes; she’s got this huge voice, yet almost instantly she pulls it back to quietly lull you into the core of the track. She plays with that dynamic throughout the song, alternating between striking and softness, but its the songwriting that really gives the tune/vocals clarity. Every note seems purposeful, careful not to get in the way of the other notes, tying everything together in one ridiculously wonderful pop tune. You can find this track on the group’s new Marriage LP, out May 7th via Rama Lama Records.
Are you ready to get your summer playlist jacked up? Yeah you are! You want that perfect hit for cruising through the streets, warm breeze blowing through your hair; I know you do! Well, luckily, we get news that French band Pastel Coast is going to be dropping their follow-up to Hovercraft this summer via Shelflife Records/Groover. Listening through, its frantic pop, with a little bit of indiepop flare to it, but to be frank (“Hello, I’m Frank!), the song is super reminiscent of Phoenix before they became mainstream crossover darlings. Think about Phoenix circa It’s Never Been Like That, particularly “Rally.” The same sort of hook-laden pop potential courses through this Pastel Coast tune, but just as you’re about to pigeonhole the sound, the band seduces you with a counter melody that draws out the song’s approach, dipping their toes in a dreamier bit. You get it all here, and most of all, you get to revel in a great pop tune; Sun will drop this June!
I’ve really been enjoying the bobbing pop feels of Baby Combat and their latest single “No Stranger Thing,” an ode to the TV show. I’ll admit, that it moves in a bit slowly, almost as if the band are happy to sit back and let you come to them; it reminds me of Beulah at their very best, toying with us by luring us into their pop trappings. Here, Baby Combat erupts at the chorus with this really light-hearted pop twist that’s definitely undeniable, at least if you’re a sucker for all things pop. Plus, if you check the single version, it comes with a slew of remixes to see what other artists are thinking of the project.
By now our adoration for Phil Sutton should be known to you, whether he’s working Pale Lights or his solo project, Love, Burns. Today, he’s offering up a glimpse at what he’s got coming down the pipeline, with an alternative mix on one of the new tunes from his next LP. It’s got this heavy classic pop vibes, as if you’re hanging out in some seedy den watching the world whiz by you, carefully captivated. But, you also get an exclusive single here, with a little more classic pop sounds; I really love the way Phil pushes his vocals on the chorus moment in this tune, soaring over those jangling guitar chords. Plus, the drumming from Hampus Ohman-Frolund is quite special. If you grab the single, all proceeds are going to Sandy Hook Promise!
With the release of their album about a week away, I wanted to point you all in the direction of Stray Fossa one last time. They release With You For Ever next Friday, and while I’ve offered you other singles, this one might just do the trick, right? Slowly trickling in, tiptoeing with a light strum and feathery voice, the song soon drops in from dreamscape to more texturized indie sound before launching off into their chilled pop room where we can all get lost. I loved the intermission, grooving and a touch more emphatic, giving the song that special bop that makes the kids swoon. Trust me, this is solid solid pop! Look for With You For Ever next Friday.
Wouldn’t you believe it? Two great labels unite to bring a great new band from San Francisco? The Telephone Numbers just announced The Ballad of Doug via Paisley Shirt Records and Meritorio, two labels we’ve written about numerous times. Oh, and is that a Glenn Donaldson sighting in the credits? That’s like the hottest commodity in songwriting right now. But, all hyperbole aside, the light circular ring of the guitar strum and harmonizing in the vocal work is just the delightful side of pop I’d like to call home. Thomas Rubenstein’s vocals on his own do have this heavy indiepop tinge, not unlike our friends in Tres Oui, which seems fitting given both bands adoration of Prefab Sprout. Required listening? Duh! The record’s out on June 4th!
Kevin Hairs is a true artists, not only writing songs, but also creating the own album art for each release, as well as other artistic endeavors. Today, lets rejoice that there’s a new collection of Hairs tunes titled Dad of the Universe; it’s the perfect musical gift for pop fans, with the majority of the tracks just barely stretching beyond the 1 minute mark this round. It’s almost as if the songwriting process was like chewing shitty bubblegum. Get all that sweetness that you can out of each song, then move onto the next piece, and do it all over again. “Dad of the Universe” is a spectacular song, twisting these great guitar chords and light jangling around Kevin’s vocals; I love how the mix has those two elements sharing the limelight. “The Who Heard the Who” has this heavier guitar feel that I’m totally digging on too, kind of sliding down the scales in this continuous musical free fall. If you like your pop guaranteed, spend some times with Dad of the Universe.