New Music from Fantasy Rainbow

When I think about the greater effects of the Internet I always look to the likes of Dylan Baldi of Cloud Nothings, creating incredible music that seems rooted in real musical knowledge.  This is the exact sentiment I had when I listened to the track from teenage Oliver Catt, who’s gone on to form a new band with his friends titled Fantasy Rainbow.  Their latest single shows great depth in the songwriting, not to mention the quality of the recording itself.  It’s nice to know that with music now excessively abundant to the masses, a teenager lost in his own world can quietly listen to his idols and craft his own great sound. If you like what you hear, click on their name to check out other tracks from the band.

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New Jam From Field Mouse

We’re clearly a little late on this new jam from Field Mouse so let’s just get that out of the way and move about our business.  The new song at hand is called “How Do You Know” and is a nice little number that fits into the shoe gaze pop genre.  Sultry vocals here from lovely lady Rachel Browne are what really intrigue me about the track and help it to stand out from others in the genre.  This sweet new jam is available on a 7″ single coming your way from Lefse Records on October 16th.  Pre-Order here.

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Woods – Bend Beyond

Rating: ★★★★☆

Honestly, I’ve never been one-hundred percent behind Woods.  Some of their tunes have been really good, and others I could have done without, but when you’re working as hard as this band, sometimes you get lost in the fold.  But, Bend Beyond is a pretty exceptional record, and it’s definitely gotten a hold of me.

You couldn’t have asked for a better opening track than “Bend Beyond,” which clearly owes a bit to California pop of yesteryear.  The song opens slowly, but when the chorus begins to take off in this perfect melody, it won me over completely.  Sure, there’s a bit much of the guitar noodling for my typical liking, but with the striking harmony as the central player, I can forgive that. And they followed it up with “Cali in a Cup,” a song that immediately had me awkwardly stomping about my stereo room with a huge grin upon my face.  One listen here and you’ll remember why those of us who are pop lovers really love music.  At this point, Bend Beyond is two for two.

I promise you, Woods aren’t letting up, but they do offer more than just this folk-laden sunny pop.  You don’t have to go too far to find “It Ain’t Easy;” it’s a number that mostly revolves around gentle guitar strumming and vocals.  You’ll hear some faint slide guitar shimmering in the background, providing the song with more depth, but it’s not like that’s needed, as the track’s pretty special standing on its own.  Or they can go in a completely different direction, just as they do on “Find Them Empty.” It opens with this shattering psychedelic guitar noise, which never fully fades away, circling in and out about the central idea of the track.  Definitely a pop tune, similar to the earlier tracks mentioned, but with a bit of ballsy guitar work making it something else entirely.

I’m not really sure what is about this release that has made me completely warm to the band, but right now I’m leaning towards the undeniable consistency on Bend Beyond.  You can skip all the way from the first track to “Impossible Skys,” which is the second to last track here, still seeing some lineage in the sense that they’re still grooming blissful pop tunes.  In fact, the majority of the songs in this collection share the same sentiment, though there are some differing variables that I’ve previously mentioned; those differences provide just another variation to leave you with a record that never sounds the same, but always sounds cohesive.

Ultimately, that’s where Woods leave off on this record, giving you a record that’s tied nicely together by the band’s focus.  You’re not going to get bored listening to this album, but you’re surely going to leave your listening experience with happier ears.  Some bands make pop music, others add elements of pop to their folk music, and when it’s done as well as it on Bend Beyond, you’re not going to see too many people complain.

New Pop Tune from Empress Hotel

Personally, I think a good pop tune supersedes all allegiance to hipsterdom and elements of cool.  And in that spirit, I’ve fallen for this new track from Empress Hotel.  The New Orleans-based group will be releasing their Heavy Halo album via Park the Van Records on September 11th.  On their latest single, they’re just getting into a nice solid groove, allowing the natural hook within the song to make its way into your ears. You get the feeling that these dudes were sitting around, relaxing and writing fun tunes that warmed their hearts. Sounds like a recipe for a really fun time. See for yourself.


Download:Empress Hotel – Holly [MP3]

New Pop Jam From French Cassettes

A friend of ours just tipped us off to this up and coming band French Cassettes the other day and I’m glad he did.  The band are a sort of jangly pop type who tend to have qualities similar to Mystery Jets early stuff or even a bit of Albert Hammond Jr. here and there  It’s a little bit immature at times, but still refreshing to hear a band that can have some pick up in their step.  This tune “Radley” is being promoted as a single for the group’s recently released EP Summer Darling.  You can stream that one in it’s entirety or even download for free over on bandcamp.


Download: French Cassettes – Radley [MP3]

New Aussie Pop from Bored Nothing

I don’t think my week would be complete here without spending some time forcing my love for all things Australia on you folks.  My latest discovery is Melbourne’s Bored Nothing, who’ve just put this new track up on their site from their Bored Nothing III EP.  One of the things I’m really enjoying about this tune is the slightest rise in the pitch on the vocals; you’ve got to listen closely to hear the switch.  It’s a mellow tune, but it exemplifies the great scene that is currently going on overseas…be it garage rock or bedroom pop, keep it coming if it sounds this ridiculously good.


Download:Bored Nothing – I Wish You Were Dead [MP3]

New Road Trippin’ Tune From Suburban Living

So as I was saying yesterday with that sweet Summerays track, it’s never too late to sneak in a few more summer tunes before the season is over.  This summer themed tune “I Don’t Fit In” comes from Norfolk based group Suburban Living.  It feels like a great song to have on a playlist as you head out on the road westwards for your last few days of vacation.  You may remember that I posted up another new song from the band “Float in Clouds” earlier this summer.  Once again, a new EP entitled Cooper’s Dream will be available on July 31st.


Download: Suburban Living – I Don’t Fit In [MP3]

We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves – Make A Mess of Sacred Ground

Rating: ★★★★☆

I’ve been pleasantly following the career of We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves for well over a year, and it seems to have all come to a head with their excellent new LP, Make a Mess of Sacred Ground.  Sure, you’re going to find hints of Smiths and Northern Soul all over the record, but this isn’t your typical re-hash; the group’s songwriters are too good to be run-of-the-will.

The first time I heard “Winsome William,” the opening track, I knew it was going to be a hit.  There’s that happening stomp and jangling guitars, then the vocals come in with this crooning swagger; it’s absolute bliss.  They’ve captured the best part of the Northern Soul movement, providing you with a song where you can swing your lover about, whilst still having lyrical content that begs attention.  While the sharpness of the guitars doesn’t necessarily continue in the same fashion on “Stop Moving,” the rolling drum beat that opens the track definitely makes way for some good listens. Personally, I love the urgency in the vocal delivery; you can hear the passion behind the voice–with lyrics that lean towards a sort of Dev Hynes construction.

Make A Mess of Sacred Ground isn’t just going to beat you over the head with jangle rock; the group loves the soul aspect to boot!  “Heart in a Sling” beings almost as if you’re chilling in a hip lounge somewhere, listening to a tight backing band support their favorite crooner.  Then the group joins in to take you on a twangy crash into the seas of pop precision.  Interestingly, they take a completely different approach altogether with the following track, “Eloise.”  It’s similar in structure to the album’s opener, yet here you’ll find a quieted acoustic guitar with vocals soaring at the front of the mix.  I was already in love with this song from the beginning, but then some string arrangements join in for accompaniment and I swooned; I can’t stop listening to this track.

If you haven’t heard of We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves, then you’re definitely in for a treat once you put this record on play.  From the spirited opener of “Winsome William” to the jangling bookend “Devil in the Old Folk’s Home,” you’ve got a diverse set of eight tracks that wrap themselves around your brain and heart.  Make a Mess of Sacred Ground is a quick listen, but it’s so infectious that you won’t be able to resist flipping it over and playing it again and again.  If you’re looking for a flawless record that you can show off to all your cool friends, then pick this one up and hopefully we can help spread the word about this great band.


Download: We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves – Devil In The Old Folks’ Home [MP3]

Warm Pop Gem from Cinderpop

The single for Cinderpop’s newest album has been floating around for quite some time, but I hadn’t really given it too much of a listen until I started spinning Manic Sparkles repeatedly on my player.  It’s an album that’s chock-full of wonderful pop tunes that recall all sorts of influences, from the Lucksmiths to Sloan to Nada Surf.  These are the sorts of influences that make me swoon, so I’m happy to have re-discovered the band and their classic pop sound.  I feel like more people should be writing music like this, but if they’re not, I’ve always got great bands like this to enjoy.


Download:Cinderpop – Florentine [MP3]

White Arrows – Dry Land Is Not a Myth

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Some bands manage to get the timing just right, and as we move closer the official arrival of Summer it seems that White Arrows have arrived with their debut right on time.  Dry Land Is Not a Myth is filled with an electronic influence that’s aimed more at dance floors than bedroom pop experiments; it’s best listened to at high volumes with a bunch of your friends.

When you start off with “Roll Over” you can grasp at the live performance by White Arrows; the guitars are much more prominent, and the vocals unfold carefully, creating a bit of anxiety as the song builds towards the spastic chorus.  But, the album doesn’t fully kick in until you’ve reached “Get Gone,” the following track on Dry Land Is Not a Myth.  Here, you’ll find the band spinning their style around sampled beats, though you still get some angular guitar parts stuttering in the background.  Hand claps compliment the stuttering vocal delivery, and if proper volume is reached, you’re going to be bouncing around your room.

For me, “Coming and Going” is the heart and soul of the record, not to say bright moments are absent beyond, but this is a record built on electronica, and combined with the soulful crooning of the chorus, you can feel the classic pop seeping through the cracks with hints of oddball programmed sounds subtly creeping in to the track; it’s much like a track you’d expect Hot Chip to throw your way–there’s soul, but there’s also a dance element. It matches well with the closer on Dry Land Is Not a Myth, “Fireworks at Sea.”  There’s a wash of electronic atmospherics that coats the song in a sort of fog, but that’s juxtaposed with sprightly guitar licks and a bouncy vocal delivery from Mickey Church.  “Get Gone” might be a hit, but these two tracks exemplify the sound of White Arrows when they’re at their best.

But, it’s not all about beating you over the head with dance jams; the group also goes into more traditional rock n’ roll territory, only with an electronic bent.  “I Can Go” is one such song where the guitar seems to be the focus of the track, rather than the throbbing rhythm from some machine.  That being said, it does make the record a bit disjointed in parts, which I blame on the sequencing of the tracks.  Thrown somewhere else, this is a fitting track, but following three dance heavy songs, it seems amiss.  Still, band’s, especially on their debut, are allowed some missteps, are they not?

As a debut, Dry Land Is Not a Myth is quite a statement. It’s an album filled with hooks, both in the songwriting and the vocals. The songs don’t run too long, so you’re not going to feel burdened by redundancy, instead you’ll feel energized as the group provides you with exciting pop jams over and over again.   It’s a solid debut, and one that will surely give White Arrows claim to the perfect claim to Summer Album 2012.


Download:White Arrows – Fireworks Of The Sea [MP3]

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