There’s a whole lot of alliteration in that headline, but there’s a whole lot of reasons to listen to Chicago’s The Hazy Seas too. For one, you can’t tell me that as soon as those guitars start dancing their way into the scene that you’re not just tapping your toes incessantly. The rhythmic pulse adds extra bounce too, giving this song great energy to push things forward. Interestingly, there’s nice juxtaposition with the vocals, coated and cloudy, kind of this dark solemnity, which matches up with the song’s lyrics taking on the subject of making tough decisions and feeling lost while others look on at your life. The group will release their debut LP in early January of next year, so keep your eyes peeled.
It’s Tuesday, so it’s time to turn your stereos way up and have yourself a little fun, and what better way than with some fresh power-pop from Wild Flowers of America. The video is a sort of homage to the stylistic choices of late 70s/early 80s Elvis Costello videos, and to be honest, the song’s not too far off either. It starts with this almost muted guitar riff, harnessing the natural pop energy behind those riffs, only to unleash them in the chorus in a grand fashion. I definitely appreciate the good old rock n’ roll solo that closes the tune out; this is some of the best pop rock you’ll hear all week! This jam appears on Lost in the Salvation Army, out this Friday via Crutch of Memory Enterprises.
I hadn’t heard Sanders Smith’s solo work as Soft Maybe, but as a fan of Wrinkles, I was definitely pleased to hear his solo work. I was immediately sucked in by the playful delivery of his lyrics, as he seemingly bounces from syllable to syllable, putting emphasis where it will match the guitarmony; it builds in a natural hook, allowing the song to go its own way when necessary. The first time that happens (just around the 1 minute mark) is where I knew I had fallen in absolute love; I’m always going to fall in love with coy backing vocals. For me, it sounds a lot like all your garage rock faves of the late 00s, though pulling away those distorted guitars for a more crisp pop sound filled with fun hooks. This ditty will appear on the debut LP, Domestic Nature, available on November 13th via Anything Bagel.
It’s funny that Portland trio Lubec have titled their new EP Against Nature; it feels like the perfect fit to the band’s sound at the moment as they take all these forces and work them against each other. Five seconds into the track and the guitars come crashing through the speakers; it has this discordant math-iness to it, which, in a sense, sort of recalls the style of Braid/Hey Mercedes. But, you contrast that sort of brash artiness with the group’s inclination towards pop sensibility, which is present here through Caroline’s vocal work, juxtaposed with the rougher surface. You could flip that too, talk about the heaviness as it would relate to a thunderous Northwest storm, only to find itself in a calming middle moment, moving to a fade out that forces reflection…it’s the precise way in which this very tune unfolds; the perfect amalgam of nature’s forces, all acting at once, against each other, and yet together. Such is the great execution of this song…and EP. Look for it this Friday via Disposable America.
I’ve been covering the Finnish music scene for the last several years, and generally, I feel as if I’ve got a fair understanding of the musical landscape. That said, Cats of Transnistria always keep me guessing, as they seemingly do within their own works; they’ve evolved into this sort of brilliant slow-core pop act that fans of Bedhead or early Low would fawn over. Here, you feel the emotional tension build for over 2 minutes before the vocal notes dare peek into the track. From there we add textures, and at times, it seems like we’re losing touch with melody, losing ourselves in this discordant moment, only to be calmed by the warm blanket of song. I love the little imperfections, or the ones that seem as such, illustrating a desire to capture every emotion in its present state, perfect or not. This is cinematic brilliance captured in song form, which is what we can expect when Aligning drops via Soliti Music on November 29th.
The latest hit from Tino Drima is the perfect pop tune, rising up and down with melodies, spinning you in circles, and joining you to shout at the heavens. “Doctor” opens up on a playful piano backbone, twirling you about as the ivories are tickled and giving the song an emphatic stomp that’s joyous as can be. Suddenly, at the 1:40 mark, your offered up this operatic belting, like a haunting howl of harmony that seeps into your skin building towards the shouted coda that wraps up the song’s musical plot. Up and down, down and up, this track has it all, leading one to believe that Suitin’ Up, their new EP will have it all; it drops on October 11th via Park the Van.
Austin’s Masculine Pain are fairly new to the scene, though its various members are longtime staples of the music scene here. You’ll recognize the vocals of Eric Braden of Big Bill, while Nate Cardaci of Tres Oui/Literature and Tim Bond round things out. This one’s a slow-burner, building over beats and a bobbing bass line; it’s the perfect setting for Braden’s vocal delivery, matching each syllable to the movement. Dreamy guitar notes filter in from the background as Braden sings “I’m not in control.” For me, the climax comes right at the 1:50, the mood twists, guitars and synths wash in more of a dream vibe, and as the vocals match, it’s this huge wall of euphoria blasting you right in the face; I should have been expecting this. Putting great songwriters together doesn’t always work, except when it does…and here, it does.
Sasha Bell has a remarkable resume; she’s been a key part of Ladybug Transistor, Essex Green and The Sixth Great Lake…and now she’s stepping out on her own with Love is Alright. There are definitely some musical elements that will sound familiar; the first thing that stuck out to me was the dreaminess of the guitars churning in the background, combining that sparkling jangle with crisp notes that ring out in step with her vocals. I was really drawn to the space the song allowed around the 2 minute mark, allowing some air to sort of breathe into the song, giving off this celestial quality you won’t forget. Of course, the power of Bell’s vocals can mesmerize you as well; I love the way certain notes get curled from emphatic delivery to understated elegance at the end of syllables. Quite a start to a solo career; Love Is Alright will be out November 8th via Both Sides Now.
It’s yet another warm morning here in Austin and I’m needing some chill music to help me ease into this long week. Thankfully my new friend Thomas Howard sent over this new song “No One Else Around”, recorded under his musical project Orchid Mantis. It’s been the perfect song to chill my Monday stress and ease me into the day. The beat is impeccable, the recording is tight, and the vocals blend in almost perfectly. Great track.
I’m a sucker for singles; I get songs stuck way inside my head, like the latest single from Brooklyn’s Shadow Monster. For a two piece, this tune packs a lot of punch, a combination of the distortion ringing out from Gillian Visco’s guitar and the crashing cymbal (and fill) work put down by drummer John Swanson. Visco has this softness to her voice, also present in the guitar notes beneath the first layer of fuzz; it builds this slow moving tension, moving back and forth like a pendulum of impending release. Just at the two minute mark we get that glorious emotional release (somehow it sent me down a Get Up Kids wormhole), but it’s a glorious way to close out with some cacophony. The band will release their album Punching Bag via Dadstache Records on October 11th.
They’ll be celebrating the release of this new single at Our Wicked Lady in Brooklyn on 9/4.