It’s been a crazy year, and a depressing year, so perhaps we all retreated more into our record collections to seek out that fleeting joy. On my end, I spent a lot of time running/walking in the ‘burbs, so these are the records that played the most in my life…thus they are my Favorite Albums of 2020. The validity means little to anyone other than myself, but since you stop by, perhaps come by and check out my list!
And, just an FYI…there are 30 bands, and I linked back to Bandcamp pages so you can buy directly from the artists…except that one band because apparently they’re too cool…even though that album rips.
We’re getting to the home-stretch of 2020, and dammit if it hasn’t been a slog. Luckily, there some really shining moments hanging on the horizon, like A Strange Dream, the latest LP from Smokescreens. David Kilgour of The Clean produced the record, so its gotten a lot of buzz, but the album is so much more than that. On this single, the band sort of bounces back and forth with this sort of hard jangle sound, spun around these psychedelic gusts of melodic wind that breeze through the verses. I was already on board, but the euphoric choral moment around the 1:36 minute just warmed my heart enough to make it through a Texas winter. A Strange Dream will be released by Slumberland Records on October 30.
I’ll be the first to admit, this new Smokescreens LP might be the gift I most needed this year, yet didn’t actually know it was on its way. Sure, throw in David Kilgour (the Clean) on production duties and you’ve already got my attention, but I’m just enamored with this latest single. Immediately, the song just builds on textures, guitar strum and a thin beat work in unison with a tinkering bit of keys, awaiting the vocals; that voice comes in a bit of a sort of devil-may-care, matter-of-fact manner, perfectly fitting the song’s vibe. All that said, I wasn’t head over heels until the swelling of backing vocals that began to brim just before the 1 minute mark; it’s a sublime pop moment that stuck with me when the song came to a close. A Strange Dream is out via Slumberland Records on October 30th.
Los Angeles’ outfit Smokescreens are definitely a group that we can get behind, especially after you consider how much I enjoyed Used to Yesterday. So, today, we get double the good news (and really triple)…first, the band have a new album coming out on Slumberland Records and second we have that new single below! But, the icing on the cake, aside from the excellent new music, is that it was produced by David Kilgour of the Clean; he also designed the album art work. There’s definitely a very Go-Betweens nod, particularly in the way the song opens with that guitar line. I love how the vocals sort of wash over you, much like the waves of the ocean repeatedly crashing upon you as the sun beats down upon your skin; its joyous and warm. We’ll keep you posted as the A Strange Dream‘s release date draws near.
Thursday night is as good a night as any for a rock show, and all of Austin is in for a treat, should they choose to visit Hotel Vegas on said night. You get two great traveling acts in the Molochs and Smokescreens, the latter associated to our site’s highly regarded fave label, Slumberland Records…not to mention a Terry Malts/Business of Dreams connection. If you haven’t, as we suggested, picked up Used to Yesterday, then we suggest you do so now. The Molochs, for their part, will likely play a good deal off their forthcoming LP, Flowers in the Spring, so why not sneak a peak? And, both Tres Oui and the Zoltars will be peforming on the night, both ATH approved! Doors are at 9!
Another day and another post related to Slumberland Records…what can you say…the labels so hot right now. Today we’ve got the latest video from newly adored Smokescreens, who are prepping Used to Yesterday for a July release. This track is a dedicated ode to the band’s New Zealand influences, where you can hear the guitars working against each other in unison to craft a melody that seeps over into the vocals. I love some of the gang vocals on this track; they’re recorded in such a way as you can barely decipher between one voice, uniting the band as a singular pop entity. The song rules, the band rules (and they’ll be touring throughout August, so be on the lookout!).
Seems like just the other day we were praising the first Smokescreens single from the band’s news album, and already, they’re back with a sunny number to sweeten the summer season. Musically speaking, it sounds like the Replacements decided to create a jangle pop band…so they’ve got that going for them. The vocal display has this inherent bounce that gives the tune that memorable punch that will surely keep you coming back for more. I don’t know about you, but I get the feeling that Used to Yesterday is going to be a smash summer hit; it drops on July 13th via Slumberland.
I’ve been fans of Corey Cunningham (Terry Malts) and Chris Rosi (Plateaus) for some time, and to them blossom with their Smokescreens project is really special. They’ve just announced their latest LP Used to Yesterday, which will be released later this year via Slumberland Records. My favorite bit of this song is the guitar work, they seem to cascade in a shimmering wall, falling down from your speaker whilst the rhythm section keeps a steady bounce. There’s also something special about the vocals, they have this youthful sense of longing that’s naturally present in their delivery. If pop music is your bag, look for this LP to drop on July 12th.
Admittedly, I’ve got a bit of a man crush on Corey Cunningham (musically speaking); I’ll swear by anything he does…Terry Malts, Business of Dreams…and now Smokescreens. Even better, is he’s teamed up on this project with Chris Rosi of Plateaus (they’ve been quiet lately, amiright?). The end result is something you’d expect if you knew the history of these bands: huge pop with sound with enough grit for you to still act like you’re tough. While the bouncy verses are great, I’m stuck on trying to hit the same perfect notes that come in the glorious chorus. Their new tape hitson February 2nd via Parked in Hell.