Natalie Jane Hill Shares New Single, Solely

There’s something really enchanting about Natalie Jane Hill‘s music. Her fingerpicking style creates this delicate intimacy, and for me, brings me back to the days listening to my dad’s old folk records as a kid. The guitar sliding through the background also is the perfect arrangement move, adding depth and forcing the song to overflow with emotion. Then we get Hill’s voice, which to me, feels like she’s lived a thousand years; it has this rich depth that’s pretty striking and unavoidable, particularly when she stretches it to reach higher notes. Plus, I’m just now realizing the amazing recording was done by Jason Chronis (Voxtrot/Tele Novella), so Natalie gets all the Austin love on our end. Her new album Solely is out October 29th via Dear Life Records.

Gold Star Gold Star Share If You Only Knew

Gold Star Gold Star is made up of two Adams, perhaps each carrying their own Gold Star. They began their musical friendship over a Beatles bond, carrying on from there to from Jungle Green…and now this current project. While at a certain point, any band can name drop the Beatles, it’s fair to say their current songwriting definitely harkens to that era of pop songwriting. That said, I do also hear a bit more of a doo-wop/crooner influence on this single, which is one of the reasons I love it so much. They manage to sort of switch gears casually and coyly in this song, which makes is supremely refreshing, especially for those of us with a nostalgic bent. Their debut, Introducing…Gold Star Gold Star, will be out later this year!

Girlatones Share Respond to Love

Opening a song with the chorus seems dangerous, unless you’re Girlatones; they’re a fearless pop outfit from Australia with loads of experience in writing hits. Their newest single jumps right in with this bouncing bop; you can’t listen to those first 15 seconds and not be in head over heels with this tune. The verses don’t let you down either, shimmering like some of the best power-pop you’re likely to hear this day, or ever. Oh, and just a little melodic left turn at the 1:10 minute? You didn’t see that coming did you! Horn if You’re Honky already has my favorite tune of the year, so add this to another reason we’ll be pumped for its release by Lost and Lonesome/Meritorio Records on March 20th.

Waves of Dread Share Deja Vu Single

It’s been a minute or so since Waves of Dread have shared anything new, but they’re back today with a brand new single, “Deja Vu.” Immediately, the song comes pounding in, smashing drums with fuzzy swirling through your speakers. But, more prominent is the band’s inclination to include some pop sensibility in this effort; it might just be the distant “ooh” in the chorus, but there’s surely an uplifting energy here. If you can’t hear it, just wait for the slowed little breakdown mid-track to hear what I’m hearing. I always enjoy what this bunch push out, so let’s hope we get more from the outfit in 2020!

Stream the New LP from Jungle Breed

When I first pressed play on Lennox, I was immediately hooked by the style of “Wasterr;” it has this sort of matter-of-fact delivery fused with a sort of DIY call-and-response. It’s just the sort of thing you’ll get when you listen through the entirety of the new LP from Jungle Breed. To me, you get this sort of realm that mashes up with ethos of Beat Happening with the modern feel of the Australian scene; “Soup” is the perfect example of what I’m talking about if you were curious. Multiple listens through, and personally, I’m super partial to “Routine,” particularly the chorus of said tune. If you’re digging it, the whole LP is now available courtesy of the folks over at Roolette Records.

Masculine Pain Share Hot Suit

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.

Downtrodden Pop Number from Psychic Lines

Perhaps my favorite thing to do on a Friday, aside from listening to music, is staring out the window, mapping out the joys of the weekend in my mind. Now, this new track from Psychic Lines feels a bit more downtrodden, so maybe it’s more fitting for a Sunday, but I can’t escape its sense of longing. It’s brevity makes it wash its emotional appeal over you quickly, like you’re getting advice from a dear friend as they rush out the door. See the photo up in the corner of songwriter Philip Jacob? He’s doing the same thing I’m doing, looking out into the world; he’s one of us. Go and listen to this track a bunch.

Dance-able Pop from Spooky Cigarette

Admittedly, sometimes pop music can get stale or blend in with like-minded artists. Spooky Cigarette is not that band! Their newest song hints at the current underbelly of indiepop, using twinkling guitars amidst a marching rhythm section. But, the vocals of Frank Mindingall have this dreamy yearning, that seems to work separate from the rest of the act. It ends up creating this frantic tornado of pop music that sweeps you out of your chair and into your go-to dance move. There’s just this undying carefree attitude being tossed about that definitely draws everyone into their musical galaxy. Keep an eye out for this San Diego bunch, as it looks like they’re having a hell of a time.

Stream Enter EP from Millbrook Estates

We’ve been covering the Millbrook Estates in some fashion since their inception (and perhaps before). If you couldn’t grasp from the Tim Leary reference in the band name, the group are aiming at perfecting their own blend of psychedelia. Aside from the opener, all the tracks on the Enter EP span beyond 4 minutes; this is important as it sets the tone for an expansiveness that branches beyond the confines of simple rehash. I think my favorite, at least in the last 24 hours, is “Alvin;” i just love the way David’s vocals hang in out there in the wind as the group swirl behind him. Get in on this while its hot!

Swirling Pop from Cruel Summer

Cruel Summer have made a name for themselves in the San Francisco scene, and they look like a continually rising star with the announcement of their new LP, Ivy. What I love about their new single is the way the guitars rise into the air like a smoke, billowing through your speakers as the vocals quietly, and softly, crawl out on top. It walks that careful line between dreamy pop and the gazier elements that modern listeners find endearing…I certainly could do with more songs like this. Look for their debut LP via Mt.St.Mtn. on June 30th.

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