Admittedly, I was all in with the reemergence of psych rock that came with things like Levitation and the like. But, after a few years, it got kind of boring; it felt like everyone was recycling the same bits and pieces, and I just grew weary of listening to the same song over and over. Fast forward to now, and there’s this new LP from the Flower Graves. It was presented to me as two halves of an LP; sure, there are song breaks, but the presentation really let me immerse myself within the album’s confines…which is how I fell in love with it. You can find the stereotypical psych tropes, like fuzzed out riffs and smokey guitar noodling, but peak beneath the songs and you’ll find this striking pop sensibility. “Living in Disguise,” for instance, definitely employs a stronger sense of melody than one typically finds, leaning almost towards dreamy pop realms. I’m partial to Side B’s “Plastic Orange;” it feels like a pop hot air balloon just slowly descends atop the whole LP, which, in turn, sets you up for the heavy riffs of “Night Byrd.” The whole Living in Disguise LP is a journey, but one easily worth your time today; the album drops Friday via Wallflower Records.
Having formed in 2016, Belgium’s Poppel don’t seem to have slowed down on the writing process; they just released Hit It last year, and already they’re back with another collection of endearing songs. This playful new video comes with the announcement of Make Sense, the band’s second long-player. The video’s personality almost seems to impact the listening experience, with those jangling guitars offering up the appropriate amount of exuberance. Still, stylistically, you can sense a hint of dreaminess oozing through this track, which perhaps finds the band treading that Real Estate territory that makes the kids swoon. You can grab the new album on September 20th from Meritorio Records.
Late yesterday, B-Boys dropped another tune from their forthcoming Dudu LP, which is now only a few weeks away from release. But, while their previous singles this go-round have been these short punchy jaunts, this new number stretches beyond the four minute mark. Interestingly, it still holds onto the same propulsive art-punk vibe with sort of indifferent spoken-word delivery; it does differ with touches more of instrumental work where the band are able to flex their muscles, only building tension in their songwriting for the emotional release of the listener. It’s supposed to offer up a bit of respite from the “instant pace” in everything we do, which perhaps is why the band have chosen to sit back and let you explore this track a little more. Dudu drops via Captured Tracks on July 26th.
Great pop rock comes few and far between, but it definitely seems like a lot of it has been coming from Mal Blum in the last few months, building anticipation for the release of Pity Boy. It’s a pretty classic formula with verse chorus verse etc, but dammit if this chorus won’t get stuck in your head all day long; I love the infectiousness that begs for a sing-a-long in the live set. The subject matter seems deals with the narrator feeling invisible, which could relate to Mal Blum or not; I’m sure we’ve all felt that way at times, unfortunately. Jus another reason to connect to Pity Boy; it drops Friday via Don Giovanni.
Last week while you were celebrating America, I was celebrating the great music to come our way in 2019. One of the albums at the top of my list was Kebab Disco by Neutrals. Today, they’ve shared a video for one of the album’s standout hits, so I feel like you should enjoy it, if only for another reference point on as to why you need this LP. The opening moments are owned by that bass line, brooding and bopping before the guitar jumps in to sort of skirt and dance around it. There’s this disaffected youth vibe to the track, which is perhaps why I adore it so much…something youthful and rebellious…I’m grasping at straws in my old age. Regardless, if you like the song, buy the album from Emotional Response.
I don’t really need too much of a reason to shed light on the genius that is Azure Blue, but, since I’ve really enjoyed Images of You (not to mention all the previous releases), it only makes sense to share this video from the album. I think one of the biggest joys of this song is that Tobias’ voice is really the focal point on this number…which is one of a handful of slow tunes on the latest LP. But, that’s important because it’s so easy to get lost in the hook-laden pulse of electronica he’s crafted, yet when peeled away, it’s clear that it’s his voice that has always carried the melody. Plus, it’s the perfect bookend to another brilliant release; it’s available now via Hyrbis/Matinee Recordings.
I’m not sure why this Copenhagen outfit hadn’t popped up on my radar until recently, but I’m really grateful to stumble back a few weeks to the release of Frugte EP, losing myself in the immense wall of sound the Danes have built. One of the album’s standout tunes, “Traffic,” just sort of hangs out there with this drum beat, solitary and alone; then guitars being to fuzzily drift in from the left speaker; then another guitar carefully glides in through the other speaker, paving the way for the deep deep vocal tones. If you’re one of those that fancies themselves a fan of noisy shoegaze with pop sensibility, then do yourself a solid and go get lost in the music of Why Sun.
I felt like the first 20 seconds of this song had me circling the track, watching it unfold from above as some sort of celestial being. Of course, that’s probably what Purple Pilgrims would want for any listener, as they craft this spaced pop that seems to expand beyond the realm of our own universe. There’s core lyrics, but they’re accented by this angelic haunt that sort of drifts in and out of the mix, as if that core vocal is this central force from which the whole of their musical galaxy expands. The group return to us mortals with their album Perfumed Earth on August 9th via Flying Nun Records.
I’ve always been a fan of the Golden Dregs, especially when Lafayette came out back in 2018. But, not nearly a year later, Benjamin Woods and his project are back with a new collection of songs for your ears, Hope is for the Hopeless. I think he’s slightly changed his sound, though is storytelling and wordplay always remain central to his craft. This particular number reminds me an awful lot of old M. Ward, it has that natural warmth contrasted with this underlying darkness, perhaps because of Wood’s deepened vocal tones. I’ll always stand by and support if/and you’re offering of this brand of quiet elegance; the new LP drops this Fall!