My first introduction to DUMB was when Eric Bill and I were working on Slack Capital; it was a compilation filled with 19 incredible songs (don’t forget Slack Cap 3 this year where Bad Boy Croy pops up), but nothing felt more like Austin than “I Don’t Wanna Die on I-35.” Lately Corey Baum has been focusing on his other project Croy and the Boys, but just this week DUMB popped back up with this great track and video. I love how the song seems to incorporate both sides of Corey’s songwriting, bringing in a bit of twang to a classic power pop aesthetic, always sure to instill a solid hook to boot! Plus, it never hurts to have a sense of humor, and I’m only wishing this song was true!
Having really enjoyed the debut LP from Chicago’s Alpine Subs, we’re back to inform you that they’ve just dropped their Sweethaven LP via Subjangle, and I’m encouraging you to spend some time here. While their debut was this mix between crunchy college rock and jangling guitars, it seems like this round they’re sitting round the campfire with the Grateful Dead, with a pop focus, of course. Listen to “Clear Blue Waters” and tell me it doesn’t sound like its rooted in the Dead’s pre-jam period. To me, it all feels more personable, like there’s this communal aspect drawing us all near, uniting us in the melodic tendencies that are present. I love “Keeping You” and its Nada Surf leanings during the chorus, but have also been gravitating towards the playful swagger of “Live Forever.” Go on and get your listen on below.
Seems like we’re spending a lot of time in California today, coming in with Giant Cats, a fairly new project from the OC’s Matt Williams. I didn’t have to wait around to be hooked, as this new single drops those warped jangling guitars on top of a pounding drum beat from the get-go; it has that sort of spinning swirl of the dancefloor as the fog machine billows smoke right behind you. It’s the prefect little indiepop nod too, with Wililams choosing to soothe your ears with a tenderness that contrasts the tune’s natural energetic movement. This is bedroom pop music at its finest, at least if you’re asking me! The single will be available everywhere Friday via In Black Records.
There’s not a ton of information about Awful Sirs out there, other than the fact that the band call Oakland home. I guess all I know at this point is that I’m really hooked on this ditty they just dropped; its kind of scuzzy and garage-y; you know, it employs those rough around the edges, not quite surf licks. But, that rhythm section gives the song this natural pogo bounce, making your whole life worth jumping about…even when its not! In fact, this seems to be the band’s specialty, as their entire new album Looking Up is chock full of like-minded hook-laden pop rockers.
We haven’t heard too much from Will Courtney since he dropped Crazy Love back in 2018, but we’ve always been a fan of the former Brothers and Sisters songwriter. But, due to the troubles of writing songs with his band the Wild Bunch, the group decided to hone in on some cover of their favorite artists, like Randy Newman, JJ Cale…or the below tune from Nick Lowe. All the songs seem to speak to not only the band’s difficulties in jamming/songwriting, but also to the greater difficulties we all have been facing during this pandemic. If you want to hear the original, you can find it HERE, but I really love how Will and company turned the natural Americana aesthetic from the tune into the track’s real focus. If you dig on this, the whole collecting titled At Home with Will Courtney and the Wild Bunch will be out on August 14th.
It hasn’t been too long since Cool Sounds dropped More to Enjoy, and already we have the Sleepers EP to enjoy. Aside from “Upside Down,” the tracks on this EP seem much more patient and reflective. When I started this post, I was really digging on “Dakota,” particularly in the way the vocals were delivered, almost like a playful hiccup amidst the forlorn cries of the guitar. But, “Carry On” is currently winning me over, and seems the most likely to be played on repeat throughout the day; I just love the weight of the vocals, seemingly matching the song’s title, just trying to push through. Always a good day to get a set of songs from this Aussie outfit; out on all the platforms today!
A few weeks back we introduced you, or so we hoped, to the new project of Matt Sklar and Federica Tassano named Phantom Handshakes. Tomorrow, they’ll drop their brand new Be Estranged EP, but you can sample it here first!
The opening tracks set the stage for a dream pop meets jangle world; the guitars twist and turn in that angular post-punk dance I dig, while Federica lets her heavenly voice weave in and out of those chords. Still, you get a touch of respite in “At Rest” coming in with more oa subdued pop performance by Tassano; it’s all about her voice, despite the twinkling behind her. Jump ahead to “You Are an Idea” and you’ll find my favorite number of the 7; there’s a purity to the presentation, its clear of all pretense, giving listeners this purely elegant pop song. “Drift Away” is the perfect closing send-off for this EP; both the title and the effect of the song have you sailing away on this pillowy cloud of escapism. Be Estranged will be available on all platforms tomorrow! All proceeds go to Color of Change.
I’ve been a big fan of Cherry Pickles for a bit, particularly since catching their set at SXSW (RIP) a few years back. Today we get news that they’ll be dropping their next album, doing so with this catchy early morning ditty to make you tap your toes. I was hooked by the opening guitar line; it has just the hint of a jangle that I love, then it gets wrapped in a nice dueling line of surfy pop. One of the reasons I’m so into this track is the way they kind of bring it about casually; they’re not rushing things, they’re in no hurry, just letting you get cleansed by the sweet bounce of good old fashioned pop rock. The Juice That’s Worth the Squeeze is out this October via PNKSLM.
After being holed up in my house for the last several months, I won’t deny that I could definitely use something for those at-home dance parties I’ve been throwing with my wife and daughter. This new tune from Haiku Hands definitely is one such track, throwing it back to those catchy little beats from 80s pop tracks; I honestly feel like I’m being transported back to a time when pop music was purely about fun. It doesn’t hurt they get a nice little hook tossed in from Sofi Tukker, who happen to be no stranger to crafting delectable dance treats. Sample this one, and prepare for their self titled LP out on September 10th via Mad Decent.
Jon over at Lost Sound Tapes is always reliable for his tastes, and admittedly, I haven’t been checking in as frequently as I should, which is how these two new releases on the label slid under my radar.
First, you get Daisyworld by Neutral Shirt, which harkens to a sort of sparkling indie rock vibe, taking on these sunny moments, and maybe wearing them with a bit of a heavier sentiment, like “Permanent Blue.” There are some upbeat rockers too that I’ve been taken by, so might I suggest you give “Salton Sea” a listen.
Next, you can enjoy 5 Demos from Boosegumps, the project of Heeyoon Won (Free Cake for Every Creature). Here, they’re offering this super intimate glimpse into their life and writing. Personally, I’ve been really taken by “Perfect Autumn Day;” it reminds me of those blissful moments on the early Rilo Kiley LPs. Give a listen.