I’ve got a long history with pop punk/power-pop, but stoked to find some sweet pop punk licks close to home, just a few hundred or so miles down the road in San Antonio with Who Was Watching. Andrew Elizalde mentions Tony Molina as one of his influences, and that’s fitting as both artists share personal stories and give them vital meaning by providing these huge hooks that stay with the listener long after their quick bursts of pop. I love the nice balance added throughout this tune with the female backing vocal…definitely my kind of harmony. The debut EP from the project drops today!
I’ve always enjoyed the work of Elizabeth, most notably as the leader of Totally Mild. But, I’ll come out now and say it…I’ve never heard her sound as powerful and bold as she does on her latest single. The arrangements are perfect, dreamy when necessary, but mostly staying out of the way, save for that heavy-hearted piano line. It all serves as the ideal backdrop for Elizabeth’s striking vocal performance, emphatically hitting those high notes just before the 3 (and 4) minute mark. If ever there was a ballad built for your Friday, let this be the one. The Wonderful World of Nature will be out on November 1st.
It’s really hard not to get personal when writing about Daphne Tunes; I’ve been writing about lead songwriter Santiago RD for what seems like years, not to mention releases I’ve done with he and the rest. But, I try to always work with good humans…and this band is full of some of the best. Alas…there’s a song at play here, I swear. Let’s take on those guitars first. Here they have this almost 80s soft rock swagger, mixed in between some really soft guitar jangles that leave plenty of space. Why space? Well, because Santiago has one of those special voices you wish could accompany you anywhere; he weaves his vocal lines so naturally into the fabric of the song that it almost becomes this added layer of melody. Hands down one of my favorite voices in Austin. Hearing this song just makes me feel like the world does indeed have promise, like we have reason to celebrate. It’ll appear on the band’s new album, Volume 2, which will be packaged with Volume 1 on nice shiny vinyl on October 4th, courtesy of Uncool Records.
When I first heard this track from Vern Matz, I was really taken aback by its fragility. There’s something about the song that made it seem like it could break into a million pieces inside my ears. Circling back, the depth is built into the song so subtly that it honestly took me a few turns to really hear the bending of the guitar strings in the Western horizon, riding atop a solemn drum role. Perhaps its familiarity provided an easy access point, so I figured I’d slow roll this Friday and let you slide into the weekend nice and slow.
I’ll be honest, I haven’t thought about Hot Shorts in quite awhile, not since their tune on the old Art is Hard postcard series dropped years ago. But, coming back from a late night, this track fits perfectly into my expectations for a Thursday. The track has this natural wobbly stomp to it, built in by the ringing guitar work and the vocal delivery. It’s the chorus that really grabbed me; I love the emphatic nature delivering the hook here, and I couldn’t get it out of my head for a hot minute. Nope, still not out. Their new LP I Understand and I Wish to Continue will be out on October 25th via Icecapades.
I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve heard thus far from the forthcoming Up on High, the new LP from Vetiver. It still has this folk appeal, though there’s this underlying energy in the songs that sort of pull at my power-pop taste buds. Am I going to go pogoing down the hall? No. But, I’ve got this tune on repeat and my toes are tapping consistently, my fingers typing with the song’s natural rhythm as we speak. But, there’s also this great swath of warmth that comes from the harmonic nature in the vocal melodies, like the sweet whisper of promise hanging on the wind. You’re really going to want to hear this one. Look for their new LP via Mama Bird on November 1st.
First, this is Video out of the East Bay in Cali, not to be confused with the Austin band of the same name. Secondly, this band still rules, if not more so, but that’s just one man’s opinion. While they’re wrapping up their debut LP, they tossed up this really catchy number that takes on the class disparity in San Francisco; it’s super relatable for someone who has lived in Austin most of his life and can definitely see some similarities. Musically, there’s this insatiable bounce with these fuzzy pop guitars jangling up in the forefront; the vocals have this stylish indifference that feels just like the fog rolling in from the bag, wrapping up us in our favorite shade of cool. One song in, and I’m pretty sold on Video already. What say you?
I hate to say I love BDRMM as the group are just making a name for themselves by signing to Sonic Cathedral…but dammit, I love the hell out of this song. It teases you, acting like an instrumental, but don’t mind that, you’ll get your lyrics. I love the natural bounce of the song, slowly adding layer upon layer…guitars, atmospherics, percussion, bass…then another guitar comes noodling its way in, tossing its jangling post-punk vibes all over the place. If you want, skip to the 1 minute mark, wait about 20 seconds, and you’ll still get that emotional musical release we’re all seeking; a blast of shoegaze opens the curtains to a fairly empty stage that reveals the matter-of-fact vocal delivery set to the front of the mix while guitars dance about in the distance. Dammit. This band fucks. Look for their If Not, When? EP on October 11th.
Listener beware! It’s hard not to get entranced by the sonic pulse of this music accompanied with this incredible video just released by TLA. The group is the project of various members of acts like The Shins and The Pleased, which were two acts I was very much in love with during their prime…but this is something wholly different. Visuals aside (though they’re stunning), this feels like what Billy Corgan was after on Adore, only with better execution. I feel like the vocal melodies get tied perfectly into the beats (I’m all about the choruses), adding this great textural feel that’s gives off this psychedelic rave quality that I’m really drawn towards here. The group will release New Language on November 1st via Dowd Records.
Please. Put down everything you’re doing. Be free for the next 3 minutes. This brand new track from the songwriting team of Lachlan Denton (Ocean Party) and Emma Russack is possibly the greatest pop song you’ll here today. Lach opens the track with a muted guitar strum worked over strong piano lines and minimal percussion, allowing his voice to really drive the tune forward. If you’re a doubter, wait until the 1:18 mark where the song gains Emma’s voice, a stronger percussive element and a powerful pop hook that finishes the song off in an emphatic fashion. The new record, Take the Reigns, will be out on October 18th via Bobo Integral and Osborne Again.