I love when you hit upon a band that’s somehow creating music that feels nostalgic, yet presses forward with its own vision, like the latest from Slight Of. There are definitely guitar bits that feel every bit as if I’m reliving my earliest days as a tape collector in the 80s. Still, that’s unfair to label it as some sort of throwback, as the song moves in other directions too as the track progresses. For one, the vocals have that feel as if Jim Hill is gasping for breath, almost like he’s channeling some sort of indie pop crooner. Weave it all together, with just a slight hint of every day pop hooks and you’ve got a winner…or so says I. Other People will be out on August 28th via Dadstache Records and Figure 2 RC.
Been a few years since we’ve heard from Colorado’s shoegaze outfit A Shoreline Dream, but they return with news of a fresh new album, Melting. Listening through this first single, I’m indulging the heavier tendencies of my listening habits; the band definitely feel like they’re toying with the heavier side of the genre, as opposed to the dreamier bits most recently popularized. I love that they still maintain a cocoon of pop sensibility, almost as if its quietly cowering as the noise swirls around overhead. Those of you looking to gaze at your shoes while noise echoes in the caverns of your ear, go ahead and pre-order Melting; it drops on August 21st.
When one sets out to “write a song about peaceful things” we tend to already have preconceived notions of what we’re about to hear. That said, I think the way Tough Age open up on their new single is exactly the opposite of what I had in mind. It’s jagged, guitars stabbing like knives before the rest of the picture is filled in for the listener. Of course, Clark’s calming delivery quickly offers that peaceful contrast against the sinister pulse of the guitars; it really does fuck with your head, as these two sounds are perfectly juxtaposed. In weaving it all together, you find yourself entirely immersed, ensnared by the band’s balancing musical wizardry. Their new LP, Which Way Am I, will be released on August 7th via Mint Records.
Having already covered the first single from the forthcoming Steven Adams & the French Drops LP, you better believe I’m circling right back around with the latest single, particularly as this one feels super pertinent right now. Maybe it’s just me, but the song title alone speaks to my last few months on the Internet, though not necessarily with my immediate family. Musically, Adams is still pulling out the steady folk-tinged power pop that works like a snake charmer on my ears; you can’t go wrong adding a subtle piano line anywhere in a tune. Keep It Light is out via Fika Recordings on August 21st.
This pandemic is fucking with my head. One moment, I’m sitting there, you know, contemplating and what not. Then I’m off ready to run and rock. With this track from Tim Wilds, I think it’s perfect for the first state. It opens with quietly picked notes; you can hear Wild’s slide his hand up and down the neck of the guitar changing notes. When Tim comes into the picture with his voice, it offers deepened tones, calming as he carries syllables into the next. There’s something so narrative in the presentation, as if the song is some newspaper boat set adrift on a small stream, carried by Wilds’ voice. Something gentle to set your mind at peace.
Two of my favorite labels, Trouble in Mind & Upset the Rhythm, are teaming up to release the new LP from Naked Roommate. Honestly, the band reminds me a lot of Aussie outfit Holy Balm, perhaps with a nod to the Blow; it’s like house music, but stripped of the reliance on the beat. In leaving the song specially open, they’re allowed to build in their own artistic notes, while still grasping onto our preconceived concepts of what makes a song. Amber Sermeno’s vocals have this matter of fact delivery (which is where I felt the Blow reference), though when she puts emphasis on syllables, they seem to echo through cavernous hallways, ringing out as the beat skips along beneath. Cool vibes going on, so give a listen. Do the Duvet will appear on September 4th.
I had no idea who Kevin McKay was, but his recent album was recorded with Fred Thomas, so having that backing says all I needed to know. It’s really hard to pinpoint his sound too, which actually makes his work all the more intriguing to me. At times, it’s almost this light dream pop, using slightly jangling guitars to add pace and craft a shimmering wall. But, the softness in his voice seems to have this smokiness, albeit faint, that also harkens to the work of Papercuts…like the perfect blend of psychedelia and indiepop. You’ll find this gem on Kevin’s album Neutral Mind, out on Cudighi Records today!
Tugboat Captain were slated to come to Austin this year for SXSW, and while we all know how that ended up, I’m still really intrigued by the band’s offering. They tricked me here, offering up this almost post-punk guitar for just about 11 seconds. But, then the song swells, as you’d expect from a band specializing in sweeping pop stylings. While the beginning seems calm and traditional in presentation, they get a little bounce and a little sonic explosion of exquisite noise too…that sort of texturing makes the song all the more memorable after you’ve reached the 4:18 mark. This tune appears on Rut, the band’s debut dropping this October.
Having written one of my favorite albums of 2019, Cool Sounds are back with a brand new EP on the horizon. The songs on Sleepers EP were written over the past couple of months, surprisingly offering up a light-hearted feel, despite the dire situation surrounding us. Opening with a light strum and gentle percussive stomp, the band begs you to circle around the campfire and join them in their chorale vocal approach; it’s that united melody that made me immediately feel as if I was part of something better, bigger in the world. Plus, the middling “nah nah nah” don’t do a damn thing to diminish the inherent joy of this tune. Look for Sleepers on July 31st!
Looks like I’m spending a lot of my coverage today over in France today, as Cloud Factory is another outfit hailing from overseas I’ve been bouncing around to this morning. Alice kind of lulls you into this false sense of safety the way she opens the track with this sort of quietly dreamy vocal, but there’s no time to fuck around as the song bounds off energetically, matched by a more frantic vocal. I love the ever so slight change around the 1:40 minute mark, throwing out a momentary bob that has this sort of garage rock indifference. Stoked to hear what the rest of Cloud Factory #1 entails; it drops on July 3rd via Howlin Banana!