Tobias Isaksson seems to be no a roll the last couple of years with his Azure Blue project, settling into a groove of releasing pop gem after pop gem; he released “Shine On” late last year, just a few months after the release of the excellent Fast Falls the Eventide. Quietly, Matinee Recordings has uploaded a new song with the promise of the forthcoming Images of You album. This song features steadied electronic pulses; Tobias excels at layering his sonic bursts atop one another until they seem like one endless pop pulsation. His voice has always had this natural soothing warmth, perfectly fit to his brand of pop…and this tune is no different. Look for the new album to come sooner rather than later, though no official date is out there.
It’s been a wonderful week for Emotional Response Records, what with news bits from Neutrals and Seablite, but new of the an Eleventh Hour Adventists might be the biggest news of the week. The band is made up of Jowe Head (TV Personalities, Swell Maps) and Jasmine Pender (Rotten Bliss), so you’re getting two revered artists who’ve always played by their own rules. This first single is something of a mix between folk ballad and haunted sea shanty, with both Pender and JH trading vocal duties throughout. However, just like their meeting, things are not of the ordinary with these two…skip just to the 4 minute mark (if you need proof) for the brief noise experiment symbolizing the duo’s desire to manipulate tradition. Who knows where their self-titled LP will leave us, but one things for certain it will be anything but boring; it drops on June 7th!
I first got turned on to Holy Tunics when they dropped Butter Dish last year, so I’m really stoked that Hit Parade Lemonade Supersonic Spree has been announced. I think you’ll find that this new single from the record fully employs the band brandishing their best power-pop. In the opening guitar lines you almost get this grungy college rock vibe, which fits the initial vocal burst. However, “bahs” and harmonies jump in on the chorus, satiating your pop needs for the day, or for these 2.5 minutes anyways. Good marker for this might be a band like Sloan, though feel like they’re going just a notch above in their volume production here. If you need guitar pop, then I suggest you keep an eye out for the new LP; it drops via the esteemed Meritorio Records on June 14th.
They’ve also got the following tour dates in July:
In case you weren’t anticipating the new Halfsour LP enough, I wanted to reaffirm that next weeks Sticky release will be well-worth your hard-earned dollars. I think the meat of this song is top of the line, Grade A rock n’ roll. It opens with this bobbing bass line and this knife-work guitar, letting Zoe tease you into the track. Once they hit that 1.10 minute mark, the song drops into some of the best guitar pop I’ve heard this week, with Zoe’s voice soaring through your stereo (or probs your laptop). it’s like a fucking tractor beam of rad pop music that you just won’t let you pull away. Sticky drops next Friday via Fire Talk and Disposable America.
If you’ve learned anything about me over these last 10 plus years it’s that I’m the truest sucker for a good pop song, and I was no match for this Chris Staples tune. At first, I was drawn to Chris’ voice; it has this gentle whispering intimacy that sort of makes me nostalgic for the kid I was in the late 90s. But, as I spun it a few more times, there’s these little underlying musical hooks; I love the layering of the guitar tracks upon one another, with one strumming and the other one coursing throughout..kind of reminds me of ol’ Al Hambone JR, particularly in the chorus. I don’t know; this is the way to rule a Friday. His new record Holy Moly will be out on June 28th via Barsuk.
I don’t think enough folks appreciate the work that’s being done by B Boys (the band not the breaker — though they can break, I’m sure). Two albums in of incredibly spastic art rock with a sharpness like no other current band, and still we fawn over the imitators. Today they announce Dudu (I’m thinking its a reference to the Brazilian soccer player), and man, they do so in brilliant fashion. Those angular guitar daggers jump right in, keeping that off-kilter drive alive while the vocals are half-spoken half-wailed emphatically through your speaker. I think what I’m digging on upon first few listens is that there’s this heavier riff keeping the song pushing forward; it’s not all angles and what not…plus that rhythm section rules. The group look to be working pretty hard on the road, with dates scattered from July to September (hopefully with Dumb and Omni…if I’m picking my dream line-up); Dudu drops on July 26th via Captured Tracks.
While past Historian records have been grand affairs, the focus around their newest effort was to craft something more intimate, more personal. This new single is one such affair, built around the opening strum of the guitar with light atmospherics behind, setting the scene for Chris Karman’s voice to carefully drape itself atop it all. There’s something about this that seems weary or forlorn, like battling some sort of struggle that never seems to end. While that theme moves forward, little flourishes begin to emerge in the distance of the song, from backing vocals to a guitar that seems to sort of ring and hang along in the ether. Spiral Again, the new album, will appear on June 14th!
Perhaps my greatest joy in 2019 is just letting go of trying to follow trends or be in the loop, and instead focus on finding the joys in what I already know I love…like Spanish pop tunes. Senalada has this amazing new single that I think you’ll like, and if not, eh, sorry. There’s that slight dreamy tone to the guitar, matched by this wispy vocal before percussion kicks in and the guitar dances down the yellow brick road. The breathiness of the voice really hits home; it’s like every last breath is being given forth for the sake of the listener. This is a great one-off single for those that missed out on Mejores Amigos via Discos de Kirlian.
My friend Wally at The Beautiful Music recently turned me onto James Clarke Five, as he knew that I’m a sucker for a good pop tunes of any sort. Apparently James Clarke aka Jimmy Hughes has been banging around since the 1980s with The Cherry Boys, but he’s recently been bopping about with his own work. It’s interesting, at times he’s got one hell of an operatic voice, as is apparent in “Married;” it lends itself to that sort of broad pop from classic groups like the Zombies. Though there’s an obvious nostalgia, many of the tracks on Parlour Sounds are so wonderful they fit right along side the various pop LPs in your collection; I mean, check out the move at the 40 second mark in album closer, “Just a Smile.” Indulge in this LP, then thank me and TBM later.
We’re not too far off from the release of the latest Lust for Youth LP, and with that, the (now) duo have dropped another teaser track. I think this is their most playful and earnest tune; they clearly deliver their pop sensibility in the first few seconds, but they don’t just drop in and let that hook hit you over the head, instead teasing it out after the 1:15 mark. Even then, it’s brief and exuberant, hitting upon that sensation of yearning. Somehow this tune seems more sterile, revolving more on the tones of the vocals, which is a nice little twist in the album (or so I hope). Sacred Bones drop Lust for Youth on June 7th.