It was the last week of my school year, so I perhaps didn’t run as many tracks up the old flagpole as I otherwise might have liked, but we’ve still got a solid hour worth of hits below for those looking to peruse the jams. A new Life Strike tune kicks it off, dropping in some power-pop to your ears. We had some new stuff from both Sea Lemon and the Mary Onettes, all of which got me excited for the rest of the year to come. That new XDS is just out there enough for the weirdoes to come on home to roost with us. Happy Tuesday ya’ll!
What better way to roll into a Friday than to wake up and find two glorious tunes from one of my favorite groups, The Mary Onettes. The band have spent the last two decades flirting with that territory between dreamy bedroom pop and jangling indie pop; the first of the new singles employs both in one track, taking jangling notes and spinning them tightly around the deliciously dreamy vocals. On the next single, you get a more traditional bit of forestry pop, with a guest appearance from Agnes Alden adding in an extra musical layer longtime fans haven’t gotten before. I can only hope that the last few singles popping up in this world mean we’ll soon get even more tracks from the band, so stay tuned!
We covered tons of territory last week, particularly as we ran tons of little interviews in our Meet the SXSW Band features; it’s also the Spring season, so that means there are tons of announcements about new records and such. I was stoked to hear new stuff from Constant Follower and Mary Onettes, plus we premiered new tune from The National Honor Society and Hot Coppers. And, seeing as its SXSW, we got interviews back from Daiistar, Taleen Kali, Hamish Hawk and a ton more, all with little introductions plus their music. Or, you can listen to the jams below and see if they’re playing near you, wherever you find yourself!
The Mary Onettes have been part of this site for the better part of a decade; I even spent a good deal of this year hunting down a reasonably priced copy of their self-titled LP, so I’m happy they’re back with a fresh set of tunes. They open things up here with an infectious bounce immediately, letting the guitars drift distantly before the vocals decide they’d like to join up. Honestly, Philip’s lyrical writing isn’t too far off from Glenn Donaldson’s RPP track from last week, calling on artists to take care of themselves while being drawn to create…sadly a sentiment folks like me need to remember. Oh man, this melodic chorus too, is just something special. Stoked to have the Swedish outfit back in any form.
I’ve always been a huge Mary Onettes fan, their self-titled album is the one LP that I can’t get enough…nor get my hands on, sadly. Today, the band return for the first time since 2018 with the announcement of What I Feel In Some Places EP, and share the title track. Opening up, the song builds this dense atmosphere, foggy in the corners, melodic hints lurking in the shadows of the sound. When the vocals come into play, they create this beautiful moment of heartfelt pop where you can feel the emotionally charged moments rise out of the heavy groove behind. The band will release their new EP on July 1st, so its just around the corner!
We’ve been following the work of Philip Ekstrom since the earliest days of this blog, though at the time, that was with his band the Mary Onettes; today he brings us another tune from his solo work under the H. Moon moniker. Our first listen definitely recalls some of the emotional effects that resonate with Mary Onettes fans; it’s like you peel away the haziness that coated that and reveal this shinier pop version of Ekstrom’s songwriting. There’s all this negative space too hanging about, kind of building that cavernous feel that lets you fall deep into the context of the song, floating endlessly in the subtle textures. Trustblood will be out on May 22nd.
We’ve been writing about the Mary Onettes since their inception back in the 00s; we continue our support as the band ready the release of a new single this Friday. The central groove of this song is sensational, slowly cascading through your speakers with these little gurgles of bass bouncing in and out. Then the bread and butter for the band is they way they’ve always draped the vocals across the entire mix; they always sort of feel like atmospherics coating the musical instrumentation. This track will be released as a single by Cascine on Friday with a B-Side to boot!
When The Mary Onettes released their self-titled album, everyone was enthused. They crafted those pop songs coated in dense atmospherics that created contradicting emotions; the songs were warm, yet they offered up a cold and sterile mood. But, along the way, they’ve experienced various changes, most recently on Hit the Waves. That album encompassed more of a direct pop feeling to it, shying away from the dark craftsmanship that was present early on. Now we’ve got Portico. This record succeeds in both its brevity and its return to the days of old.
“Silence is a Gun” immediately starts with this delayed effect with an occasional note thrown in, affecting the listener almost immediately. But, while the song returns to the darker aesthetic, it doesn’t mean the group has left their pop ambitions at home. Instead, this song represents the work the band has put in since 2007, honing their sound, finally perfecting the best of both worlds. Similarly, “Naive Dream” takes the same approach, though this song goes straight for the point, offering jangling guitars from the get-go. while dreamy vocals rest atop the mix.
Then we move into slightly darker territory with “Ritual Mind,” which seems crafted to slow things down a bit in the structure of the record. You can just take the pacing alone, here, realizing that this is a song where you just let yourself go, immerse yourself in the realm crafted by the combination of guitars and keys. But, you’ll only have brief respite as “Everything Everything” comes along to move things back into the more danceable direction. It’s hazy house music, crafted by a tight-knit band, making it much more enjoyable than the previous approach The Mary Onettes took a year ago.
It’s all leading in one direction however, towards the opus titled “Bells for Stranger.” Here you’ll find the band employing more of a soundtrack approach, coating the song in layers of atmospherics and sparse notes before lyrics even enter the fold. Personally, I love how some of the notes evolve, going out of key as they dwindle in the space left behind by the slowly delivered vocals. It’s clear, here, that the band set out on the journey of writing Portico with something in mind, something that they had planned and mapped out carefully. And yet, they add more to that fold by using the album’s title track as an instrumental bookend to close things out.
For me, it’s a really refreshing piece of work. I’ve enjoyed the Mary Onettes for some time, but I’ll admit that from time to time they stay in one play, musically speaking. Portico is not that record. Instead, it’s an album with a purpose, a statement. All the songs have a lineage to the group’s sound, but they’re composed and organized in a fashion that ultimately rewards the listener.[audio:https://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/02-Naive-Dream.mp3]
The madness that is SXSW is upon us, and as we ready ourselves and our livers, we’ve got another interview featuring one of our favorite bands, The Mary Onettes. The Swedish act has had mild success in the States, but their new music is really building a solid name for the band over here, so we hope that this little introduction encourages you to get on board with us. If you do catch them…be sure to get one of those t-shirts. Read more
It’s really been a joy watching the growth and progression of The Mary Onettes. Their first entry into the indie mainstream was coated in a sort of wash of atmospherics, but they’ve since cleaned some things up. But, on this new single you’ll see a nod to their past efforts, though the crystalline approach to the vocal delivery is also apparent here. It’s the best of both worlds, indicating that the band has finally found the perfect formula. You can grab their latest release, Portico, next Tuesday via Labrador Records.[audio:https://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/02-Naive-Dream.mp3]