I’ve been a fan of James Hindle and Calvin Halliday since their Pooches days, and their latest US Highball single takes their jangling joyousness and spins it in a little bit more sedate tone. It’s not that the duo lose any of their melodic hooks, rather they just soften the edges, putting them more in line with the likes of Lucksmiths or Boys with the Perpetual Nervousness; I don’t mind that one bit. It’s a classic pop sound, soaked in harmony and sampled beats, whetting the appetite for the release of their forthcoming A Parkhead Cross of the Mind, dropping on March 25th via Lame-O Records.
As a big fan of the Pooches, it makes sense that I’m so infatuated with U.S. Highball, the new project from James and Calvin. Just over a year ago, they dropped Great Record, and they’re back with Up to High Doh dropping at the end of this week! Before you’re there, they may as well entice you with this melodic pop rock ditty; its just a little something to whet your pop whistle. That’s the great thing about the duo; they’re crafting these songs coming in at just under two minutes…so you press play, swoon, digest and then press repeat. That’s how it happens, right? Be sure to pick up the new LP this Friday.
I really needed these songs from Glaswegian act U.S. Highball, and feel even greater knowing they come with an album announcement, meaning more is on the way. There’s just this natural joyousness to the duo’s sound; I mean, the opening “Hall of Heads” is pretty much just a play on our tastes, but quickly turns into this delighting pop tune I can’t get out of my head. “Don’t Travel Far” is a little meatier; there’s jangling guitars, textured synth/beats and a really incredible use of melody that will keep me circling back just like their guitars. Speaking of said album, it’s titled Great Record, dropping on July 12th via Lame-O Records.
I was a huge fan of Scottish power-poppers The Pooches, and while the band is seemingly defunct, U.S. Highballs offer a little solace, albeit in a softer pop version. It’s a fairly simple number with roots in James’ first trip to Japan. The duo work over synthesized percussion, but it’s the feather guitar that I’m drawn to here; it works perfectly with the natural melody created in the vocals. If simple pop songs are your thing, then you’re going to really enjoy the duo’s new Think Again EP, which drops next Friday (11/9) via Lame-O Records.
How is it possible we’re already through SXSW hangover week? It seems like only yesterday the ATH crew was hanging at Hotel Vegas, with Lone Star in hand, kicking off the week a couple of Sundays ago with the awesome lineup put together by Nathan and our boy Mr. Laird. As always, we move on, reflect on the fun behind us, and plan for the next great lineup or festival. Such is the beauty of living in the live music capital of the world. To look back on the festival, Nathan, Brian, and myself came up with an arbitrary list of awards with each of us picking our choice for the category.
Hit the jump for our awards, final thoughts and a few related pics from a fun, exciting, and draining week.
For me, SXSW is all about friendships; you make new friends you’ll share a lifetime with, and ultimately, that’s what’s been so great for me the last twenty years of attending. One such friend hails from Glasgow, and he’s bringing a bunch of his friends over for an official showcase at Mohawk next Friday! The Glasgow Buckaroo Ball features hot Scottish acts like Pinact, The Pooches, Catholic Action, Happy Meals, Spinning Coin and Womps! Should be a great night where all our Scottish friends get to share in their love of Texas, so come find us boogieing all night long! Here’s a few jams to get you going.
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This new release from The Pooches is shaping up to be quite exciting, seemingly filled with fun pop tunes that seem destined to be played on repeat around my house. There’s a familiarity to the sound, be it the precision drum work, guitar solo or just the chilled vocal delivery. Something about this track just screams carefree good times, and seeing as it’s the last few weeks of summer, perhaps we could all use a little bit of that in our lives (I know I sure could). Looking forward to their self-titled album on Lame O Records, which is being released on September 9th.
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