Sometimes I like to imagine what my life would be like if I was a Waler Mitty type character, with a soundtrack written for my life. Today, it seems like Sleeper & Snake have done just that, providing me with my own theme song. From the start, the track is fairly relaxed, resting on the joint vocals of Amy Hill and Al Montfort. They don’t seem to be in any rush, just letting life come at them and riding out the ebbs and flows tossed their way. Plus, your life gets its own sax solo, though I haven’t decided if that’s life in its ascendency or on the way out, but a pleasant plot twist in a gorgeous pop song you won’t want to turn off. Fresco Shed is out now via Upset the Rhythm.
Don’t tell me you’re not in love with the Green Child?! You get Mikey Young and Raven Mahon, teamed up to make this wonderfully subtle, dreamy pop music. That synthetic beat initially made me want to bounce; it just has that joyous nature to it’s movement. But, Raven’s voice has this light drizzle to it, steadily soaking you with melody; it’s a strong contrast, which is one of the reasons I love what they’re doing, playing with both sides of my musical brain. I honestly couldn’t think of a better way to come to the end of the week; it’s thoughtful and promising, and maybe I can crack a smile. Look for Shimmering Basset this October via Upset the Rhythm.
Already a fan of Al and Amy’s other act Terry, I knew I’d likely enjoy their work in Sleeper & Snake…I just didn’t know how much. There’s this odd lo-fidelity nature to their latest single, yet it’s also so simple in nature…just going to show you don’t need to overdo it to create a tune for us to love. Instantly you’ll hear the acoustic strum meet up with this off-balance keyboard buzz, with Amy and Al singing atop one another, drowning out the buzz behind them. Breaks in the vocals allow for the keyboard to take a jaunt of its own liking, instilling a permanent pop sensibility. Their new LP Fresco Shed will be out on September 25th via Upset the Rhythm and Lulus Sonic Discs.
Next Friday, you’re going to want to make sure you’ve ordered a copy of Do the Duvet, the debut LP from Oakland’s Naked Roommate. You see, this is the dance record for these anxious pandemic/political times; it’s clever and hypnotic, yet antagonistic and evasive; you’ll move the whole way through. Take, for instance, “Repeat,” the latest single. For 45 seconds, passive listeners will hear just another electro-pop groove. Sure, that’s omni-present in the beat-making, but wait for Amber Sermeno’s vocals to join up; they come off playful and fun, but there’s this sort of flare of disdain as she’s shouting “look good/smell good.” As the voice fades for a mid-track interlude, you get these little guitar lines dancing in between the beats, teasing the reentry of the vocals. It bursts and blooms, eventually fading away as “repeat” hangs in the distance atop carefully constructed pop notes to draw the tune to a close. If you grab the album on September 4th from Trouble in Mind/Upset the Rhythm, you’ll be ready to shake it, or, as might be preferred, lay on the floor and let the refined subtleties of the band’s craft lift your soul.
In a roundabout way, I’ve been writing about Sleeper & Snake for some time, as its Al and Amy from Terry. In the single accompanying the announcement of their new LP, you get the slightest hint of their quirky pop sensibility, but this outing seems to take on a more experimental purpose. It’s a fairly simplistic approach, using cello, bass and a synced beat to provide rhythm; they layer their vocals and a nice dose of saxophone atop as icing on the proverbial cake. For me, you can hear spots where they could erupt or speed up, but they show restraint, holding you (and the song) in a permanent state of suspense. Fresco Shed will be out on September 25th via Upset the Rhythm.
Had we not been in the midst of a world pandemic I’d place bets on Vintage Crop being the next big thing. They’ve got that sound people keep gravitating towards, combining these sharp guitar cuts with the matter-of-fact vocal delivery you’d expect from a singer stalking the stage. One thing I like is that they’re kind of reveling in the joy of their own song; they’re so in love with this riff that they refuse to push the pace of the song, holding themselves back. In doing so, they allow the natural pop attitude to bleed through the speakers. I promise, this is your new favorite band; they’ll drop Serve to Serve Again on August 7th via Upset the Rhythm.
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.
One of the records I’m most looking forward to this year is the brooding post-punk of Es, who’ve just shared their latest single from their debut. You can’t escape the ominous feel of this track; it feels as if we’re being surrounded, smothered…only to make one last ditch effort for survival with this song. I thought adding nice little synth line before the 3 minute mark added in some pop sensibility that may have gone unnoticed otherwise, allowing listeners just the briefest respite from the dark. The band release their debut album Less of Everything on April 3rd via Upset the Rhythm.
Having already shared “Best and Fairest” from Primo‘s forthcoming LP, it only makes sense that we continue our personal hype machine for the band’s album with their newest single. What I love about the tunes we’ve heard from Sogni, like the one below, is that the band seem to have really settled into their skin as a group. The harmonies are spectacular, faintly outlining the band’s pop leanings. Here, the guitars ring out in this steady fashion, sort of holding court patiently with this crunchy sound; guitar layers get built in around to craft this wondrous wall of catchy discord. I love this record. It drops April 17th via Upset the Rhythm.
Perhaps it’s too early in the morning for the disorienting post-punk of Manchester’s Handle, but that’s precisely why you need it this morning…get outside of yourself. The band celebrate the absence of a guitar by crafting this pulsating blend of combustible art rock; it’s a mesh of industrialized societal noise swirling about your inner ear. On their new album, the band bob and weave through political and personal, yelping and bouncing through madness as they unleash a barrage of noise meant to disrupt and rebuild. Fell free to immerse yourself in all this song, and album, has to offer; In Threes will drop on March 6th courtesy of Upset the Rhythm and Maternal Voice.