Ya’ll know I love to throw out a pop jam with some Spanish flare, which is perfect as the latest single from Chile’s Mecanico just came my way. It’s this sugary dancefloor ready pop number, filled in with some dreamy textures to build upon the song’s natural melodies. Every little burst popping through just makes me want to punch the air and celebrate the joy of just taking in that breath today…and sometimes, that’s all we need. Plus, the band is huge in Chile, so we could all expand our horizons a bit by checking out what’s going on outside of the American/British blogosphere!
Max Foreman‘s spent the better part of two decades playing in various projects (Bouquet/Tenebre), but this year he steps out on his own terms to deliver his debut solo effort. On the title track from his forthcoming Underground EP, you get a glimpse of the musical landscape he straddles on this release; he seems to draw from both his electronic background and his West Coast locale. I love the ever so subtle move into the chorus, delivering this delicate little twist into sunny psychedelia with an electronic pulse that snakes through the song’s entirety. Lurking in the back half, you’ll find this volcanic pop explosion, though brief, it adds brightness to this this dark tinged pop track. Max will release his EP on March 5th!
If you haven’t been paying attention, I’ve really been enjoying New Orleans trio Kelly Duplex as they approach the release of their debut self-titled full length. Included in that release, and now with a live performance video to accompany, is the band covering the Sunday’s classic “Here’s Where the Story Ends.” They take the core of the song, holding tightly to the song’s vocal softness, but amplifying the lightly jangling guitar notes in order to build a heavier dreamscape; I love the emphatic burst midtune too, giving some toughness to the song. Their debut drops on February 12th via Strange Daisy.
I’ve always got room in my listening rotation for Chad VanGaalen, and it seems so do a lot of folks based on how quickly his latest video has blown up. For me, he’s one of those overlooked artists; he employs great creativity to the folk landscape, where it can sometimes get boring, at least to me. You can hear the “everything and the kitchen sink” regard here, but what I’ve always loved is that it sounds so seamless, like every note truly has its home in his songs. Plus, you get extra creativity in the video this go round, all of it hopefully getting you amped up for World’s Most Stressed Out Gardener, out on March 19th.
It’s strange that as the world clamors for more of the same, I’m just drawn to these voices and performances that seem to be isolated out there in the world. Take this new Buffet Lunch jam, for instance. Going through my email, I can see a dozen other bands playing in the same ballpark, but they’re speeding around the bases, dropping that formulaic not quite post-punk…and it’s, well, it’s fine. But, here comes a band that just seem to toy with the formula, they’re deconstructing the standard notions of the genre. For one, the pace is a bit like a stutter, or an askew hop-along. The vocals have this punch in the front syllable, but often get pulled back to reveal the curl of pop sensibility the band bring to the table. Don’t even get me started on the squawk of the horns and that jittery guitar line here and there. Makes sense that the band would find a home for their LP, The Power of Rocks, over on Upset the Rhythm. It drops on May 7th.
I seem to have arisen from my funk of yesterday, so I’m sliding into this clever pop ditty from New Zealand’s Merk. We had no wave, but this feels like no-club pop; it’s got these little flourishes of club beats and dance floor ready notes, but they’re pulled way back, almost as if the song moves in slow-motion. Still, you can’t hide a natural hook, which is offered via the chorus and those little synth stabs in the far off distance. Just really enjoying the fact that I haven’t heard a whole lot like this, like dance music you’re not sure you know how to dance to. It’s okay, let your body do the work.
Started off my morning with one of those angst ridden ideas in my head about “teacher privilege” (a rant for another day), so I was browsing through, trying to get my angst out, and here’s this great new jam from Melbourne trio CLAMM. They’ve just signed on with Meat Machine to release their debut LP, Beseech Me; you can check the video below to hear what they’re all about! It opens with this squalling wall of guitars, sort of muddy in nature, which I actually love, as it doesn’t really build much pop sensation at all (I needed that this morning!). They smash through the song at breakneck speed, delivering vocals with stabbing screams that rip through your speakers. Cathartic in every way; the LP drops on April 9th.
Every list that really mattered at the end of 2020 had You Might Be Happy Someday by the Reds, Pinks & Purples at the top of their list (my personal list too!); it looks like the band will stake their claim to that same acclaim in 2021, as today they announce a new album, Uncommon Weather. Contrasting guitars jut against each other from the open, one ringing melodic and true, while the other seems intent on butting up against it with its angular discord. Fading away, it allows Glenn Donaldson to steady the ship, coolly feathering his vocals across the front of the mix, softly soothing slackers like Bob Pollard singing a bedtime lullaby. Perhaps my favorite bit survives beneath that voice; it recalls the timelessness of Sarah Records or even early K Records, with DIY jangles recorded to tape in solitude. This new record has a great new home too, with Slumberland Records slated to drop the LP on April 9th.
At the very tail end of last year, Dogs for Friends dropped their I’ll Pet You 4 Ever EP; perhaps not my favorite title ever, but dammit if the songs weren’t just really incredible. Today they drop their video for standout “King’s Dog,” so give a listen. It begins with this heavy haunting, dripping over this quietly propulsive beat; throughout the first minute or two you can hear these light guitar licks dancing about, but they finally kick in near the two minute mark, opening up the song to this divine bit of pop music. Felt like a really good way to start off the Tuesday morning.
You might remember Rachel Love when all of us were clamoring to get our hands on one of the few copies of her band Dolly Mixture‘s remastered works a few years ago. Now, Rachel’s out on her own, and she’s offering up this really powerful pop ditty. It’s the sort of pop that borders on the edges of classic doo-wop and chamber pop; it’s the super hard not to get swept up in those string arrangements and light vocal flourishes (which feature her son David btw!). I have a feeling this song will be playing over here for the rest of the day! Look for Primrose Hill to drop later this summer via Cow Chow Records.