Back when we were throwing shows and booking things for SXSW, we had the wonderful Emily Wolfe on our annual SXSW bill with our friend John ( of 101X/SOTO fame). She’s got her new LP Outlier slated for a June release, and this great single is the perfect way to get you hooked on the sound she’s dishing out. Emily opens the tune with her voice riding atop a synthetic pulse, aptly building tension before dropping in with a crunchy hook. That chorus, while thematically heart-wrenching, hits just right with Wolfe hitting the perfect notes. But, the guitar virtuoso isn’t going full pop, with a nice little solo showing off her signature Epiphone guitar sitting poolside. Outlier drops June 25th.
I think one of the things I love about listening to Tape Waves is how safe (no-frills, comforting, etc) their brand of dream pop is, meaning that in the best way! You get folks over indulging in beats, or minimizing the strum of a guitar, and maybe even sometimes coating the vocals in too much of a studio wash. But here, as you can hear with their latest single, Tape Waves don’t need to employ any of those little textures; their songs succeed on their own merit. And, you can hear light guitar strums, steady drum bounce, and Kim’s wonderful voice fitting right into it all; they’ve managed to balance in such a way that you might even just call normalize it by calling it some of the best pop music all around. Good songs supersede technological studio tricks, in my mind anyways. Plus, the video’s adorable, featuring cats, ice cream and a couple going through their record collection! Bright is out soon via Emotional Response!
I love a great video, particularly when its paired with equally great song, like the latest from Pony Hunt. For me, the song was a rolling journey, begun by the drum beat; they set you up with a soft roll, laying out the world before your feet. It’s then that Jessie Antonick’s voice enters the fray, serenading you with this heavenly voice, filled with guttural emotion, yet sparkling in the dark shades of the song. I appreciate the little breakdown just after the 2 minute mark, offering a slight soul performance in the midst of the tune’s dense sound, which eventually creeps back in and carries the song to a close. This song appears on the new record, VAR!, which is out on July 23rd via Wing and Wing.
French performer Nina Savary is a true multi-disciplinary artist, whether she’s dancing, acting or singing, which is the case here; she’s signed on to work with Tin Angel Records, releasing this debut single for us to share. The song’s a very delicate number, leaving a great deal of space for Savary to work with her voice in and out of the notes; she maneuvers carefully around synth notes and rolling drum hits. That voice has mesmerized me, feeling like it could eventually evaporate into nothingness as she moves onto the next note. There’s also this wonderful little guitar interlude right around the 2 minute mark that’s very brief, but very special. The song was written for Nina by Chris Cummings (Marker Starling), and it’s a quite nice way to ease into your morning.
Through two albums, the Goon Sax have been nearly flawless with their brand of jangling guitar pop, but as they announce Mirror II, their third LP, it sounds like they’re taking some chances. In this tune, both the video and the song seem to have this heavy anxiety, almost a sense of foreboding; it’s a weight that even seems to hold the chorus down, with Riley and Louis seemingly holding back where they’ve been buoyant before. Still, that little change has me drawn to the tune like a moth to the light; I particularly like Riley’s vocal performance just as the song fades to nothing but synths and drums at the 3 minute mark. They’ve changed things up a bit, while still managing to sound wholly like the vibrant pop band that seemingly sprung out of nowhere; I’ve got to applaud them for pushing their sound into new territory. I look forward to hearing more from Mirror II…out July 9th via Matador Records.
At this moment, I’m not sure anyone’s writing timeless pop music quite like Quivers; Sam Nicholson has dialed into peak songwriting, and with his band’s arrangements, they’re crafting some truly unforgettable tunes. This latest single opens much the way you’d expect, with semi-wayward jangles and Nicholson’s voice; the steady beat keeps things moving, giving the listener this undeniable connectedness. Soon, a synth note twinkles in the far off night sky, matched by some very faint backing vocals that build towards a burst…a shooting star of pop falling across the song’s skyline. While all this goes on, sit back and watch the great video animated by Jordan Thompson of the Ocean Party; I’m a big fan of the line work there. But, the song’s not done, as the vocals swell, joined by more of a backing chorus, letting the guitars ring silent as the song fades into a tinkering piano line that eventually disappears into the world. Just another string pop number from the forthcoming Golden Doubt, out on June 11th via Ba Da Bing/Bobo Integral/Spunk.
The great thing about the cycle of an album is that you sometimes need a little reminder to go back and enjoy things, like when this video popped up from the recent Girlfriends and Boyfriends LP. Earlier this year (February to be exact) the Vancouver outfit released Fallacy of Fairness, a record drenched in nostalgia, but the sort you don’t mind revisiting. Synth stabs and jangling guitars abound, giving you this sort of middle ground between the Smiths and the Go-Betweens. The video seems fitting for that nod, with shots of the band spliced with the antics of what I can only assume is the most dangerous moped gang in Canada. Put your dancing shoes on folks; its time to swing and flail about your home office with a big old grin upon your face!
So yeah, you should have likely heard this song yesterday, but if you didn’t, then perhaps celebrate the joys of listening to Sonny & the Sunsets on this fine Friday morning. As it opens, we find the band in familiar territory, toying with a catchy strum and Sonny’s sun-drenched tones. Things move forward and a little twang jumps on board, but the melodic nature never strays too far away, which is as pleasant a way to pass the morning as I can find for you. This tune’s on the forthcoming New Day with New Possibilities LP, out via Rocks In Your Head on July 30th.
Geoffrey O’Connor was a major gateway drug for me getting into Australian music; I fawned over his Crayon Fields outfit, which led me down the Chapter Music wormhole…and, well, you see where that led! Today I’m excited to hear the debut single from his forthcoming solo effort, which seems like it might not be a solo effort at all; it’s a duets album featuring the likes of Laura Jean, Jess Ribeiro, Nicole Thibault and more. On the first single, he’s paired up with Laura Jean, and it’s incredible just how well their voices match up; at times they seem to operate the same tonal space, while there are other moments when the song allows for one or the other to highlight their own gifts. Geoffrey, for his part, has this weird little lift in syllabic notes that gets me every time; he just kind of lifts the last note to give it this added breath. Oh, and as if O’Connor’s voice and songwriting wasn’t enough; he directed the video here too! For As Long as I Can Remember will be out August 6th via Chapter Music.
I really wonder if we’ll all look back sometime and realize just how incredible the shape-shifting ways of Angus and Liars truly was; I know thinking back on They Threw Us All in a Trench… that I couldn’t have imagined where the band would have ended up some 20 years later. Still, I have a soft spot for Angus’ approach, and this round it seems he embraced collaboration in the earliest stage, pulling in jazz drummers and multi-instrumentalists to fill out the soundscape he’s envisioned. The song operates with this throbbing heartbeat, darkened by synth notes and Angus’ haunting delivery, but as it unwinds, drumming becomes erratic in nature, off-beat even at times…every stone overturned reveals a new musical perspective. Personally, the melodic vocals just after the 2 minute mark are my personal highlight here…but that’s just basic old me. This tune appears on The Apple Drop, the new LP hitting on August 6th via Mute.