I was an angsty teenager, yet like all classic middle-class indie kids didn’t have a lot to actually be angsty about. I mainly spent my time driving around in my shit-soaked rollerskate car listening to Modest Mouse, Built to Spill and American Football on repeat whilst wondering why no-one wanted to be my girlfriend. The answer, ironically, is right there but 17-year-olds are a beast upon themselves.
People Like You are a band that jettison me straight back to those days of angst-filled regret. Mixing the best of American Football’s creeping vine-like guitar lines with early Modest Mouse vocal patterns alongside a jazz-infused percussion song structure, Thumbnail, the new single taken from their forthcoming album release, is an absolute masterpiece. Built for road trips, solitary listening periods and jam sessions, the Boston-based band shift seamlessly between the punk DIY scene and a jazz stage on a chariot of trumpets, guitars and mid 90s indie rock sensibilities.
I have listened to the whole album, Verve, and will be giving it a full review ahead of it’s release on July 28th as it is an absolute beauty and could easily be my album of the year alongside the like of Sundara Karma, Fleet Foxes and The National. That’s not an exaggeration, these guys are so accomplished that they could be part of the contemporary listening lexicon for years to come.
You can preorder the album here, and why wouldn’t you when you can get it on such a gorgeous Vinyl release. If I were cheekier I’d ask for a free copy but I’ll just have to save up because it is absolutely fucking gorgeous.
Due to the nature of having a semi-casual work schedule, I can sometimes end up with accidental four day weekends. I’m sure for many, this sounds like a dream come true. Alas, I am not someone who easily transitions into a life of relaxation and leisure. Blame my highly strung nature and an inability to sleep, I end up existing in a bizarre liminal dream space.
So, TUSKS latest release Dissolve perfectly subsidises this bizarre existant state. Ahead of her debut album Dissolve, out October 13th, the title track simmers as a post-midnight track along the rails of the post night out moment of clarity. Whilst I’ve been struggling now for a considerable amount of time to stay on top of the musical curve, due to a general sense of ennui, Dissolve channels it into a post-rock inspired transcendent pop dream.
So I get sent a lot of tosh. I mean, it’s inevitable really. Everyone wants a platform and everyone wants to be heard. With any kind of cultural product, the best may not always be the ones that are seen. Predictably, the genre that seems to be most overflowing is that of the “singer-songwriter.” All it takes is one person with a few ideas and an instrument to start a body of work and it’s been successful. Dylan, Oberst, Simon, the pantheon of music is littered with the names of songwriting singers. Unfortunately, just cause you’ve had an idea doesn’t always make it good, but sometimes an artist will sneak through the door to remind you why we still gravitate to singular voices.
Henry Jamison’s new track The Wilds, taken off the upcoming debut album of the same name, is part of the same great tradition whilst borrowing the emotional honesty of Frightened Rabbit and the vocal delivery of Iron & Wine. Simple, acoustic-based, music is often maligned but Jamieson implements intelligent string compositions and mature song structure to avoid the prospect of being another special snowflake with a problem.
One of the best parts of running a music blog is that the access to new music I get is truly unbelievable. Emailed directly into my inbox like a rock and roll Christmas. I would try and be humble about it but shit, it’s fucking phenomenal.
The latest in my long line of goodies is the latest track by FAIRCHILD “So Long and Thank You.” The first thing that popped into my head is the genre a friend of mine came up with in which he wanted to start a band. FAIRCHILD are 100% pop noir. The track begins with drone like synths works it’s way up into a driven indie epic. Produced and mixed by Catherine Marks (Foals, Wolf Alice), “So Long and Thank You” focuses on the position of the Father. Kinda appropriately timed ahead of Father’s day weekend hey?
A good rock and roll track needs to be like a movie. It needs to introduce to the characters, themes and overall vibe of the song. It needs to then build itself into its groove that fills you in on the tracks universe. Finally, it needs to resolve itself via its climax (no sniggering in the back). “So Long and Thank You” delivers on all fronts. From it’s “pop noir” opening to its crescendo of guitar feedback, it’s a complete track and a must listen ahead of the album drop in August.
FAIRCHILD’s debut album So Long and Thank You will be released on August 4thvia their own label, Canvas Sounds.
The Pains Of Being Pure at Heart are one of those artists that just seem to follow me around constantly as I age progressively worse. It’s true, I’m nowhere near as sexy as I was as a frisky 17 year old heartthrob. But, as I’ve matured from under-sexed teenager to wannabe tortured artist, Kip Berman’s The Pains of Being Pure at Heart have matured alongside me at a familiar rate.
Last month saw the release of the, then latest single, Anymore which was a return to what we all know and have grown to love about the band. Featuring heavily distorted guitar chimes with 80s inspired song structures and a light vocal delivery that trips of the tongue onto the late VHS sun-kissed June evenings that we associate with the band. However, their latest track “When I Dance With You” offers something slightly different.
Don’t get me wrong, this is definitely classic Pains. However, bringing a sonar-like sample and a greater electronic influence, Berman crafts the classic formula into something more discreet. Instead of assaulting us with a wall of teenage inspired pop, “When I Dance With You” sees a more mature outlook combined with the typical playfulness we’ve come to expect alongside the consistent romanticised lyrics. We are still on the Betamax colour tones, but instead it’s the slow burn romantic montage as opposed to the thumping opening credits. It makes me miss a girl a bit.
“When I Dance With You” is the second single from the upcomgin 4th album “The Echo of Pleasure,” due Sept. 1 on the band’s own Painbow label. The album can be pre-ordered here.
It feels like I’ve been listening to Cigarettes After Sex for ages so it’s almost a shock that their debut LP is still yet to drop and we have to wait until June 9th before the self-titled release hits from Partisan Records.
Other than being an enormous fan of the band name, and the act of having a cheeky ciggy after a session, “Cigarettes After Sex” really have created one of the best sounds of the contemporary era. Whilst the saturation of music online has made grabbing attention an act of attempting to hit you sonically in the first 30 seconds, Greg Gonzalez (frontman and all around sexy man) has constructed a cinematic melancholic swoon that grabs you from reality like a Neil Gaiman narrative towards a melancholic visual soundscape that you can lose yourself into.
If you ever feel the need to just shut up shop and sit with a beer and contemplate the decision you’ve made that lead you to such a mess, then this album may be more than enough to quell your self-loathing craving. Look forward to the album in June and European tour dates in the lead up.
With the announcement of a new swath of UK tour dates, I thought I’d cover a single by one of the bands that soundtracked my adolescence as I outgrew a straightened fringe and embraced half-hearted facial hair. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah‘s first album was an instant indie classic back in the day and so the opportunity to get on the single for the new album, no matter how late to the party I am, is something hard to turn down.
For many, myself included, CYHSY are associated with their self-titled debut album which gave us indie pop with a distinctive drawling vocal line. The new track, “Down (is Where I Want To Be),” doesn’t disappoint in this regard but provides us with a looping darker tone that undulates throughout. Beginning with a syncopated guitar and bass intro, Down eventually explodes into a high energy track that could easily soundtrack a nightmare montage from an early series Skins episode. The energy, that hits later on, speaks to singer Ounsworth’s concession that the album was a cathartic exhale of a project for the procession of personal events. It may be the soundtrack to his but could certainly soundtrack yours also. The track is taken from the upcoming full-length “The Tourist” out on February 24th.