“Chandelier” is a new track from Humanbeast, a Providence, Rhode Island duo (Eli Milholland and Maralie Armstrong-Rial) who have self-released two albums. They’re about to release a third on Providence’s Load Records, the label that has given the world great music by Lightning Bolt, White Mice, DJ Scotch Egg, Ed Schrader’s Music, and Sword Heaven. With Humanbeast, Load is about to get electronic and synthesized when they release Venus Ejaculates Into The Banquet on July 16th.
“Hypnotic Regression” sounds like a throwback to the early 80′s pop/new wave movement, but Girls Names (who are 3/4 men, 1/4 woman) are just simply making the music they know and love, with a pension for hooks and lyrics that will make you think (or at least tap your feet and hands while its messages will sink into your consciousness, becoming future earworms.) The song is from their Slumberland album, The Good Life. Head to their official Tumblr page for a look at forthcoming tour dates and other Girls Names’-related goods.
Deep and rich: are these words you would use to describe a band that creates music that’s a bit on the goth-y, synth pop-ish, and new wave sides? This is what I hear in this very cool video by the Dangerous Boys Club, and this one is an endurance test but one that will be worth the 11 minute viewing. It’s called “Tranzilvania”, but you do not have to fear its grasp.
Boy + Kite’s We Can Go Anywhere We Want EP (self-released) is a continuation of the group’s delightful trip into the indie rock and pop unknown, coming out as solid winners no matter what they offer up. Their songs are more hook driven than ever, and a track like “All The Good Lies” sounds like something you’d expect to hear in an alterna- festival while crowds throng and crowd surf while feeling the reality of the now moments. Yeah, I know that doesn’t make sense, so let me try to describe the song properly. It’s hook driven and sounds like what would happen if Sonic Youth were more pop driven than noise excursionists, while fall has a Lemonheads vibe to it if Evan Dando decided to share both his male and female sides. “Our July” comes close to sounding as dreamy as Lush or Cocteau Twins songs. It’s nice to hear from them again, and while five songs may not be enough to keep me waiting for more, this will have to do.
Andre Obin is that man with an electronic plan, and you can feel his communicata with the song “The Arsonist”, a slight nod to new wave which has been created into a music video. It’s fantasy turned into audio reality, and it may tickle at first but let it do its thing. The song is the title track from his album that was released on March 19th via Sky Council.
The debut EP by Oakland’s Mortar & Pestle has vocalist Janaysa Lambert and band creating sounds that could have been influenced by everyone from Missing Persons to Lene Lovich, with with more of a pop punch that helps to push these six songs into the forefront. Imagine vocalist Res (of “They Say Vision” and “Golden Boys” boys) deciding to split herself and creating a separate persona, merely as a means to record more music. That’s Mortar & Pestle, who combine elements of pop, soul, new wave, and rock to create something that will make listeners desire much more than originally intended. I also loved Paul Shinichi’s keyboard/synth work, definitely showing someone who can stand out in a band with a moving vocalist. Must also show respect to drummer Sean Paul Duke and bassist Justin Martinez, both of whom created the kind of group one tends to expect on albums by Kylie Auldist. More EP’s, please.
(The Mortar & Pestle EP will be released on May 7th.)
Director Hayden Shiebler put together the new video by Wax Idols called “When It Happens”. This was done in support of their Slumberland album, Discipline & Desire, and now they’ll also be supporting the album with a tour later this month.
April 20… Chicago, IL (Empty Bottle) !
April 21… Detroit, MI (PJ’s Lager House) *
April 22… Columbus, OH (Ace of Cups) *
April 23… Indianapolis, IN (White Rabbit) *
April 24… St. Louis, MO (The Heavy Anchor) *
April 25… Nashville, TN (The Stone Fox) *
April 26… Atlanta, GA (The Earl) *
April 27… Durham, NC (The Pinhook) *
April 30… Baltimore, MD (Metro Gallery) *
May 1… Philadelphia, PA (Kung Fu Necktie) *
May 3… New York, NY (Cake Shop) *
May 4… Brooklyn, NY (Shea Stadium) *
! = w/ Radar Eyes
*= w/ TV Ghost
The music on You Can’t Fall Off The Floor (self-released) is the kind of rock/pop that should be getting a lot of attention, compared to other artists who are noted for it but aren’t that good. The opening track, “Silence Is The Loudest Answer”, sounds like something very close to U2′s more sensitive moments, but head to “Gone And Done It Now” and one may hear a bit of Nick Lowe, the vocal stylings of Mr. Big’s “To Be With You”, or even a bit of Styx circa Paradise Theater.
Comparisons aside, what makes What Made Milwalkee Famous so irresistible is that hint of familiarity that record labels have loved for years, but it sounds like they’re having fun doing it. Maybe that’s the point: to make music that sells based on music that sold before, and maybe it’s because these guys sound so effortless that we’re… okay, that I’m expected to think all music like this is machine-made goods. Not so. These guys know how to make decent music because they’ve studied the music they’re fans of, but by creating familiar themes, they end up exploring their own talents to discover what they have, and that is sounds that people should be paying attention to. Pop music as it is today comes off like instant flukes, but there’s a level of substance on You Can’t Fall Off The Floor that I rather like, because each song keeps me there to listen to the next, and the next. That cannot be said for the other music passing itself off as popular. Give me this instead.
It’s interesting to hear this band’s take on pop, a mixture of what came before and what is considered now. Beta Love (Barsuk) could be Maroon 5 if their influences leaned on the side of Devo mixed in with America, or is that Robin Thicke? “What I Do For You” is some crazy synth pop song with a nice soulful vibe and the kind of bass power that’ll make E-40 fans envious. They don’t mind touching on their modern R&B influences, but there is a sense that they want to stray not too far from sounding like Maroon 5. Or at least Adam Levine’s influence is clear in Wes Miles’ singing style. However, what I like more about Ra Ra Riot is that there’s much more musical definition. At least in my mine, they’re doing much more than the standard pop/rock band, by not only doing pop and rock nicely, but touching on other things that other groups aren’t doing (or doing well).
Last Maroon 5 reference in this review is coming up. While some may hear them as a variant of the M5 sound, I feel Ra Ra Riot are being more challenging in their creations, and who they’re borrowing from. Once they reach a level of bliss, they may become unstoppable. Until then, I hope they don’t stop.
Boy + Kite are refreshed and back, bigger than ever. March 19th is when the band’s new EP will be released, entitled We Can Go Anywhere We Want, and they might be able to if this song is a means of providing clues. The song is called “Fall”, something I hope they will not do for awhile.
What they will be doing tonight (Wednesday, March 13th) is performing at this year’s SXSW so if you’re reading this from Austin, Texas: hello. Now go see them. You’ll have two chances to do so this week:
March 13… Austin, TX (The Old School SXSW 2013, Stubhub Live! Presents, 1230AM)
March 15… Austin, TX (The Parish Underground SXSW 2013, Audible Treats & The Vinyl District Presents, 825PM)