Best New Releases, Week of May 8th – Here We Go Magic, P.S. I Love You, Virals, The Cribs, Heavy Cream, Royal Headaches
One song that will be a single for upcoming summer playlists will be the undeniable “How Do I Know” off of Here We Go Magic’s newest album, A Different Ship. HWGM is one of our favorite nerdy indie pop masters of recent years. The double-shot single, “Make Up Your Mind,” is such a different sound for the band that we’re not sure what to think. It has an 80′s new wave style, complete with high octane electronic keyboard notes and a forward-charging beat that remind us of soundtracks of movies from the 1980s, like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The album itself has mixed reviews online, but we’re digging it.
Virals Rises Out of the Ashes of the Band Lovvers
Virals is a new music project from Shaun Hencher, the frontman of Dionysian punks, Lovvers. Following the break up of Lovvers, Virals offers a new beginning and see’s Shaun predominately writing, playing and recording on his own. With that new beginning comes a fresh approach to songwriting that takes cues from the sunshine vibe of certain American states yet retaining a suitably English feel.
Beginning as a studio-only project in late 2010, Hencher began with the main aim to craft songs that stick in the head but don’t take themselves too seriously. To date he’s stockpiled a collection of twenty-plus songs, and is only now starting to make these songs available with a series of well-planned releases.
Opening with “Coming Up With The Sun,” a glorious shot of wide-eyed she-loves-me/she-loves-me-not powerpop, Virals offer up an EP that’s as infectious as the band name would suggest. Recalling the classic productions of Nick Lowe, Bob Mould’s Sugar or even The Go Gos, sharing the same earworm qualities and wreckless abandon. But let’s start off first with the sweet track, “Gloria.”
The Cribs, Heavy Cream Deliver Back-to-Back Punk Rock Singles
These next two new singles were almost made to be played back-to-back. First up, one of the U.K.’s finest brother bands of the past decade, The Cribs, return with more of their straight-forward punk/garage rock on the lead single, “Chi Town” from their fifth studio album. It’s the trio’s first album since 2009′s Ignore The Ignorant, which peaked at No. 8 on the U.K. charts and earned them a Silver Certificate for the album, In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull.
Add the new-to-us band, Heavy Cream, to the list of awesome girl fronted garage/punk rock bands that have been popping up all over the place in recent years. The single, “John Johnny,” is an infectious, lo-fi, punk rocker track that reminds us a little bit of My Thrill Kill Cult’s “Devil Bunnies.” It also sounds like a track that would be considered if there were ever to be an alternative soundtrack to Pulp Fiction – a playlist which we actually plan to publish this summer – we enjoy making alternative (or Part II or Part III) soundtrack playlists for movies, especially Quentin Tarantino movies, like Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs and Kill Bill.
“John Johnny” – Heavy Cream from Super Treatment on Infinity Cat
Royal Headache have emerged as Australia’s foremost new soul rebels. After a youth spent earning their stripes in the punk and hardcore scene, Royal Headache came together in 2008 over a mutual love of the urgency and melody associated with the classic sounds of 60’s mod and 70s punk and power pop. They craft tight, irresistible, R&B-inflected punk songs, and hone a universal message of redemption through passion. Pure of heart and immune to pretension, Royal Headache released their self-titled debut in the U.S. this week. They play youth-energy rock at its most vindicating and motivating.
Wisconsin musician S. Carey is best known as music director, drummer (one of two drummers) and supporting vocalist of the immensely popular indie folk band Bon Iver. But on his debut EP, Hoyas, he explores a different territory. The lead single below, “Two Angles” delivers a hauntingly electronica/dub-step track combined with an interesting infusion of trumpet runs.
“Two Angles” – S. Carey from Hoyas EP
New Singles from Freshly Dropped Albums by Orpheum Bell and Sean Bones
The new single from Dana Buoy is one we just happened upon. The name was somewhat familiar, and without checking it out further first, we just fired up the single from his/her new album and a minute into it realized it’s a pretty good track in its own way, for a certain moment. It has aspects that range from celebratory to shimmery, even soaring, with high-pitched guitar notes, robustly upbeat drums, choruses and synths.
This is a good song for a summer playlist because it just sounds like a song fit to play at the beach, at an outdoor barbecue, driving on a blazing day with windows down or while your biking on a trail. Some songs just create an imagery, and “Call To Be” does that. And with an album title of Summer Bodies it’s even more enticing to eventually get around to listening to it. Turns out, Dana Buoy is simply the solo moniker of Akron/Family percussionist Dana Janssen. Sweet.
“Call To Be” – Dana Buoy from Summer Bodies on Lefse Records
Next, it sounds like Tom Waits has met up with the Squirrel Nut Zippers on the track “Poor Laetitia,” from the band Orpheum Bell; the song overall has such a convincingly old fashion bluesy jazz style that it would fit nicely on the soundtrack to Chicago. Shifting into a completely different gear, the new single from Sean Bones, “Here Now,” which is followed by the dark dubstep electro dance track, “Kaiyo Maru” by Led Er Est.
“Poor Laetitia” – Orpheum Bell from The Other Sister’s Home (self-released)
“Here Now”- Sean Bones from Buzzards Boy (self-released)
“Kaiyo Maru” – Led Er Est from The Diver on Sacred Bones Records
Popular Austin Band, Saints of Valory, Drop Sophomore Album
The next band, Saints of Valory, released their sophomore album this week. The title track, the first single, “Kids,” definitely got our attention. The lead singer exhibits a wide vocal range with similarities to Chris Martin. The track winds and turns through verses of mellow rock story-telling backed by a strong drum beat, bass and synths that slowly build to grand, almost epic, choruses and shimmering guitar riffs. The song is a wonderful composition with hi-fi recording quality that makes it seems likely for FM radio, and especially college radio.
Less than six months after relocating to Austin – after an inspired visit to SXSW in 2010 – the band placed in the top ten in six categories of the Austin Chronicle‘s 2011 Music Awards. Saints of Valory sound is less indie and more mainstream leaning, which would explain why they’ve been featured on Billboard.
“Kids” – Saints of Valory from Kids
Raleigh Band Drift Wood Miracle and The Driftwood Singers
Drift Wood Miracle is a Raleigh unsigned indie rock band Indie. In 2010, the band was formed organically between friends Alex Phillips and Bryan Diver, and soon they had an 11-song debut album, Today or Yesterday. The duo have now released a follow-up EP this week, Cuidade. They formed a band to play live gigs in North Carolina.
Their influences include Manchester Orchestra, James Vincent McMorrow, Brand New, Danny Malone, Timbre, Sigur Ros, Brand New, and Kevin Devine. “Cabin in the Snow” is the track that we actually picked over another song they are offering up as a single, “Call My Name,” because the former is more representative of the promise we hear in the duo’s folk pop/rock sound. Diver’s voice sounds like another singer that we just can’t put our finger on.
“Call My Name” – Drift Wood Miracle from Cuidadé
Cabin In The Snow – Drift Wood Miracle from Cuidadé
The next band, The Driftwood Singers, mix folk sounds and gospel style singing in their longing tale, “I Don’t Live Here Anymore.” It’s a bit coincidental that this week’s Best New Releases includes two bands with the not too common word “driftwood” in their name, so it made sense to group them together.
“I Don’t Live Here Anymore” – The Driftwood Singers from I Don’t Live Here Anymore
Life-long friends growing up in Philadelphia, the band Cheers Elephant were once called Instant Breakfast, but after high school they went their separate ways for a year or so, but decided to get back together as a band, and renamed themselves Cheers Elephant, after a circus elephant in Coney Island, who reportedly only drank beer.
They soon started gaining some traction as a serious band with their mix of rootsy and psychedelic rock, mixed with aspects of folk and even a bit of pop. We like the edgy guitar solo on “Falling Out.” The band’s second track, “Doin’ It Right,” is much different – energetic, upbeat, mysterious and somehow almost danceable. In fact, the first few seconds of the track sound almost exactly like the intro to the Kings of Convenience stellar track, “Toxic Girl.”
Soundcloud Tracks: Animal Kingdom, Bigg Jus, and Fela Kuti
The following is a collection of Soundcloud only tracks, which are placed at the end of the playlist so that the all of the other 16 songs above will stream altogether (wish one exception on the second track from Virals) uninterrupted. Out of time to say much about these next three tracks other than we included them because some people are bond to dig one or more of them.
Animal Kingdom – Strange Attractor from The Looking Away on Boombox / Mom + Pop
Bigg Jus – Black Roses from Machines That Make Civilzation Fun on Mush Records
Fela Kuti – Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense from on Live In Detroit, 1986 on Knitting Factory Records