A weekly (or sometimes bi-weekly) selection of new – and new to me – music that I have found myself listening to over the past week on Rdio.
Another missed week, unfortunately, but I’m back again to fill you in on some of the albums that have been rocketing up my Heavy Rotation these days.
Click the band / album titles for Rdio links.
About a year ago, Warm Soda released an album called Someone For You that I found myself thoroughly addicted to. It was 27 minutes of punchy, power-pop that sounded like it was picked out of an old Stiff Records vault. Now, Matthew Melton (of Bare Wires previously) is back again with Young Reckless Hearts. The new album has a much warmer – yet oddly distant sound – to the production than Someone For You.
Don’t worry though, because it ends up creating an incredibly inviting listening experience – and is just as packed with hooks as should be expected from Melton. The arrangements more than deserve taking a dive into the record with headphones, and songs like “When Your Eyes Meet Mine” and “Save This Dance For Me” might just find themselves slotted on your next mixtape.
One of the most underrated rock bands currently writing and performing has returned, with their first album in about four years. Call Me Lightning‘s previous LP When I Am Gone My Blood Will Be Free was an insanely energetic piece of post-punk-meets-The-Who awesomeness. In fact, the band hasn’t put out a dud of an album in their entire career, from 2004’s The Trouble We’re In up to Human Hell.
I can’t speak about this band without bringing up their drummer, Shane Hochstetler. Call Me Lightning’s music is built upon spry riff’n’power-chord slashing coupled with fluid bass-lines, but Shane’s unreal drumming is so goddamn perfect, it’s insane. He peppers his rhythm tracks with copious amounts of Moon-style rolls, brief tempo diversions and unexpected fills – ensuring that there will be at least three to four moments per song that will make you want to jump out of your chair and high-kick whoever is nearest to you. His talent cannot be understated on their previous album (I’ve often gone on record saying it’s one of my favourite drum performances of the past decade) and thankfully, he and the entire band are back in full-force here – having crafted another set of wallpaper-peelingly great rock-and-roll.
This’ll surely be on my year-end list, I can feel it.
RAC might not be a name you’re super familiar with, if you haven’t been following the career of producer/multi-instrumentalist André Allen Anjos. He’s been remixing under the name RAC (Remix Artist Collective) since the mid-aughts, and some of his tracks have – in my opinion – out-shined those that they were built from. Following his recent mix-collection titled Chapter One, André has released his first set of original recordings – featuring a glut of guest-spots such as Kele Okereke from Block Party, Body Language, Teagan & Sara, and more.
It’s a fantastic collection of dance-floor ready pop songs, with a healthy mix of addictive beats and eclectic live-instrumentation. The best of the bunch though, to my ears, is “Ello Ello”, which contains everything a good pop song should: simple yet deceptively catchy chord progression, minimal-yet-not-too-empty lyrics, and a great breakdown. I can’t seem to tear myself away from this track, it seems. And the rest are pretty dang good, too.
In 2006, I heard a song on the radio that I absolutely hated with a passion. Around this time, the whole dance-meets-post-punk thing was really popular – enough to cross over into the mainstream thanks (in part) to albums like The Killers‘ Hot Fuss and the debut Franz Ferdinand record. The song that I heard in 2006 was “Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt” by We Are Scientists. The stupidity of the hook irked me, to say the least, and it just seemed like a desperate attempt at another “Mr. Brightside” or “Take Me Out” – you know, the whole slinky, vaguely sexual 4/4 hi-hat, guitar-dance-rock thing. Long story short, somehow I ended up listening to their album With Love and Squalor, and to my surprise – if you skip the opening track – it’s a fantastic and unpretentious pop record that strings along one great song after another. To me though, it’s an album I always start on Track 2.
Even longer story short, I’ve always quietly rooted for We Are Scientists because of my early experiences; I can only imagine how many people have written their debut off thanks to the awful lead-single. They followed their debut up with Brain Thrust Mastery – after pairing down to a duo. It was an album that I wasn’t too keen on, but their next album Barbara was a step back in the right direction – in my opinion. Now, with their latest record TV En Francais they have released what is easily their most consistent record since With Love and Squalor. I look forward to this album warming up my spring with its warm hooks and excellent production; It’s great to have ’em back.
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Ever wondered what a band featuring members of Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, The Ponys, Don Caballero, and The Poison Arrows would sound like? Well, here you go. The self-titled album from Acquaintances – a placeholder name that stuck as the members of the aforementioned bands collaborated on music while getting to know each other – seems to have flown under the radar recently. In fact, I wouldn’t have even listened to it, had someone not tipped me off to the fact that it was a super-group of sorts that happened to pull from some of my favourite bands. I’m extremely glad I checked it out, though.
The tracks with Jared Gummere are especially awesome to a huge The Ponys fan such as myself, and if you’re a fan of his work in Disappears (or any of the other bands listed, really) you’ll find plenty of vaguely kraut-influenced fuzz-rock on here to enjoy.