Friday, February 01, 2013

Friday Roundup.

The Tor Guides-Strawberries & Chocolates. What better way to break up the dreary drudgery of winter than with a bright, sunny slice of Swedish pop? The Tor Guides have the answer with their first album after their 2007 debut, Honeybees & Tangerines. This time it's Strawberries & Chocolates, and the tunes are as sweet as the title. Just like their compatriots The Merrymakers and The Tangerines, The Tor Guides make it sound effortless on tracks such as "Every Little Thing" which features Torbjorn Pettersson's slightly nasal vocals (almost like a Swedish Chris Collingwood) and Jeff Lynne-style production, the buoyant "Summer's Green" (featured on the most recent IPO collection) and the aptly-named "Sweet Apple Pie". The observant among you may have noticed this disc slotted in at #4 on David Bash's year-end list for 2012. Since it really didn't get a proper US release until around the turn of the year (late December on Kool Kat, mid-January on iTunes), I'm going to put it on 2013's account where it probably has a top 10 spot locked up.

Kool Kat
| iTunes

Stephen Lawrenson-Obscuriosity. Stephen Lawrenson's third album (and first since 2009's Someplace Else) might just be his best to date. The Pennsylvanian power popper has signed on with Kool Kat, and he continues to perfect his ELO-meets-Crowded-House-with-a-little-Brian-Wilson sound. The title track is the real highlight here, inverting the usual order of things by making the verses more urgent than the chorus while all the while giving it a "lost classic" feel (in other words, an "obscuriosity"). "Words to Say" adds some jangle to the mix, and the piano-backed "Small White House" captures the mid-to-late-period Beatles vibe with all its attendant bells and whistles. This is top-notch stuff, and fans of this style won't want to miss it.

CD Baby | Kool Kat | iTunes

No comments: