Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Roundup.

Todd Herfindal-Shine Shine & More Than I singles. Todd Herfindal (ex-Meadows) is back with his first new music in nearly four years, and he's just as melodic as ever. Right now the new music consists of a pair of two-song singles, one of which came out last fall and the other just this past week. The two songs on the "Shine Shine" single were co-written by Herfindal with Rich McCulley, another favorite of the site, and together they've created some of the best Heartland power pop of the past several years. The title track is suitably tuneful and anthemic, while "Right Here Now" has a Gin Blossoms vibe. On the other single, "More Than I" is a bright rocker that's in the Tom Petty vein, and "Gratitude" boasts a sweet George Harrison-styled melody (with slide guitar) and some fine vocals from Herfindal. These are four outstanding tracks, and the best part is Herfindal's made them available with a "name your price" offer at Bandcamp. Here's hoping a full album will follow.

Bandcamp | iTunes (Shine Shine) | iTunes (More Than I)

Ted Billings-American Bedrooms. Boston's Ted Billings was the frontman of Age Rings, an indie pop band with two pretty decent albums to its name that I never got around to reviewing on the site but found their way into my iTunes library. On his solo debut, he's managed a collection of urgent, pensive tracks that should appeal to indie poppers and power poppers alike. Opener "Freedom" finds Billings singing of the scarring impact 9/11 had on his teen years and 20s, cautioning "it's not just me/but it's millions" and recalls Guided by Voices, while the relentless "Painaway" is probably the catchiest track here, with its insistent chorus and fuzzed-out guitars. Billings also sports some Wilco influence here - the raucous "House on Fire" wouldn't have sounded out of place on A Ghost is Born, while "Meet Me in Dreams" and "Goodbye and Good Luck" bring to mind some of Jeff Tweedy's catchier Summerteeth tunes. There's a cohesive sound here throughout American Bedrooms' eight tracks, making it a real album experience.


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