Time to get in the 2016 swing with a quick look at some late 2015 releases I didn't get to in time and a few from the new year.
The Modulators-Try Try Try. Kool Kat released this one late in 2015, and it did manage to squeeze onto my year-end list. These guys have been around since 1980, and this is their second album after re-forming in 2009. Their sound is classic 70s/80s power pop with a bit of the "skinny tie" element. Standout tracks here include "Upper Hand" (with its recurring riff that reminds me of "Picture Book"), the jangly "What's on Your Mind", and "Lucky Stars", which would have been a hit in 1971. Get it a Kool Kat with a bonus EP.
Hector & The Leaves-Little Bee EP. London's Tom Hector and his Leaves have given us 2016's first standout EP with four tracks of sunshine-y pop that I'd describe as Brian Wilson meets Badly Drawn Boy. Matt Williams (known to readers of this site as The Brigadier) helps out, and the best part is that EP is free to download on Bandcamp.
The Matt Truman Ego Trip-AM 1670 EP. And the second standout EP of 2016 comes from Ohio's Matt Truman. He says the EP is inspired by 1970's AM Radio, and that will be obvious once you take a listen. "Starry Eyes" and "Hard to Get" just the right mix of rock and melody a la Badfinger/The Raspberries, while "First Kiss" is just the right kind of mellow. And I swear I once had a receiver that looks just like the one on the cover.
One Like Son-Ugly. And finally we have the incredibly prolific One Like Son, who put out two albums in 2015 (New American Gothic and Classic) or four, if you count this one and Leftovers (an odds-and-ends collection) which were released to Bandcamp on December 31. This one's going on my 2016 ledger, and it's a bit of a departure for the boys who normally go the high-energy route with their sound. In fact you could say the title's ironic as this might be the prettiest collection of tunes they've released, from the father-and-son-themed opener "Crimes and Misdemeanors", to the nearly folky "Stella" to the power balladry of "Midwest Summer Nights". When most artists go years between releases, these guys keep cranking them out and so far the quality has kept pace with the quantity. Guess I'll be writing about them again in six months.