Thursday, June 20, 2019

Mid-June roundup.

The Lunar Laugh-Goodnight Noises Everywhere. Jared Lekites and Connor Anderson team up once again as The Lunar Laugh with their third full-length (and first on the Kool Kat label), and Goodnight Noises Everywhere finds them emphasizing the pop side of their previous power pop/folk-rock mix. Lekites' "Welcome to the World" welcomes us to the album with its bouncy, Brit-poppy sheen while Anderson's "Old New Kid in Town" nods to their earlier folk/rock sound but also ups the BPMs; in fact, tracks like "Another Casualty" and "Waiting for a Sign" find them in borderline 1980s synth-pop territory. But there are plenty of less-modern sounding tracks that are a delight here as well, especially the warm, front-porch vibe of "Tell Me a Story" and the power pop of lead single "By the Light of the Living Room". Something for everyone.

Kool Kat

The Bishop's Daredevil Stunt Club-End Over End. This Chicago band has been making records for the past decade but they've finally perfected their Sloan/Matthew Sweet-style power pop this time around as End Over End might have been more accurately titled Hit After Hit if this were the 1970s. "Get Up Get Up" is the quintessential power pop album opener, with its big guitars, big melodies and exhortations to get up, while "Starpower" channels Cheap Trick and The Cars. "The Henry Norman Hotel" has a touch of Guided by Voices in it (although it's twice the length of a typical GbV track), "Lifeguard" brings the Sloan comparisons, "Burndown at Sundown" rocks hard, and "Christine You're Mean" will have you reaching to hold up your lighter (or more realistically today, your cellphone light) in the dark. Primo power pop, in the classic sense.


Dinky-Open Letters. Dinky hails from Birmingham, England and their second album (I'll have to go back and listen to the first) is first-rate Britpop, most similar to Oasis when they were rocking a bit more and not openly aping The Beatles. Standout tracks include the gritty yet melodic opener "The Romance in Murder", the poptastic "Jennifer Against the World" and the 90s power pop of "Lights Go Out". They also show a great facility for the slower numbers too - the piano-and-strings ballad "Magnetic Fields" and the lush-sounding "More Than I Was Before" are tuneful treats as well.


Thursday, June 06, 2019

June singles roundup

Some new singles to get your summer rolling:

JoDee Purkeypile-What I'm Missing/Never is Not. Been quite a while since we had new music from the former frontman of The Alice Rose, so it's great to see him back in the swing with this 2-song single. Both tracks are in his signature form, indie pop that could be Nada Surf crossed with Jon Brion.


Peter Baldrachi-Breathe. Another artist whose output has been sporadic this decade is power popper Peter Baldrachi, who's released a few singles over the recent years but his last full-length was in 2011. His latest single is a rocking gem that will have you wishing for more and makes great use of the pause (a la "No Matter What"), between "stop!" and "breathe" in the chorus.


Freedy Johnston-20 Radios & Tryin' to Move On. One of my favorite singer-songwriters is back for the first time since 2015's brilliant Neon Repairman album with a pair of singles that right now are only available on CD Baby (so I can't embed the tracks). The bouncy folk/rock of "20 Radios" sees Johnston returning to the roots of his 1992 classic Can You Fly? album with some of the same musicians from that album while "Tryin' to Move On" (featuring the same crew) finds Freedy in more of a power pop mode. Neither song is going to be in his pantheon, but they're worth it if you've been any kind of fan of his.

"20 Radios" at CD Baby
"Tryin' to Move On" at CD Baby

Bryan Estepa-I'm Not Ready for This. A familiar name to most of you, Bryan Estepa returns with a new single in advance of his upcoming full-length due in August. "I'm Not Ready for This" finds him in classic form with the kind of bright guitar pop he's given us in the past and which is also reminiscent of fellow Aussie and sometime collaborator Michael Carpenter.


The Confusions-Sunday Mornings. This Swedish band has been around for 25 years or so and I have several of their albums in my music collection but somehow I've never mentioned them on the site until now. Anyway their latest single is a great place to start. "Sunday Mornings" is the kind of buoyant pop song that defies easy categorization so I'll let them describe it: "sounds like Ringo and Paul are in charge of the rhythm, like Phil Spector has recorded the strings, mixed with wild reverb guitars and a chorus that really sticks with you". I'll go along with that.