San Francisco-based dark indie pop duo New Spell – comprised of Leanne Kelly and Jacob Frautschi – dropped their 4-track EP Of Time, Part II today, and we’ve got your exclusive sneak peek at the release in its entirety. While aspects of “You Win” feel electronic – the song oozes quirky instrumentals that mirror our favorite video games – Kelly’s light as a feather vocals carry it into a more ethereal soundscape. The duo took the time to add fluid-sounding instrumentals to second track “Like Water”, and brought the entire tone of the album down for third track “Merely Mortal”. “Of Time” maintains this darker demeanor, while still leaving its listener feeling uplifted and – at times – breathless as it winds the release down.
Keep up with New Spell here.
Are you into quirky, emotional, indie rock music? Because Active Bird Community – and their brand new album Amends, out today – could really do the trick for you. The Brooklyn-based collective has been creating their brand of alternative music together since 2005 when the guys were in middle school, and the evolution has been impeccable, as they hone their sound into something 90’s babies will cherish, perhaps, more than anyone else. Amends is direct evidence of that.
Beginning with the title track, Amends establishes that slacker sound to a T while it meanders through with rough guitars, perfectly sometimes-whiny vocals, and a robust, head-bobbing energy. This carries well into second track “Holier”, though third track “Sweaty Lake” – as memorable as that name is – picks up the pace immensely, and understandably so. (See: the title “Sweaty Lake”.) Things slow again in “Unwind With Me”, which is, again, a direct reflection of the song title.
Once we get to “Baby It’s You”, I don’t think anyone is expecting a horns section. But there it is, an intro that wakes you back up with its differentiation from its predecessors. The pace takes that of a Weezer track, and we’re on board with the energy again. .”Virginia” feels more 90s grunge than others thus far, ragging on people for being “just a cliche” and challenging the object of their attention. “Blame” slows down to a ballad-like crawl, emotional in its disposition, while “Downstairs” adds some more quirk back into the feel of the album with light percussion and a rough, beautiful bass line.
“Metrics” starts with a toe-tapping, pop-like feel, and then delves back into the whirring guitars, hard percussion, and upbeat attitude of the majority of Amends. “Silver Screen” begins slow, simple, and then bursts into this kaleidoscope of sound that we didn’t necessarily see coming. “Lighthouse” rounds it all out quite beautifully, performed on acoustic guitar to really enhance the lovely, soft feeling of the lyrics.
You know, until it gets a little rowdy toward the end. But we really couldn’t have hoped for anything different.
Keep up with Active Bird Community here.
On August 31st, Dangerbird Records brought us a stunner of an EP to enjoy over the holiday weekend. Joel Jeronimo – aka Joel Jerome from the Los Angeles band DIOS and very well-known recording collaborator in the Southern California scene – and Jimi Cabeza de Vaca – aka Jimi Camaro, ex-member of DIOS – teamed up to create a three track mini album called Atlantis Airport 1982. A culmination of realism and fantasy – with a bed of synthesizers to frame it all – the album is pure otherworldly magic.
From the very first airplane-takeoff-sounding notes of “Atlantis” – which makes us feel like we are on an intergalactic spacecraft, if we’re being completely honest – to the slower, more tribal sounds of “Airport”, through to the last lines of far more experimental and jarring track “1982”, we’re smitten. In fact, we are given the impression by this album that we just went back in time to 1982, and hopped into their forward-thinking minds to their idea of the future, and then were spit back out again. It was a quick ride, but well worth it!
You may have already heard of emotional singer/songwriter Harry Myers, also known as Thoreau from his interviews, reviews, works, or playlists with popular music accounts such as Billboard, Trap Nation, and many more, but you’re going to want to make sure you listen to his new EP Reflections that was just released. This entire EP is built up of the emotions that you may feel throughout a relationship which makes his music not only enjoyable, but also relatable.
“In For” and “Afraid” are the most upbeat tracks that you will hear on the album, and also some of the most emotional. These songs describe fear, weaknesses, and emotions that you have to push through and learn how to live with throughout life and relationships. And every single track has this smooth, intense and robust soundscape that makes the EP an easy listener with a few friends, or the backdrop at a big party. It fits into so many environments sonically that we’re actually impressed by it. This EP resembles some aspects from the pop genre, but also R&B which gives it a different feel from the usual singer/songwriter likeness.
Make sure to check out the new Reflections EP, and you will not be disappointed!
Keep up with Thoreau here.
**co-written by meredith schneider
From the very first, crystal-like lines of “Intro”, to the very last vibrations of bass in ninth track “Empress”, London-based electro-pop duo Cherryade has brought us a ginormous party in the form of their mini EP Fractured Fairytales. And the artists are incredibly aware of how sticky sweet everything is. admits vocalist Ellla: “Fractured Fairytales is what it says in the name – it’s a bunch of songs that are really twisted and over the top and fun. They’re stories, and they’re a good representation of us and who we are, we like things with a bitter twist and that cross the line”. Alex continues,”We’ve got so much music we’re ready to release after this mini album, and it’s a lot more pop, but to the point it’s so sweet it’ll rot your teeth”.
“Fractured Fairytales” is catchy as all get out, though there is no doubt that it is a party track. In fact, most of the album follows suit, with hard hooks and an upbeat tempo. The feel to it all is very “Halloween rave,” which we are 100% here for seeing as we’re zeroing in on autumn right now. (Hello, September!) “Get By” has that same repetitive, fun disposition as its predecessor, and while “Got You Good” feels more earthy than the others, it still has that fast, intense tempo and danceable rhythm you can burn calories to. Though “Blah Blah” won’t necessarily replace Ke$ha’s similarly named track, it holds a place close in our hearts next to it.
If you’re hometown loyal, “My Town” could be your next favorite track. With a slightly calmer vibe, “The Crown” comes in boasting a more regal overall feel. “Houdini” will make you want to drop it pretty quickly, while “Empress” will put you in the right frame of mind to go into the rest of your day feeling like hot shit.
We’re serious. Try it on for size.
Fractured Fairytales mini album tracklisting
2. Fractured Fairytales
3. Get By
4. Got You Good
5. Blah Blah
6. My Town
7. The Crown
Keep up with Cherryade here.
Toronto-based artist Marlon Chaplin has just released his full-length debut album and it is, to put it simply, a powerhouse record. Chaplin clearly has the range of a true rock performer and these ten tracks embody his style flawlessly. It is diverse, passionate, and an inimitable listening experience that will leave you wanting nothing more but to see the live performance (and to play the album on a continuous loop).
The record opens up with “The Circle.” As the attention grabber, the title track is very high energy, complete with a full-bodied opening instrumental. It is the perfect opening, capturing the adrenaline of that momentous first song of a rock concert. It sets the pace for other similar rocker tracks, such as “Drain Me,” “Imaginary Mary K,” and “Elevation.” The album slows down with two acoustic ballads: “Back to the Start” and “Take Me There.” They are dreamy and buoyant, complete with pretty harmonies. Chaplin’s more vulnerable side is at the forefront of these songs, making them even more beautiful.
“A Single Drop” is a cool song with a biting edge. It swings us back around from the romantic ballads, showing Chaplin’s diversity in sound and genre. Listeners are treated to yet another change of pace with “One Man Show” and “Where Did We Go.” Their upbeat sound reminds me of the band Bleachers, with the vintage upbeat aesthetic and catchy guitar riffs. And the final track, “Out on the Wing,” brings a flawless ending to a very well-rounded album. It’s slower and sad, but full of life, focusing on the magnificent sound of strings.
The amount of work put into this strong debut is clear. Released via Möbius Recordings, the album was produced by Chaplin, mixed by Chris Shaw (Partner, Weezer, Bob Dylan) and mastered by Joao Carvalho. With such a stand-out debut, The Circle is bound to impress anyone and everyone who listens to it.
The Circle is out now, and is available for purchase here.. Keep up with the latest on Chaplin here. Also, be sure to check him out on tour, including the album release show in Toronto on August 30th.