Los Angeles-based quintet The Wild Reeds has been gracing our headphones for a hot second, but their new album Cheers is pure gold. Starting with the upbeat pace of “Moving Target” and then rolling slightly more slowly into “Telepathic Mail”, which has a persevering message we can all get behind. By “A Way To Stop”, the band has established, yet again, that they balance a wire between pop and rock, a little folk twang thrown in for fun. While fourth track “Lose My Mind” feels largely vintage, “Play It Safe” could easily have been played at a sock hop back in the day as well. The production value on both is beautiful and lush, perfect for vinyl play, we’re sure.
“Young and Impressionable” is honest and open, while “Giving Up On You” is louder, more determined, but maintains that vulnerability. “Don’t Pretend” approaches from a softer perspective, while the title alone of “P.S. Nevermind” already feels like something we can all relate to. (Hi. I have an additional thought. Should I have that additional thought? No? Nevermind. Yes. No. Don’t worry about it.) Lyrics like “I’m reckless/I did it and I’ll do it again” prove us too wrong, and we’re falling for this track hard. “Run and Hide” is wonderfully mellifluous, a song that feels like a ballad and belongs nowhere if not in your car, being belted at the top of your lungs as you drive home from work [today]. They round Cheers out with “My Name”, a track that is slowed to the pace of the first couple of songs, indicating the end of our profound journey with The Wild Reeds. The lyrics make it the perfect placement on the album, a lullaby of sorts that keeps us craving more.
Keep up with The Wild Reeds here.
On March 8th, Matt Shapiro released a 6-track EP that is absolutely thrilling from start to finish. You can see why, too, as Matt admits he approaches his music-making a lot like film. “I approach making a record like I’m making a movie,” he admits. “My last album Metaphysical was very layered and wide-angle and made to sound kind of epic. With this new EP FADE IN, I made the conscious decision to go the other way. This one’s more disciplined, and really stripped down to essentials…more like a scrappy little indie. And it has more bite.”
If you think for a moment that he doesn’t mean the phrase “scrappy little indie,” then you’re in for a treat. “Rockaway Girl” is very theatric, throwing you into this one-man performance that is equal parts modern indie rock and 80’s pop fury. “The Addict” darkens the soundscape a bit, but the collection doesn’t forget the attitude that came with the first track, as it weaves into the slow burner “Is There Something Going On”. “Johnny” is for the human who feels like walking on the wild side, while “Water’s Edge” is much slower, simple and soft in its disposition. Shapiro’s vocals feel like water as they glide amidst the instrumentals. This tranquil feeling is put to an abrupt halt with the first staccato notes of “Genievieve”. It seems as though the pace and volume change might have to do with the way a significant other disrupts your life, and makes things ten times louder. We’re fond of the impact it has on the EP’s trajectory, and couldn’t have placed a more defining last song.
Keep up with Matt Shapiro here.
Hailing from New York state, musical duo Lost Leaders – comprised of Peter Cole (Guitar/Vocals) and Byron Issacs (Guitar, Bass/Vocals) – released their endearing new 9-track full-length, titled Promises Promises on Friday. Beginning with first track “Extra-Ordinary”, the band brings an organic feeling of warmth to each track through to the last whirring notes of “Falling”. Personal favorites from the collection are “People Like Us”, “Wake Me Up”, and the darkness of “Falling Stars”, though we would never suggest trying those out without the album in its entirety.
The way Lost Leaders has crafted the energy of this album from one song to the next is bar none, and we’re electrified at the prospect of listening all week!
Keep up with Lost Leaders here.
Today, blues/soul musician Sugaray Rayford releases his latest full-length, an album titled Somebody Save Me. Starting with first track “The Revelator”, he weaves his quintessential raspy, soulful vocals into the instrumentals like a seasoned pro. While “Time to Get Movin'” speeds the pace up a bit, it also brings a little more southern rock flare into the soundscape, which is less confusing when you remember this talent hails from the great state of Texas. “You and I” is a true love track, something you should convince your significant other to dance with you to.
“My Cards Are on the Table” follows suit in the romance department, though it slows things down even more than its predecessor. While “I’d Kill for You, Honey” has that southern twang to it, “Angels and Devils” takes more of what we would consider a ballad-like approach. “Sometimes You Get the Bear (And Sometimes the Bear Gets You)” feels nostalgic, a piece of “The Twist” haunting it while we sway our hips. The title track slows things way down – anyone else feel like they’re at a sock hop? – while ” Is It Just Me” goes all out in the horns section to introduce itself. “Dark Night of the Soul” rounds it all out with a slightly edgier tone than the rest of the album, though it is one of our absolute favorite tracks in this collection and leaves quite the imprint on your memory.
Keep up with Sugaray Rayford here.
Today, Kansas City-based collective Fathers – comprised of Kenneth Storz (Voice, Guitar, Keys), Brooke Honeycutt (Voice, Bells, Percussion), David Littlewood (Voice, Keys, Bells), Matt Guilliams (Bass, Percussion), Bryce VZ (Vibraphone, Voice, Percussion), Josh Seerden (Guitar, Keys, Bass, Percussion), and Celeste Tilley (Trombone, Voice, Percussion) – releases a compelling new EP titled High Horses. First track “Natural Facts” starts out with static, and then one voice becomes many as it layers into a beautiful, wordless harmony. It is only at 1:42 that lyrics are introduced to the track, melancholic and beautiful in their disposition. “PRTND” maintains that same low, thoughtful sound, as the influence of oughts punk is woven into their unique indie sound.
“Guinevere” is welcomed slowly, as gracefully as the name would indicate. The entirety of the track feels delicate compared to its brethren, as it is the only track void of vocals, save for a distorted overlay at the very end. Fathers round out the collection with the title track, a slow yet vibrant display of introspective lyrics and strings amidst a bevy of tranquil sounds. It is absolutely delightful.
Keep up with Fathers here.
On this – the first day of March, in the year of all denominational acceptance, twenty nineteen – The Mowgli’s release their new EP, a 4-track collection titled American Feelings. And boy, do we have feelings. Beginning with first track “Hard to Love”, there are MAJOR feelings present in this album. And though The Mowlgi’s aren’t known for hiding their feelings, this is a new level of vulnerability. “Hard to Love”, in particular, is this insane pop track that has this dance vibe that makes it impossible not to move. The lyrics, admittedly, are way less fun and slightly more paranoid than the soundscape, but the honesty through Dieden’s vocals – and that damn fine drum beat – keep us coming back for more.
But second track “Mr. Telephone” won’t disappoint after that incredible start, so don’t worry. female lead vocals provided by Katie Jayne Earl give everything a different dynamic, though it follows in the same “Holy shit this should be a #1 pop single” pattern is its predecessor. “Norman Rockwell” slows the pace down for us, but is no less layered and magical because of it. The way the lead vocals are weaved amidst the instrumentals reminds us of some of our favorite 90’s tracks, though we couldn’t necessarily assign a decade to those swooning instrumentals, that seem to knock us off our feet with every listen. Last track “Talk About It” swaps back to those female vocals, and even with the fast dance pace, it continues to touch on delicate topics. The lyrical content – had it been arranged any differently – may have truly made this a song to ponder your life to, crying alone in a room before making big decisions. But because of the pace and energy in the performance, there’s a juxtaposition that makes it so unique and beautiful.
Give it a spin if you want to feel the warm fuzzies for the rest of your day.
Keep up with The Mowgli’s here.