I kicked back and plugged the phones into my ears and suddenly felt the urge to go to roller skating at Skateland. Welcome to WASI‘s “Stranger California.” This self-proclaimed “riot pop” duo from California offers what I would classify as synth pop with ska guitar riffs and a solid beat. The lyric writing is well thought out and can seem like the perspective of an unseen observer on the outside looking in. With descriptors capturing the stereotype, “dirty beaches and hair that’s bleached out,” there is still a humble sense of being a part of the community in the line, “I can still appreciate the neighborhood thrift store.” You don’t have to live in California to rock this song. Just close your eyes and next thing you know imagination will take control allowing you to cruise the shoreline with the convertible top down as WASI provides the soundtrack.
Don’t let the title fool you “Stranger California” is a very fun, uplifting and carefree song. It would fit in well with a game of beer pong just the same as it would playing in the background with a group full of friends laughing as they cram themselves elbow to elbow on an old ratty couch.
This is the kind of originality that should be dominating the radio. While yes, “Stranger California” does remind me of MIA’s “Paper planes” there is a reason that song took off. And given the right audience, WASI could too. Be sure to keep an eye out as they will be on the SXSW bill and touring this spring as a supporting act to Caroline Rose.
While Connecticut-based 20-year-old artist and producer Kevin George prepares to drop his debut release LOVELAND on the world, he’s got some tricks up his sleeve leading up to it. Namely, the release of his new single “High Like This” and its accompanying video. Full of insanely trippy visuals – Seriously, how amazing is the movement in this video?! – the video takes you on a journey with George himself, while he croons some seductive and fun lyrics in different settings, the colors play well to captivate your attention. It’s really a remarkable work of art, an experience of sorts.
WARNING: It will be difficult to accept the fact that Kevin George is this talented out the gate. But he is, and we can’t wait for more.
UK-based rock outfit Bridges – expertly comprised of Ethan, Josh, Henry, and Farkas – is revving up for some amazing things to happen in 2018. As it stands, they took some time to release a particularly amazing single at the end of 2017, an energetic – almost primal feeling – track titled “BFF”. Hand with your friends and play this loudly, jumping around and acknowledging the good you can find in the most simple of relationships.
You can find the single below, but there is also a bonus live video of Ethan and Joe beautifully performing a toned down version of “BFF” in a local church. There is a wholesomeness found in this version, a feeling of warmth that isn’t otherwise noticed. You may or may not have the video on repeat today, if we’re being honest.
Catch Bridges on one of their February stops in England below!
10 The Eagle Inn, Manchester
11 Parish, Huddersfield
12 Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham
13 Old Blue Last, London
15 Gwdihw Cafe Bar, Cardiff
17 Crofters Rights, Bristol
Tickets are available here. Keep up with Bridges here.
Los Angeles-based indie pop duo Grad Party – expertly comprised of Carlo Ladd (keys, vocals) and Ian Bowers (guitars, vocals) – are hitting 2018 hard after the success of their 2017 EP Speak. Though university brought them together – they met when they attended Brown in Rhode Island – it is clearly the music that has kept them thriving together creatively. “Pretty Boy” is calculated in its sound, timid but beautiful from the beginning. The track is vulnerable, yet quirky with its staccato instrumentals, though the message holds true, the lyrics giving light to the meaning of it all. Love who you love. “Pretty boy, don’t you care what they think.”
Be sure to give this track some love in the comments!
Oakland-based indie pop collective Felsen – expertly comprised of guitarist Dylan Brock, singer/guitarist Andrew Griffin, bassist Christian Hernandez, and drummer Art McConnell – is preparing for their fifth release, a full-length titled Blood Orange Moon set to drop on January 26th. The album – comprised of eleven insanely intricate and mesmerizing tracks – was written entirely in the fall of 2014 leading into the winter of 2015, inspired by Andrew Griffin’s experiences as an 11-year-old cancer survivor. The album has a lot of heart, but the soul of the group had already spoken for itself before this one came along, to be sure.
Our first impression? Easy-going. The tempo is slow, but purposeful. The lyrics are introspective, built into the song coated in reverb. The combination of vocals and instrumentals actually makes the listener feel as though they are floating in a nostalgic kaleidoscope, with peeks into prior decades, tickled slightly by modern references. It’s beautiful, and something you can’t exactly describe. (And that heart-melting guitar toward the end. WOW!)
“Vultures On Your Bones” is available now. Keep up with Felsen here.
Frigs. A dirty, grungy, punk sounding band from Toronto Canada that has applied the perfect amount of monotone “don’t care” attitude with catchy choral melodies. The music itself is a little hard to define or pigeonhole into a specific genre. So those of you who when asked, “What kind of music do you listen to?” and refrain from spewing out genre after sub-genre after made-up genre, and respond by saying, “everything”, this is for you.
The subtle amount of heated amplifier tubes follows suit with my description of sounding dirty and grungy, however, there is a subtle aspect of experimental musicianship that demands respect. I doubt it’s accidental talent that there are overtones applied to this track that isn’t taught in music theory but should be. Leonard Bernstein stated that a single pitch contains an infinite number of pitches. Within those pitches lay a hidden key that allows music to convey emotion.
Frigs has hit that key allowing them to not only capture a distinct sound but create an atmosphere for the listener. “Talking pictures” starts dark and dreary yet the chorus has that steady hi-hat tapping that you will find your head bobbing in sync with.
For those of us who were waiting for Courtney Love to learn how to sing (still waiting), we can now give up and turn our focus to Bria. She goes right where Love fell flat. The best part is when you think this girl just sings, you get a guttural scream, “Do you see it?” It doesn’t make this track heavy, it is what is, a boldly stated question. Here Frigshas laid out a soundscape and painted a mental picture. I saw it. “Do you see it?”
Side Note – According to their website Frigs will be on tour starting March 2018 in Canada and some states in the U.S. My only complaint is this, there is no stop in Phoenix, Arizona.
However their album Basic Behaviour comes out Feb 23, 2018. Keep up with Frigs here.