You may have heard that Sleigh Bells is releasing a new album. If it can’t get here fast enough for you, some Sleigh Bells-esque noise-pop action is available in Ugly Kids Club‘s “Diamond in Your Fire.” You’ll hear SB’s influence all over it, but when the melodies are this infectious, who cares? The video itself is really weird; just go with it.
While we’re on the subject of strange videos, here’s TimPermanent’s “Busy” clip. The song itself is a burbling indie-electro tune that owes The Postal Service a debt of gratitude. The video is something else entirely.
I’m reviewing fewer and fewer bands with the word “hardcore” in their genre name, but I don’t abandon friends. A Road to Damascus‘s video to “What a Waste of Breath” shows off their pop-punk/hardcore in a tour video: if you’re not down with the genre, it’s worth jumping to 1:45 to see a five-second clip of the bassist pulling off a one-handed cartwheel on stage while holding his bass. I don’t see that every day.
SoundCloud has reached 10,000,000 sound creators, which is a pretty impressive number. The guys behind the project have created a Story Wheel to tell the history of SoundCloud. It’s a pretty fun little slide-show and presentation, and it’s only a few minutes long. Story Wheel is a pretty cool little app/program as well – I hadn’t heard of it until this came in over the wire.
Charlie Betts, whose “unique, divisive voice” I wrote about in January, has another whole album ready for alt-country fans. It’s very similar to his previous work, so old fans and newly interested parties can check out A New World at his Bandcamp.
Many blogs cover pop-punk in great detail, which is why I’ve written about it less as of late. However, A Road to Damascus‘ brand of pop-punk/emo/screamo has been on my radar since early 2010. Their new self-titled album makes me think back fondly on the year 2003, when Tell All Your Friends/Your Favorite Weapon/War All the Time were the thing, yo. The band pulls out all the stops: pop-punk riffs, hardcore breakdowns, sky-high sung vocals, screams and melodic hooks galore. If you’re into emo/pop-punk, consider your day vastly improved. Pick it up from iTunes and/or check out this music video (which should also induce early ’00s flashbacks).
And Run Hundred released a list of top ten best songs from August to hear while running/working out. From founder Chris Lawhorn:
Pitbull, Ne-Yo, Afrojack & Nayer – “Give Me Everything (Sidney Samson Remix)”
Nicki Minaj – “Super Bass”
Switchfoot – “Dark Horses”
Gym Class Heroes & Adam Levine – “Stereo Hearts”
Lady GaGa – “Edge Of Glory (Bare Noize Remix)”
Pitbull & Marc Anthony – “Rain Over Me”
Nadia Ali, Alex Kenji & Starkillers – “Pressure (Alesso Radio Edit)”
T.I. & B.o.B. – “We Don’t Get Down Like Y’all”
LMFAO, GoonRock & Lauren Bennett – “Party Rock Anthem (Russ Chimes Remix)”
Alexandra Stan – “Mr. Saxobeat”
Even though it’s been raining for the last few days, summer is indeed coming. And that means it’s time for summer music. It’s just hard to rock the Bon Iver with the sun shining and the windows down. Then again, I wouldn’t really consider Last Tuesday, Relient K or The Bee Team during the doldrums of December. Everything in its right place.
A Road to Damascus‘ So Damn Close EP is an excellent slice of summer music. Pop-punk with enough pop to roll the windows down but enough punk to keep the energy high, the three tracks here sport a sheen that could be construed as annoying if you weren’t taking it at face value. Don’t try to read anything in to these songs; they’re not made for it.
But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t great tunes. The vocal melodies of “So Damn Close” are bright without being sugar-coated, perfect for singing along. The darker mood of “Sweetheart” evokes AFI in all the right ways, from the dour but catchy chorus to the breakdown in the bridge to the minor but not dissonant guitarwork. Equally as catchy as the first track, but in different ways. That’s what I want out of a band.
“Sang 3” yanks Yellowcard’s rhythmic and melodic shtick, but it does it with so much enthusiasm and candor that it’s entirely forgivable. While not the best track here, it’s certainly enjoyable and interesting. It features the only moment on this EP to give me shivers, at 2:40. I won’t ruin it for you.
A Road to Damascus’ So Damn Close EP is loads of fun. The tracks are fun to listen to, beg to be sung along with, and would almost certainly inspire fist-pumping at a concert. There’s not much more that I want out of a pop-punk band, and I don’t think that’s much more than the band wants to be. Highly recommended.
Stephen Carradini and Lisa Whealy write reviews of instrumental, folk, and singer/songwriter music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.