I’ve always been a big proponent of seasonal music. If I can’t get it to stop raining here in Texas, I can at least listen to summery sounds. Hey Anna‘s Pompette EP is just the thing to tune up my rainy days. The quintet, which includes three sisters, has packed just about every upbeat, happy thing possible into these four tunes: perky high-hat percussion, bouncy bass work, zooming synths, major-key guitar chords, and twirling top guitar work. It seems to be scientifically engineered to get in your party mix. More evidence: the single is called “Dance Until Three,” and “Superglue” is about kissing. If you can’t have fun while listening to Pompette, this blog is probably not a good fit with your musical interests. I expect to hear a lot from this band in the near future, because they’re just a blast to hear. Rock on, Hey Anna.
Trading in the summery for the sultry is Jenny Dragon. The six-piece Americana band features two lead female vocalists and a serious love for 1930s-50s radio on A Fair Souvenir. The all-analog (!) recording sounds pristine in its sound quality, but that’s just the front door. Once you get into the songwriting, there’s a ton to enjoy. The band sticks with traditional songwriting styles and motifs, creating tunes that will appeal to fans of The Ditty Bops. “Be That As It May” has a perky jump in its step that makes me want to get up and dance, from the guitar strum to the attitude-filled double bass (!). The very next tune, “Slow Ride West,” shows off their ability to write a slow, sentimental tune that would be perfect for a slow-dance at a sock hop. (It also shows off the double bass, which I am thrilled about.) So if you’re into vintage-style songwriting led by classic female vocals, A Fair Souvenir by Jenny Dragon should be in your corner.
We’re moving ever closer to summer! We’ve almost emerged from the wintry doldrums! I must play as much wintry, doldrum-y music as I can before it’s June and that sort of music gets weird! The first three are sunshiny, the back five are chilly and reminiscent of snow (or at least dead leaves).
Winter Won’t Go Without A Fight Mix
1. “Dance Until Three” – Hey Anna. Just do what they say, as summer comes.
2. “Knock Yourself Out” – Slow Buildings. Guitar rock never dies, it just grows another appendage. Nice wiry, spry tune here with a surf-rock-inspired chorus.
3. “W.T.A.” – The Miners. Like The Killers, how had this name not been taken? These Philadelphians peddle story-tellin’ alt-country that makes the most of pedal-steel and six-string interactions.
4. “Hold On” – Sons of the East. Because Mumford and Sons don’t tour Australia enough.
5. “Common Year” – Thomas. I used to turn to Pedro the Lion for morose indie-rock like this, but now that’s not a thing, so I’m thrilled that Thomas is here to alleviate some of that hole in my heart.
6. “My Own” – Morgan Manifacier. Bon Iver and Grizzly Bear haven’t collaborated yet (to the best of my knowledge), but I imagine this tune would be sorta what they’d come up with. This one balances lush chamber-folk arrangements and stark moods effortlessly.
7. “Life in the Paint (Jesu Remix)” – Challenger. Like the Challenger remix we debuted, Jesu’s wide-eyed take on “Life in the Paint” strips out the original layers of synths to cut right at the heart of the tune. Cool stuff going on with these remixes.
8. “Liquid Gold” – Archie Atholl. A calming, wintry piano tune to close out the evening.
1. “Zeek and Axl Rose” – Automotive High School. The softer side of AHS’ fuzzed-out pop/pop-punk is just as hooky in a completely different way. The band is quickly moving up my “to-watch” list for 2013.
2. “Graveyard” – LVL UP. I keep a special place in my heart for video-game inspired music, and LVL UP’s punked-out geek pop is right in that space.
3. “Not a Riot” – Permanent Makeup. A wiry, low-slung, yelled punk tune with a neat guitar solo. No, for real.
4. “An Inter-dimensional Spat for the Right to Walk Away the Victor” – Hectorina. Not for the faint of heart or ear, this is a math/garage/post-punk/pop tune that is complex and almost entirely unique. If Queen and The Mars Volta got together, they’d both agree on this. Maybe.
5. “Hurricanes, XO” – Beat Radio. Is there ever not a market for enthusiastically fuzzed-out pop tunes?
6. “Come On. Stand Out.” – 7Bit Hero. A giddy slice of Australian electro-pop.
7. “Fame is for Assholes (Feat. Chiddy)” – Hoodie Allen. It finally happened.
8. “Tiny Kiss” – Hey Anna. This indie-pop tune is whimsical and propulsive, with memorable guitar work.
9. “Sandblonde” – The Bear & The Sea. I am here to state that I never stopped loving chillwave.
Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.