As promised, the indie-pop-rock-punk list!
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.
After listening to Zelazowa’s latest, Elephants on a Mousehunt, I felt that I needed tongs or a potholder to eject the CD from my stereo – their music is searing. I imagined the album actually smoking from the scorching music it contained. But, a “Caution: Contents May Be Hot” label is not needed. Sure, the contents are hot, but I wouldn’t recommend using any caution to listen to this album. It should be listened to without reserve, which is what the music itself is like.
From the very beginning of Elephants on a Mousehunt, Zelazowa packs a serious punch with their energetic, driving rock. The opener “Today is Tomorrow” is a surefire attention-grabber, with its explosive guitar riffs and no-holding-back vocals. Throughout the album, the vocals sounds like a combination of The Mars Volta’s Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Brandon Boyd of Incubus, mixed with a punk sensibility.
“Numbers,” a dark, political scorcher, increases the energy even more with a frenzied sing-along chorus. This song practically begs the listener to see Zelazowa live – and luckily, it seems like this band is on an eternal tour, so there are plenty of opportunities.
While many of the songs on this album are head-knockers with catchy hooks that encourage jumping around, Zelazowa also churns out some songs that diversify the album’s sound. “You Say Love” has more of a pop influence with really nice harmonies, and the closer “I Got My Gun” begins with an acoustic sound which grows as it progresses. Also, the more mellow and dreamy “Baby Blue (Listening to the Earth Shift)” comes as a bit of a breather or respite in the middle of the album, but doesn’t alter its edgy mood.
Elephants on a Mousehunt is a mature and carefully executed release from Zelazowa that shows daring and spunk. Be sure to check them out if you want to add a hint of wasabi to your musical palate.