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Tag: Youth Sounds

Non-fruited Summer Jams: A Mixtape

I haven’t done one of these in a while, but I haven’t been this behind on singles in a while either. It’s time for a mixtape.

1. “Zambezi” – Tinashé. Not new, but this incredible, enthusiastic pop tune is new to me.
2. “It Goes On” – Tin Can Radio. Mid ’00s dance-rock meets Tokyo Police Club-esque pop-rock. And they’re Australian!
3. “Lady Percy” – King Charles. If you don’t hear summer in this, I don’t think summer is in you. It’s either the steel drums or his impeccable clothes.
4. “Burn Out” – Youth Sounds. Cheery, dream-haze synth-pop cut through with direct vocals and pushing drums, which takes it to the next level.
5. “Samar” – The Clouds (Jakarta). Jangly, airy and lightweight, the Indonesian indie-pop band’s name matches this tune.
6. “Jukebox” – Oceanics. Remember The Cribs? Perky British mid ’00s indie-rock? Take out some of the sneering, and here’s your Aussie equivalent. Fun track.
7. Black Horses – Charlotte & Magon. Haunting indie-rock that has silent movie drama, trip-hop tension and enveloping female vocals.
8. “Love is a Devil” – Laneway. These Aussies know how to make pitch-perfect, dark American country music. Shiver-inducing.
9. “Kingston” – Corduroy Kids. When Jack Baton’s voice is in his low register, he can make a folk song sound ominous and mournful at the same time.
10. “Zambezi (Mbira Version)” – Tinashé. The energetic tune gets a quiet, pensive rendition via the gorgeous, mesmerizing tones of the mbira.

Youth Sounds create blissful pop songs

Youth Sounds‘ 10-minute, three-song EP The Bit Parts is the sort of pop music that makes me remember why I like pop songs. There’s nothing here that’s especially groundbreaking: mid-range female vocals sing over a soundscape that’s half Spiritualized and half pop-rock. But the band goes at it with such enthusiasm and with such feeling that it’s hard not to like it.

It helps that the production is gorgeous. I’ve become more and more interested in production as grotty lo-fi bands have become popular again, and everything here is praiseworthy: The acoustic instruments sound perfect, the consistent drone sounds warm and full instead of grating, and the vocals sound real instead of tweaked. It makes the hushed beginning of “Smoke and Mirrors” resonate, while the majority of “As Strangers Would” hums for the same reason. “What Is It Like” is a bit too ’80s in places, but other than that it’s beautiful too.

I can’t wait to hear more from this band. They have a solid grasp on what they want to do and the production to back it up. This is the type of music that causes me to lay in bed, stare at the ceiling and bliss out.  There’s not enough of that in the world.