April Singles to Check Out
The Vincent Black Shadow – “Metro”
Let’s get it out of the way first: I hate this band’s name. It has something to do with a motorcycle, I’m told. Whatever. What’s important is that this Canadian band has produced a song that is the missing link between No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom and Return Of Saturn. It has a great old school No Doubt feel to it and could have been a huge hit for that band. But, the year is now 2007 and, although singer Cassandra Ford’s vocals bear a remarkable pre-LAMB Stefani resemblance, VBS completely deserves huge success now. Buy their album and obsess yourself over this song, because if there’s any justice in the world you’ll be hearing it on the radio soon. It is simply the catchiest and most immediate thing I’ve heard all month. (can be sampled on #1 Hits From Another Planet)
Triple Entendre – “The Company You Keep”
This track from the LA-based indie trio is a great example of a diamond in the rough amongst droves of undiscovered acts on Myspace. Fronted by experienced songwriter Matt Muller, Triple Entendre shows an incredible amount of promise. The track here, “The Company You Keep,” was recorded after their first rehearsal, which is shocking. The band sounds as if they had been playing together for years. The songs are simple yet effective pop-rock conglomerations of catchy hooks and fun drum beats that don’t get old quickly. Though minimalist, the guitar work is tasteful and appropriate, and the bass is rock-solid. Get into it!
Seven – “City Is Burning”
Many current bands have been described as “the Blondie of the 2000’s,” but for my money Seven has come the closest. The similarity at times is quite striking (singer Annette Gil is a dead ringer, at least vocally), and “City Is Burning” sounds just like a long-lost Blondie classic. Don’t think that it’s just a savvy impersonation, though. The band is absolutely amazing… completely adept with a catchy melody and a synthesizer. Along with similar bands like The Sounds and Surferosa, these Norwegians deserve massive success. (can be sampled on #1 Hits From Another Planet)
The Shapes – “Dreaming of an M-16”
“Dreaming of an M16” is such a perfect pop song, combining pulsing synth and crunchy guitar with a dual male/female vocal that sits somewhere between Joss Stone and the Arctic Monkeys. I don’t know how it hasn’t been discovered by radio somewhere. The Shapes are a New York band, and perhaps that explains their semi-obscurity. If this band had popped up somewhere in the UK, they’d probably already be huge. Quite wonderfully, the band describes their music as “Barry White meets Iron Maiden.” That should really be enough for you to check them out. (can be sampled on #1 Hits From Another Planet)
Shorthand Phonetics – “There’s Only So Much Opera One Can Take at a Time”
Let’s travel back to the early 1990’s, shall we? Imagine that somewhere, a songwriter is sitting in his basement, writing songs with the shamelessly poppy, unpretentious and unabashedly amateurish energy of seminal Lookout! Records bands. Now watch him get bitten by a radioactive spider, or something equally weird, and you can start to get an idea of what the evil genius behind Shorthand Phonetics, Ababil Ashari’s songs sound like. Despite a series of lineup changes that have left the band as a solo project, Ababil has been working consistently and continues to improve as a songwriter. If you’re into lo-fi, fun songs, check out Shorthand Phonetics.
Overnight Lows – “My Oh My”
Like another of my favorite new bands, Lucky Soul, Overnight Lows plays a classic blend of pop and rock fronted by a charismatic blonde. “My Oh My,” my (oh my!) favorite track that I’ve heard from the band, has got beautiful, almost electronic verses which give way to a singalong, radio-friendly chorus. It is an amazing pop song, and exhibit A as to why this Californian foursome should be ruling the charts. In a way their music sounds like the kind of thing that was popular in the mid to late nineties… straightforward pop/rock delivered with a timeless punch. Warning: one listen and it will be glued to your brain. (can be sampled on #1 Hits From Another Planet)