Good month for new tracks, with a slew of big alternative album releases coming up this month and next. I was disappointed by the new Last Shadow Puppets record, though, so I have nothing new from them here.
DMA’S – Too Soon. Apparently the British press has compared these guys to Oasis – although I suspect their goal was just to get Liam and/or Noel to say “piss shit bollocks” or something – but while I agree the DMA’s harken back to Britpop, I’m hearing far more Cast or Blur than Oasis. The song is too sunny and melodic for Oasis to be more than a lazy comp, even with the little nod to Nirvana’s “Come As You Are” coming right out of the chorus.
Hundred Waters – Forgive Me For Giving Up. Hundred Waters had my favorite album of 2014, The Moon Rang Like a Bell, for their strange mixture of ethereal vocals and sparse electronic backdrops. This one-off single would be somewhere in the middle of the pack compared to tracks from that album, although it’s far better than the atrocious remix of “Show Me Love” that appeared in March.
The Hearts – Lovers Drug. Not to be confused with HAERTS, this Welsh act has a heavy Stone Roses vibe to the vocals and the guitar sound, although the riffs aren’t quite so big and the song is ultimately more Britpop than Madchester – although that works just fine for me.
The Kills – Heart Of A Dog. I thought “Doing It to Death” was better but hold out hope that their next album, due out June 3rd, will be more like that track or even their seminal “Sour Cherry.”
The Coral – Fear Machine. The longrunning British alt-rock act celebrate their 20th anniversary this year with the album Distance Inbetween, a very solid record that brings in a lot of the vaguely eastern percussion patterns of a Band of Skulls, but with less of the latter group’s bombast and powerful riffs.
A. Sinclair – Let It Go. Aaron Sinclair’s group is back with a new record, Get Out of the City, another hookfest full of their uptempo roots-rock sound, due out next Friday.
KONGOS – Take It From Me. The South African group’s hit “Come With Me Now” shouldn’t make them a one-hit wonder given the strength of this lead single from their second album, Egomaniac, due out on June 10th. The Brothers K still incorporate the South African musical style called kwaito into their sound, giving them a distinctive edge in a sea of sameness on alternative radio.
The Temper Trap – Fall Together. More great pop music from Australia, which has been a fountain of great indie-pop for several years now. This is their best song since their first big hit, “Sweet Disposition,” maybe better since I always found the earlier song a little cloying, whereas this track’s soaring chorus hits just the right note of sweetness.
Frightened Rabbit – Get Out. The Scottish group’s debut album is too quietcore for me, lacking strong hooks or any sort of urgency, but this song’s drum fill and amped-up chorus provides some much-needed contrast to the yearning, tame verses, something lacking from the rest of the record.
Lust For Youth – Better Looking Brother. Lust for Youth can’t seem to decide which classic New Wave band they wish to imitate; their new album’s first track, “Stardom,” is a dead-on Smiths impersonation, but I prefer this seven-minute track, which sounds like a deep cut from a New Order’s Brotherhood.
Fort Frances – Days Get Heavy. The vocals are a little precious, but the big chorus is the song’ salvation. This Chicago indie act is giving away a free mp3 if you sign up for their mailing list.
ELEL – Animal. ELEL’s “40 Watt” made one of my playlists last winter and was a late cut from my top 100 for the year, but I like this new single from Nashville octet, plus is that Tim Lincecum in the back row of this band picture?
Cellars – I’m Feeling. Allene Norton records as Cellars and if you’re of a certain age, you’ll flash back to a lot of ’80s synthpop, some good (Men Without Hats, early Tears for Fears) and some not so good (Suzie Q’s “Two of Hearts”).
Black Honey – On Your Time. The British group’s debut EP, Headspin, came out last week, with this and “All My Pride” (on my last playlist) my two favorite tracks, driven by lead singer Izzy B. Phillips’ charismatic delivery.
White Lung – Below. The Canadian punk-pop act’s highly anticipated (by me, at least) album Paradise drops this Friday. The singles released in advance of the album have all been tighter and more melodic than their previous work, which was already solid.
Stone Cold Fox – Firing Squad. These Brooklyn indie-rockers take their name from the famous line in Footloose: “If you ask me, Ren is a stone cold fox.” Anyway, “Firing Squad” combines a rich, crunchy guitar line with a meandering, aimless vocal line gives the overall song a psychedelic quality not immediately apparent from either element.
Car Seat Headrest – Fill in the Blank. I love the opening gimmick, where a young woman announces the group but stumbles as if she’s just reading the name of an unfamiliar group off an index card. TO be fair, it’s a terrible name, and the group – originally a solo project by Leesburg, Virginia native Will Toledo (shout-out to King Street Coffee!) but now a four-piece – will release its first formal, studio-recorded album on May 20th. Also I like this song.
Porches – Braid. Porches are creepy, but the good kind of creepy, not like Gary Glitter creepy. The electronic drumbeat is hypnotic, and the bass line swirls even when it’s rudely shoved to the background by the vocals (who asked you to sing anyway? I was zoning out).
Band of Horses – Casual Party. BOH’s first album since 2012 is scheduled to drop next month; “Is There a Ghost?” ranks among my favorite songs of the decade so far, so I’m rather looking forward to this record.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Shakedown Street. Another track from the forthcoming Grateful Dead tribute album.
Thrice – Black Honey. Hi, Riley!
Gojira – Stranded. Gojira cross a lot of metal subgenres, occasionally veering into death metal territory, sometimes descending into groove metal, but here they go very old-school, with a song that derives just as much from classic Testament or Megadeth as it does from Pantera. The vocals are shouted, but not growled or screamed, making it a bit more accessible than, say, Amon Amarth’s melodic death metal, but it’s still an aggressive sound that at least brought me back to the golden age of thrash.
Native Daughters – Two Princes. This Denver technical-metal outfit does instrumental stuff that draws on about four decades of metal sounds, with a heavy doom influence to the big drum line here, symphonic inspirations for the keyboard and lead guitar, and thrash riffs to the rhythm guitar.