It has been a busy few weeks for Nick and I between shows galore for both of us (drummers amirite?!) and work and boring “real life” stuff so we didn’t post for you the last few weeks. So here we are again, and back at it with some stuff from the last few weeks(ish) that we dug and wanted to share with you. Take a listen to these songs and stay tuned, we are always digging into new stuff we want to share! Also don’t forget to tune into Nick’s radio show, Radiant Point, every Wednesday night for even more music both new and old.
As always, if you’re in a band or from a label, don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know about you! If we dig ya, you’ll get a nod in the column. Read on to find out what we dug the last week or so:
Atlas Engine– Simple Animal. Brooklyn’s own Atlas Engine is here with the latest single and the next installment from their upcoming EP Part 2…There Can Be No Regrets, the follow up and companion to 2021’s When The Compass Resets…Part 1. The songs showcases the lush and sweeping shoegaze qualities of this band with fuzzy, nuanced guitars and once the crescendo hits, beautiful vocal harmonies from singer Nick LaFalce accompanied by Meredith Lampe (of Colutura) and Caroline Yoder (of Fruit and Flowers) to close out the song. This is one of our most anticipated releases of the spring so be sure to keep your eyes and ears peeled for the full release due out 5/13 on Favorite Friends Records. [KH]
Boyish– I Think I Hate It Here. This is the latest from the catchy bedroom pop duo, and I immediately found myself reaching for the repeat button as soon as it finished after I heard it for the first time. The song clocks in at just two and a half minutes and in that time it packs a little bit of a harder uptempo edge than some of their previous material, mixing in plenty of jangly guitars, wistful vocals, and a crunchy lead guitar line to tell the story of a night at the movies gone wrong/ex drama. If you closed your eyes and didn’t know you were listening to something that was just released, you’d think this was a late 80s bop right out of the UK and the post C86/dreampop scene. That’s hardly a bad thing and in fact late 80s dream/jangle pop is one of my favorite eras of indie music, so I found a lot to love on this one. This is one of the bands I’m most looking forward to seeing play live and I am also very ready to hear the rest of the upcoming EP this song is a part of, My Friend Mica, which is due out this spring. [KH]
Carlton Jumel Smith– The Lovelieness of You/Heaven In My Arms/Devoted To You. New York’s Carlton Jumel Smith is a soul music lifer. For decades, he worked the club circuit and recorded independently released albums. In 2019, he released the magnificent 1634 Lexington Ave., which brought him to many people’s attention <raises hand> for the first time. Smith has returned with three excellent singles in advance of a what I hope is another record. Simple grooves and uncluttered, tasty arrangements provided by Timmion Record’s house band, Cold Diamond and Mink, serve as perfect vehicles for Smith’s strong, clear voice. He will immediately bring to mind the great male soul singers of old, particularly Al Green. “The Loveliness of You” is a slow jam, with an unadorned rimshot beat, subtle guitars and keys, and a countermelody of horns playing of Smith’s heartfelt devotional to a woman he loves. “Heaven in My Arms” continues similarly, a deep groove with light guitar and keyboard touches, giving Smith a foundation for a dynamic vocal performance. “Devoted to You” is funkier and upbeat tune, showing off the band’s swing and Smith’s rich and powerful voice. Though he may be a new to many of us, you can hear in his voice that he has been steeped in soul music for a long time. Hopefully more to come from Smith this year! [ND]
cheerbleederz– nail biters. A bit punk, a bit C86, the latest from this UK outfit is catchy as hell with a bouncy bass line and great harmonies throughout that give way to fervent shouts during the last chorus. “I don’t know what you’re doing, I don’t know how to be sane, there’s always something itching at me in the back of my brain” the words giving voice to the anxiety of just existing in the world in 2022, not always an easy thing to do. Cheerbleederz captured this feeling in a two and half minute indie punk gem and have given me (and I’m sure lots of other people) something to really relate to. This is the second single from their upcoming debut album even in jest, due out this summer. [KH]
Dehd– Empty In My Mind. An ode to a new crush, the giddy potential of possible new love and all the hope and longing that goes with it. Who can’t relate to the fun and simultaneous heartbreak intense pining brings? This song definitely has you covered in that department. The indie pop trio have released three other singles ahead of this one, all part of the upcoming album Blue Skies due out 5/27 on Fat Possum. [KH]
Francie Moon– In The Light. The latest from the project helmed by Melissa Lucciola (who also drums in Gustaf), this new single is a quick slice of all the psych/surfy elements the band with fuzzy vocals and fuzzy riffs galore. This is the lead off single for the new album What Are We Even Really Doing? due out on 6/22 via Halfshelf Records and Sifter Grim. I’ve known Lucciola more from her work in Gustaf so it’s nice to explore her other work and her skill as a songwriter and frontperson and I’m very much looking forward to everything the new album has to offer come June. [KH]
The French Tips– Bloom. The latest single from this kickass Boise band showcases a more expansive sound than the previous three rockin’ singles that have arrived in advance of All the Rage, due out May 13. Beginning with guitarist Rachel Couch clean picking and hushed vocals, the tune builds to an eventual tidal wave shoegazy noise as the rhythm section of Ivy Merrell (bass) and drummer Angela Heileson deliver the bombastic bottom end. Haunting countermelodies abound from either Merrell or Heileson (or both?) around Couch’s ethereal lead vocals. “Bloom” showcases the band’s skill at dynamics and building and releasing tension. Stoked for the full record and hoping they somehow make it to the East Coast because this song in particular sounds like it’d kill live! [ND]
The Loneliers– I’m A Stupid Little Piece of Shit. The latest single from the NYC twee punks has been a live staple for the last few years so it was already very familiar to me but to finally get a recording that I can listen to whenever I want is a treat. It’s as catchy an ear worm as you are going to find and showcases the band finding the perfect balance between their rock and pop sensibilities, the chorus featuring sugar sweet harmonies from Jessie (guitar) and Debbie Rodriguez (bass) who share lead vocal duties in the band, backing one another up when not on lead (Jessie takes lead for this song). The band said in a press release that the song is “about self awareness. You need to be aware when you’re being a pain and be able to learn from your mistakes.” The song is part of their upcoming EP “Enough Already!” which will be self released on May 20th. [KH]
Sub*T– Asterisk. This is the latest from the up and coming band, a catchy grungey number that could have been at home next to Veruca Salt in 1993, but also feels very fresh and current. With a chorus laden with killer hooks and harmonies, this one will stay running around your head for a while and have you reaching for the repeat button. For now this appears to be a stand alone track (released by Fire Talk/Open Tab), but it pairs really well with their debut EP So Green, and is a great showcase of their pop/rock sensibilities. Here’s hoping a full length is in the works [KH]
Quelle Chris– Alive Ain’t Always Living. Quelle Chris’ winning streak shows no signs of slowing down with the lead single of the forthcoming full-length, DEATHFAME due out on Mello Music Group May 13. Chris’ creativity knows no bounds and he is constantly evolving his sound. “Alive Ain’t Always Living” is hip-hop soul music. Atop a pensive groove and gospel-tinged keyboard melody, Chris is thoughtful and introspective:
I’m so grateful, so grateful to be alive
But alive ain’t always living, sometimes n***as just survive
Both lyrically and musically, it’s one of Chris’ most engaging tunes to date and offering another side to an artist with seemingly infinite sides.
Shorty’s Swingin’ Coconuts– Il Cavaliere. Full disclosure: I adore surf music. I’m here for all the tropes—the wavy guitar, the jumpy grooves. Perhaps too often, modern surf bands lean more to the lounge sound more than the more aggressive guitar-driven sound of Dick Dale or Fender IV. So, it’s pleasing to hear Shorty’s Swingin’ Coconuts’ lead single “Il Cavaliere” from their forthcoming record Mai Tai in Hi-Fi, due out April 15 on the preeminent surf label Hi-Tide Recordings. The dual guitar attack brings a gnarly edge to the initial guitar hook. This then segues in a thrilling drumroll-driven build to a crashing middle, before settling back into beginning theme. A perfect surf tune! [ND]