Thursday, October 8, 2015

Presents For Sally Gives Us A Gift of Colours & Changes

You know you're old when you've lived through a movement long enough to see kids fascinated by it and decide to imitate and embrace it wholeheartedly. Such is me and the case of Presents for Sally. This band so encapsulates the Oxford and Leeds shoegazing scenes from the 90's that it makes me feel like a proud parent. The scene that celebrated itself 20 or so years ago has had kids and they're taking after their parents and that's well pleasing.

Anyway, Presents for Sally's album Colours & Changes is an amalgamation of everything that made Ride and the Pale Saints fantastic. There's enough hazy vocals, phase shifted guitars, floor staring, and epic riffs that stretch on to infinity to make any fan blush. Colours & Changes is a brilliant album that layers harmonies upon harmonies, processes guitars into the stratosphere and leaves things just rough enough so that it all seems like it was recorded shortly after 7am on a Monday morning. Presents for Sally have really done a great job of embracing the past and fondly trying to make it sound like something different. They succeed for the most part as certain aspects of this record seemingly want to venture into US indie rock territory while firmly utilizing enough effects to reign in the bombast.

From the opening waves of, “We Fought Lucifer (And Won)” to the epic psychedelia of, “Softly Spoken/Outside Honey,” Colours & Changes is a gauzy treat of sonic bliss. I know bands like this are a dime a dozen now days but so few are honest and sincere in their approach; Presents for Sally are sincere and it shows on how each of the songs here rings true. They may be called Presents for Sally but the real gift is us being able to enjoy Colours & Changes.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Ozere Free The Quartet With Finding Anyplace

Emerging from the strict confines of the string quartet, Ozere has striven to expand beyond them and take the possibility of a quartet to the next level. Mixing classical influences with world music and folk elements Ozere seems to be well underway to pushing the boundaries of what a modern string quartet can be and do. Their album Finding Anyplace is a tranquil and refreshing exploration of how mixing elements of different genres can work in harmony.

Finding Anyplace takes classical string focused structure and tampers with it's dynamics. And while the strings for the most part stay the center and launching point of the band, they share the spotlight with the vocals of Emily Rockards and Jessica Deutsch. Lending a tender folk sound to the album Rockards and Deutsch give the rigid structure of the quartet a gentle nudge into more song based arrangements. Those moments are nice and intimate but Ozere really does their best work as a modern string quartet. Finding Anyplace has a loosely Celtic/Gypsy feel to it and the string arrangements are beautifully delicate, worldly, and atmospheric. The guitar work, violins, bass, and cello arrangements are simply stunning and will give you goosebumps. The instrumental pieces have this old world feel to them that feels simple yet texturally complicated; it's a bit of time travel stuffed into a five minute song.

Finding Anyplace is a fantastic effort and Ozere have done an amazing job at finding their niche and crafting an album that transports you away from the confines of your modern life. They have successfully taken the string quartet and given it a modern slant by mixing traditional old world sounds and folk music into a stirring mix. If ever there was a “classical crossover,” sort of album Finding Anyplace would have to be it. Finding Anyplace is well worth finding anyplace you can find it!

Bosley Wants To Know Are We In Love?

Bosley is a Baltimore based singer songwriter who firmly understands that sometimes the old ways are the best ways. While he self describes his single, Are We In Love? as Outcast meets the Beach Boys, it is in reality a sexy groove laden jam that firmly embraces late sixties early seventies soul. The song lays down a fat drum beat that takes the song to heaven and back. It's a funky, horn led R&B groove that fits perfectly around Bosely's smokey laced voice. Throw in just enough trippy easy listening and cheesy 70's sound effects and you have something that's just about perfect.

The single is super tight and it's a melodious treat that's kept authentic with enough 70's production and sounds to make you reach for bell bottoms and join the Soul Train line.
Are We In Love? is a sensual romp through the past that's the perfect introduction to Bosley. He knocks it out of the ballpark here and while the single is just two different versions of the same song, if it's any slight indication of what an entire album from him will sound like we are in for something special. Visit for the download!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Chico Trujillo's Reina De Todas Las Fiestas

Chilean group Chico Trujillo have been around for roughly fifteen years and in the span of that time have grown to become leaders of Cumbia scene. What's interesting about Chico Trujillo is rather than doing this in Chile, they cut their teeth in Berlin. Yes, Berlin! Bringing the caliente to Germany Chico Trujillo took the party to Europe and since then have been just about everywhere else. Now with a global reach and full grasp of Chilean as well as South & Central American musical references these guys are rapidly becoming global legends!

Basically a party band with more energy than the Argentinian oil supply, Chico Trujillo load their album Reina De Todas Las Fiestas with enough horns, Latin percussion and shuffly danceable rhythms to make the dead dance. This record brings the tropical heat of Carnival and with the help of 30 piece brass band Banda Wiracocha there's no way this album couldn't be raucous. The rhythms, the movement and the energy of Reina De Todas Las Fiestas will make you feel as though you are in the middle of a massive street celebration. It's a stunning album of kinetic vivacity that never eases up or backs down. Chico Trujillo is on a mission to make sure you enjoy yourself while listening to Reina De Todas Las Fiestas and they succeed. This record will literally have you dancing in the streets.

Party music from South America that's in touch with the global pulse of musical culture is what Reina De Todas Las Fiestas is all about and throw in a never ending Cumbia beat and you have perfection. This is a fantastic effort that truly sees Chico Trujillo reaching the pinnacle of their career and they've done so with a fiesta in their heart.

Knowlton Bourne Sings Songs From Motel 43

Mississippi born and bread Knowlton Bourne isn't your typical singer songwriter. Sure the guy sounds a bit country but he's definitely not as buried in the roots of the Deep South as being from Mississippi would seem to indicate. Oh no, Knowlton sounds more like his long lost brother is Richard Ashcroft and he's spent his whole life in Wigan as opposed to the US. His album Songs from Motel 43 is a soaring psychedelic trip through the cosmos in the back of a F-150.

Songs from Motel 43 is a fantastically airy record that lets Knowlton's vocal stylings sweep over the record like a great Condor coasting on a breeze. The record is vast and expansive and leaves his countrified influences in the dust for a more spacey intergalactic feel. The songs have their ups and downs and a few dirt road twists and turns but at times the whole thing seems rather heavenly and angelic. I'm not sure how Knowlton stumbled onto all this deep in the heart of Mississippi but it's pretty amazing that he did. Songs from Motel 43 is fragile, beautiful, and so much more than the sum of it's parts.

Bourne has taken heartbreak and isolation and painted a splendid picture of it that's as stark and intriguing as the album cover that graces Songs from Motel 43. I really didn't think I would like this record but it has totally won me over through it's Verve-ish vibes, sweeping songs, and sense of starkness. This is quite possibly the best record to come out of Mississippi in the last 20 years and as such should be in your collection.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Savannah Stopover Is One Festival Worth Staying Over For

The Savannah Stopover Festival is an annual event in the heart of one of the most beautiful cities in America. Amongst the Spanish moss, ghost tours, stately homes and Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil is the heartbeat of southern indie rock. The annual festival brings to this sleepy Southern city a bit of hipster swagger or should I say more hipster swagger as SCAD's populace is already there and the hipster quotient is already high. Anyway, like many of the smaller festivals that pop up this time of the year many of the bands are on the bleeding edge of cool and quite developed the level of hype many of their peers have.

That's what makes Stopover so fun. The idea here is to find bands that you've never heard of and be blown away by them. My goal was/is to try to find at least one band that achieved that. I This year I found not just one but four bands that blew me away in the one day I was actually able to get to the Stopover.

So here folks are four bands that you need to find and follow like a cult.

First up were Parlour Tricks. Now it's one thing to see a band in a grotty club but to see them in a church is a whole different matter. It approaches Hail Mary territory when said church is in the deep south and said band oozes sexuality. Anyway, I digress. Parlour Tricks are a fantastic band that embraces the multi-part harmonies of 60's girl groups and modern day R&B rhythms and runs them both through an effects pedal of indie rock. The results are something that comes off like a re-interpretation of The Pipettes from an American standpoint. They're sensual and synched and their stage presence is simply amazing as the three front-women harmonize the heck out of every song they have. It's gorgeous lush stuff would have caused a priest to call the police had one been there. They quite simply blew the doors off the place during their unfortunately short set. The worst part of it all was that Parlour Tricks had absolutely NO music for sale!!! This was painful as they had the crowd eating out the palms of their hand and could have sold a gazliion dollars worth of records. I'm not too religious but experiencing Parlour Tricks was as close to a religious experience as I'll probably ever get. Find out more here:

Post Parlour Tricks the POP! Stereo team headed over to catch Sales. Having worked in a sales department how could I not go see a band named after what I used to do? Ok, that's a horrible segue but bear with me because Sales were anything but horrible. Sales were full of surprises as they were from Orlando of all places! Who knew!? This dynamic duo sounded something like Stina Nordenstam trapped in a basement with only a four track recorder to occupy her time. With sweet melodies and simple hooks they mesmerized us with adorableness and spring-like lo-fi indie. The Hang Fire was a great venue to see them at simply because it held like 100 people and they connected with the audience almost immediately. They're an intimate band and their fragility wouldn't have worked a church. Anyway, Sales are the kind of band you want to give a hug to and thank them for existing. The fact that they've been doing this sort of thing down in Orlando just blows me away. Why have they never visited Jacksonville? You can pick up their EP here:

Perhaps the greatest discovery of the Stopover was synthpop boffin Terror Pigeon. With a name like Terror Pigeon I was totally expecting some sort of spazz core noise band that was more like An Albatross than what they actually turned out to be. Terror Pigeon can best be summed up by saying they (actually he...its a one man operation) are fueled by ADHD and at least five to six cases of Five Hour Energy. The guy is a fury of uncontrolled chaos that comes complete with slide shows, synthtastic beats, audience participation, and songs that have so much energy that they could barely be contained within the multi-story Club One. Terror Pigeon were mind blowing. How he kept his energy up the entire set is a miracle of modern chemistry but he did and everyone in the audience was roped in to participate. You weren't going to escape this guy. There was yelling, there were parachutes, there were dance parties spinning off of the dance party. It was something to behold. This was the most fun I've had at a show in a very, very long time. As I told everyone I knew, buy everything you can possibly find from Terror Pigeon and embrace the madness. Visit the best website ever:

I wasn't sure if anyone could actually live up to or match the performance that Terror Pigeon gave, but synth pop goddess Computer Magic came pretty darn close. Straddling the line between proper indie pop, Figurine, and Little Boots, Computer Magic play sugary sweet synth pop that's like the best candy you've ever eaten. Rich and lush synths washed over us as Danz's (aka Danielle Johnson) voice quietly whispers in your ear...or in the case of this live thingy kind of does it a bit louder. Computer Magic were arguably the least appreciated but most highly valued band that we witnessed. Playing to a tiny crowd late, Danz still worked her magic and her songs left me warm and fuzzy and closed out Stopover in the best way possible...with a hook in my head and desire to dance. When you think of Big In Japan...think of Computer Magic where's she's apparently released more records than The Fall! Find out more here:

In the span of a few short exhaustive hours in what truly was a stopover between cross continental journeys, my hopes of finding one new band to rave about was exceeded three times over. Stopover is a brilliant festival because of that. It doesn't have huge names but it has bands that should be huge. It's an exceptionally well run festival and it was easy to navigate Savannah and have fun dodging the pre-St. Patty's day revelers at the same time. Stopover is definitely the sort of festival that's worth coming down or up for because as I said the bands are great, it's in a historically cool city, and the crowds are very manageable. While I was only able to stopover for one day this year, my goal next year is to stay over all three days!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Lust For Youth Go International

Holy cow! I'm not sure what Lust For Youth ingested before the recording of their latest album International but I'm certainly glad they did. Wow, this is such a different record than previous Lust For Youth efforts that I'm half convinced that this isn't them. Frontman Hannes Norrvide's previous efforts were the very definition of cold and dark but International feels damn near energetic.

Apparently listening to a lot of Cure records during the making of International had an irreparable affect on the band and Norrvide is clearly embracing his inner Robert Smith. International feels like a Cure record, it's gauzy and slightly dark but laced with a pop edge to it and you can pull rope, sway, or even dance to the thing. Shock, horror, I know, but it's really quite good. This is easily the best thing Lust For Youth have ever done and it's darkness and torment is so endearing it's hard to stop listening to it. Crossing synth pop with the angularity of post punk and throwing in Norrvide's dark tendencies gives each song this awkward goodness that reverberates and throbs through the dry ice clouds that envelope you as you listen.

International is a wonderfully poppy goth record that sounds more Cure than the Cure does now. Each of the ten songs of this excursion into murkiness is laden with pop hooks, cloudy atmospheres, and a sense of, dare I say it, hope. I love this thing, it's just such a cool record for these guys and I really hope Lust For Youth keep this clove inspired musical trip up. Probably one of my favorite albums of 2014.