Hot off the presses: new music! Better said, new music that is worth your time.
The Soft White Sixties – Alta California – 9 songs / 30 minutes
Poppy psych-rock that will make you want to dance more than think.
Although they have been releasing music since 2011, most of The Soft White Sixties output has been of the singles and EPs variety. Alta California is the band’s sophomore full-length effort, although at barely a half hour in length it breezes by. These guys are at their best when they deliver dance-worthy music with guitars and drums front and center, in the same vein as Franz Ferdinand, The Wombats, and that ilk. There is enough guitar hookery and rock and roll bravado in the vocals to keep me interested, and there is more than a fair dose of falsetto to be found as well, which is at times good and bad.
Lead single “Brick by Brick” hits with fuzzy guitars, a catchy bassline, some cowbell, and an almost Dan Auerbach-esque vocal attack. The chorus of “if you build a wall, we’re gonna tear it down, brick by brick” may or may not be politically motivated, but it sure is an earworm. Personal favorite “The Overpass” is pure magic and makes even me want to dance a little bit. “Reaganomixxx” is one of the slowest tracks on the album, and is overtly political, but it works really well and reminds me a bit of recent Noel Gallagher. Sadly, I missed their recent Neurolux show as I was in Salt Lake watching Beck perform (more on that on another post soon), but I will be sure to catch them next time they come around.
Key Tracks: “The Overpass”, “Reaganomixxx”, “Brick by Brick”
The Beths – Future Me Hates Me – 10 songs / 38 minutes
A new band worth checking out delivers angsty rock reminiscent of Courtney Barnett’s work with Kurt Vile and lives up to an absolutely fabulous album title.
That album title, and the corresponding title track, is just fantastic. How many times have you done something in the moment knowing full well that it was not good for you and that you would regret it? I have said many, many times that Tomorrow Steve can shove it, and stayed up too late, had that extra beer, sent that regretful text, etc. This song centers around being in love with someone and knowing that future heartbreak is certain – and going ahead with it anyway. I was turned on to these folks when I came across their Warm Blood EP earlier this year, and their debut LP is even better.
“Uptown Girl” rocks and tells a story of disappointment that results in a decision to go out and drink it up, live it up, and worry about the details later. You may see a theme emerging here… Hailing from New Zealand, Elizabeth Stokes and crew join a group of lady-led bands that I am happy to have discovered recently such as the aforementioned Ms. Barnett, Anna Burch, and Bully.
Key Tracks: “Future Me Hates Me”, “Little Death”, “Uptown Girl”
El Ten Eleven – Banker’s Hill – 9 songs / 43 minutes
Studio recordings just don’t do the live experience justice, but this latest album is a fine starting point for those unfamiliar with this unique proggy post-rock duo.
For a two-man band that play only instrumental music, there is a heck of a lot going on with El Ten Eleven. For starters, Kristian plays guitar and bass – sometimes simultaneously with his double neck axe deluxe – and utilizes copious pedals to loop riffs and distort the notes wildly. Tim Fogarty pounds a drum kit that has all the typical bells and whistles, including plenty of electronic boards. You end up with a band consisting of two men that sounds like there must be at least four or five people to make all of that noise. Yes, there are a couple tracks on this album that are fairly boring, but there is enough goodness here to recommend giving this a listen. This is mostly interesting music being made by two incredibly talented guys, and not a word is ever spoken.
Key Tracks: “We Don’t Have a Sail but We Have a Rudder”, “Listening to Clouds”, “Three and a Half Feet High and Rising”
The Coral – Move Through the Dawn
Not bad, but not all that good either. They have better records, notably Distance Inbetween or The Invisible Invasion.