Gold Motel‘s “Cold Shoulders” brought vintage Blondie to my mind when I first heard it, and it has remained a favorite (that LW–lovely wife—also likes it seems to support the Blondie connection). The Chicago 5-piece is built around Greta Morgan, formerly of The Hush Sound (yeah, I never heard of them either). They claim to have come up with the name by pulling words out of a hat. Plenty of videos on YouTube, but they’re all live versions or remixes. Hear the original version and/or buy it for a buck at BandCamp.
Craft Spells is another of those bands with vocals that sound like they were recorded from a payphone in new Jersey while the rest of the band was in the studio. The track “After The Moment” evokes a Morrissey impersonator who has jumped on stage with a jaded disco wedding band, by which I mean to say it’s fabulous (a la The pains of Being Pure at Heart). I read that they are duo of Justin Vallesteros and Frankie Soto of Seatle via Stockton California, which leads me to wonder which of the five above they are, not to mention who are the other three! I’m open to any updates!
Like most French electropop, you’ll either love or hate Minitel Rose. From the opening synth riff (heard on Passport Approved, BTW) , I thought I might be listening to new Teddybears track. Whichever memeber of this trio (Raphael, Romain and Quentin) is doing the main vocal, he’s got that vaguely robotic quality to his English that I, for one, love (there was a German prog-rock trio called Triumvirat that I listened to in the 70s whose vocalist learned his English phonetically — he didn’t understand a word of what he was singing— that had this same quality, but that’s a story for another time).
For those that remember the Icelandic band GusGus, nothing new here, but former band member Hafdis Huld has developed into quite the singer-songwriter, and especially easy on the eyes (I can say that uncreepily, as she’s 31). While this track is from an LP that she released in Iceland in October 2009 (and an advance track from the LP went to #1 there in July 2009), it was released globally in July 2010. If only MTV still played videos, she’d get some attention. More Lykke Li-ish (circa Youth Novels) than Bjork, Hafdis is, for me, the new face….I mean voice of Iceland.
Lest we forget that Brooklyn is home to all the coolest stuff New York City has to offer, quintet Crystal Stilts is out with a sophomore effort to be called In Love With Oblivion. The track “Through The Floor” has that dreamy, surfey, sixties quality that I believe is achieved by having the vocalist stand way down the corridor from the rest of the band as they record. A male-vocal-led Best Coast, if you will. Download it free at RcrdLbl.com.
In a similarly retro, sixties vibe, but more twang and less fuzz, is Generationals‘ Actor-Caster, out this week (think T Rex; maybe some Norman Greenbaum!). I missed their 2009 debut Con Law, which I think you can still stream HERE, but this New Orleans duo has had tunes featured everywhere from Grey’s Anatomy to Bloomindale’s and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercials. The track “Ten-Twenty-Ten” has my foot and that of GD (my gorgeous daughter) all a-tappin’. DL it free at RcrdLbl.com
Not too much to say about any of the songs or bands on this quick mix. But at my current pace figured I should get them up before they’re all very old news. Actually the Jacuzzi Boys track is an oldie, but relatively new to me.
A more current item is Yuck. My favorite full album so far this year. At times reminiscent of various 90’s indie sounds delivered in an updated package. Georgia is the most user-friendly, but don’t get fooled – this is the only tune that sounds like Best Coast.