The Lonesome Wilderness-"Cigarettes" I've recently tuned into The Lonesome Wilderness, and I can't get enough of this five-piece. Their debut EP, which will be released this spring, is one of my most highly anticipated releases of 2015. They have a great rock 'n' roll sound with a desert flair; the spirit of the Southwest flows through their veins. "Cigarettes" is the first single from the EP and it's been one of my favorite songs in their live set for some time. The tone and tunings of the guitars (there are three of them) seem to breathe Sonoran dust. The vocals are delivered with a brilliant whiskey rawness, while the rhythm section just ties it up in a nice little rawhide bow. There is also whistling -- pretty amazing whistling, actually -- and I think that's something that's truly missing from a lot of modern music. In fact it was the whistling that first drew my attention to the song and made it stand out in their set. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for The Lonesome Wilderness this year, as they are bound to make a remarkable impact.
Action Jets - "Action Girl on Instagram" Action Jets are the definition of power pop band -- a genre of music that is as much beloved as it is maligned. The band seems committed to putting "Action" into everything from the names of the band members (Action Dave, Gary, and Jeff) and their song titles (the b-side of this song is "Action Party Epic Fun!"). That aside, these guys have the study of fast-paced pop hooks down to a T, making fun rock 'n' roll that seems to as much about rocking and popping as it is about a slightly tongue-and-cheek delivery. They are a bit like Guided by Voices, but their songs are twice as long, which is to say three minutes. "Action Girl on Instagram" would make Bob Pollard proud, and it's a wry look at narcissism and modern social media. It's also pretty spot-on. With lines like "Looking great, she wants us affirm it" and "Filter, tag it, put it on your feed" it's just another Friday night for the Action Girl on Instagram and we all know her, everyone knows this girl. So not only is this a catchy pop, it is witty social criticism.
The Hourglass Cats - "Been Thinkin'" The Hourglass Cats are known for their fine blend of reggae, ska, and rock, which is why their brand-new single, "Been Thinkin'," is such a shock. There is no hint of ska or reggae on this track, sure there is still sax and trombone, but this is just pure rock -- garage rock, in fact. The band's last single came out in April 2014 and "Too Damn Rude" was a ska masterpiece. I am not complaining in anyway. I've written about everything they've recorded, but still this was completely unexpected. They take on garage rock, and they own it in no uncertain terms. It's impressive, actually, to see them branch out like this -- they've always been able to rock, but it's always been a fusion with something else and never this straight, searing, and pure. I don't know if this indicates a change in their direction or if it is yet another feather in the cap of these talented fellows. I imagine it's more of the latter, as they have a huge fan base they wouldn't want to turn away, but this track certainly will draw some new fans to their shows in recordings and shows.
Freeze Ray Vision - "Spyro" Freeze Ray Vision is the newest project from the ever-prolific Danger Paul (The Psychedelephants, The Rolling Blackouts, The Redemptions), and it appears to be a new direction from any of his other projects. This is dark pop, filled with hooks, yet with a wandering sense of the desolation of Winter. The song "Spyro" from their debut Fever EP is the most upbeat song that doesn't have a sense of shoegazing to it. It is the only song on the EP with a psychedelic sensibility as well and it's pretty brilliant in that regard as it references a "liquid sun turning to green," a fire in the sky that is falling rapidly as well as people melting and seeing things out of the corner of your eye. Lyrically, it's kind of spooky, but musically it's a bit jaunty. This provides a nice sense of discord in the listeners brain, with a jazzy little hook thrown in. As far as I can tell it's about the Sun consuming the Earth or an acid trip -- either way, Freeze Ray Vision delivers it deftly. Of course, Danger Paul always sounds like George Harrison vocally to me and here is no exception which makes it even more delightful.
SUPR3YES - "Legend" It appears that the electronica trio known as SUPR3YES has put out a new likable, hypnotic dance track every five days since the beginning of the month, and the most recent, "Legend," is the best of the batch so far. SUPR3YES is in fact Elmo Kirkwood (a.k.a. the youngest Meat Puppet as well as a former member of Kirkwood Dellinger and many other bands), David Owens of NEBA, and Brian Boyer also formerly of Kirkwood Dellinger. Together, the trio is putting together some pretty great jams. After the release of "Hands Up" and "Destiny", both of which I was impressed with, I couldn't wait to see what the third surprise form SUPR3YES would be. Well, "Legend" trumps them all and it has a reminiscent tone, tune and temperature to either the musical overlay for a montage from a 1980s film or the soundtrack for a video game from the 1990s, it's difficult to say. It will be interesting to see how far Kirkwood & Co. take this new project, if they will continue to release a new song every five days or ever play them live. In all honesty, what they have now is a compelling argument to do both.
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