The Wiley Ones - "What I Am" This week, in line with their Super Bowl shows, The Wiley Ones will release their video/single "What I Am." It's their first new song to be released in nearly nine months and it continues in their patented brand of acoustic hip-hop grooves. The one nice thing about The Wiley Ones is that they continually present an ever-positive vibe. The refrain here is "What I am is love, your love is what I am," good vibes radiate everywhere throughout the song. If this song is any indication, their upcoming third album will be pretty terrific. On "What I Am," one of the finest elements has to be the jazzy sax throughout the entire thing, courtesy of Phelan Parker. It's a fairly unusual tune for The Wiley Ones even employing a great piano line; I hope this is only a preview of what is to come from their approaching album. You can catch them on Super Bowl Sunday; they will be playing the NFL Tailgate Party at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Day Before Plastics - "Wrong" The new single from Day Before Plastics is a bit of a departure from the band's usual sound. Okay, it's a huge departure from its usual sound, a stripped-down acoustic track that borders on the type of folk-rock that singer/songwriters made popular in the early 1970s. There is even a hint of country twang in their at times, and lyrically, it certainly fits the Americana/country vibe. The thing is that they completely nail it -- I had to listen to it a few times before I was comfortable with it, but now I just love the hell out of it. "Wrong" really makes me wonder about the direction their approaching album Explosive Sadness will take, but I could actually dig an entire album by Day Before Plastics investing in their roots, so to speak. One of the things I've always liked about the band is that they are continually full of surprises and this was a big one. Still, when it comes down to it, it's backed by the same band and it has the same fantastic songwriting as the rest of their songs, they are just stretching their comfort zone a bit and the results are beautiful. The lyrics are just as good as the music and a somewhat timeless description of a melancholy breakup. All beautiful stuff in here.
Dent - "1996" b/w "Shift" Since the breakup of St. Ranger I've been waiting for Jeff Taylor to make his next musical move and it has arrived with Dent. Just this week, Dent released a debut single that owes as much to indie rock as it does to psychedelic pop. I haven't stopped listening to it since its Monday release. Needless to say, Dent has my rapt attention for everything it does from here on out. This is some of the craziest, most experimental fun music that I've heard in a while, it somehow holds up as pop, but it is way out on the fringe, in the best lo-fi way possible. "1996" literally sounds like it came from 1996 -- think Pavement and Sebadoh mixed with Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd. I'm not kidding. The other side of the single is the equally fascinating "Shift," which is psychedelic pop in a Flaming Lips way. This music makes me dizzy and I expect to see trails at any moment. These two songs have made this entire week worth living for; I simply can't get enough of Dent. I want an entire album like this, and I hope the band has it in them.
Bear State - "Cool Things" b/w "Dark Comedy" Bear State has been recognized for its moody, shoegazing dream pop in the wake of last year's release of the Hello Alexander EP on local Moone Records. The band just released a seven-inch single that maintains that exact same aesthetic. Both songs represent the band perfectly and, of course, feature Caleb Daily's signature breathy vocals, which are reminiscent of early Teenage Fanclub. "Cool Things" is a trippy little number with fascinating trap set work (once more) and hypnotic guitar. It's the perfect soundtrack to cloud-watching or just hiding inside your mind -- oddly, it could easily be remixed into a dance number. The b-side is "Dark Comedy" which is equally good, a bit more upbeat, but no less gauzy and lo-fi in its presentation, with a much stronger pop sensibility and a touch of psychedelic pastiche. I love Bear State, because all their songs are dizzying, somewhat transportational and mesmerizing. The band has a unique formula that I'm fond of. This time around, the group teamed up with Moone Records and Stinkweeds to support the community. All the proceeds from this release will be given to Arizona Foster Care Initiatives, which serves the hurting foster care and adoption system in Phoenix.
MRCH - "Validation" Are you looking for a new indie-electronica pop song that you can carry around in your head for days or weeks at a time? If you're in the market, I highly recommend that you check out MRCH. MRCH (pronounced March) is the new side project from Mickey Pangburn, Jesse Pangburn, and Erin Beal of The Prowling Kind, and they just had their debut show at Pub Rock this past Tuesday. Their debut single, "Validation," is an infectious tune that I haven't been able to shake since they released their lyric video earlier this month. Mickey has never sounded more superb with her dream pop breathy vocals on this track, something she only visited occasionally with TPK. Meanwhile, Jesse holds down drums and Erin is all over the keyboard magic. I love it when bands have side projects that are completely divergent from their mainstay. This song is, however, so catchy, that I can't stand it -- it's serious head bopping music in no uncertain terms. I really hope their debut EP maintains this vibe, because it's absolutely addictive. If the chorus itself doesn't hold you hostage, I'm not sure what will. "I just can't see, how it works for anybody, who surrenders their dreams for validation." Brilliant.
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