Jim Adkins - "I Will Go"
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Last week Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World launched a fascinating project with the "Jim Adkins Single Series". Every Friday, starting last Friday, Adkins will release a new song through August 14. Six songs in total consisting of three originals (A-sides) and three covers (B-sides). You can get them digitally or as seven-inch singles (with digital downloads, of course). All the while, Adkins is on a solo tour of America and Europe. The covers approaching are pretty exciting (Everly Brothers, Beck and Cyndi Lauper), but the first single released thus far is even more fascinating. "I Will Go" certainly has the pop sensibility that is present on Jimmy Eat World songs, but this is supremely intimate, drenched in Americana and downright cozy. There is also the luxury of horns found all over the song, fantastic percussion and of course, Adkins voice and guitar running the whole show. The first day it came out I must have listened to it over twenty times in both amazement and appreciation. The whole project reminds me of the Sub Pop seven-inch subscription days and now I simply can't wait to hear the rest of the song, and yes, I signed up for all the records and songs because it's the coolest thing I've seen anyone do in ages. If "I Will Go" is any indication, this is just the start of a wonderful musical adventure that we get to hear from the onset. Check it all out HERE.
Numb Bats - "Runnin"
Last weekend Numb Bats released their highly anticipated follow up EP to last year's stunning Gentle Horror album. This time around Emily Hobeheidar, Sophie Opich, and Mo Neuharth deliver a record that is much more ensconced in lulling dream pop than surf driven indie rock, but the results are just as fantastic. Bees & Trees is a fantastic way to spend the better part of a half-hour on an Arizona summer day, listened to repeatedly and you can lose an afternoon. The EP opener of "Runnin" is just the perfect quintessence of the sound they are finding these days. Hypnotic and dizzying to say the least, it's the kind of tune you want to listen to while you are driving in the desert during the middle of the night. Actually, most of the songs on the EP have that vibe to them — this is the soundtrack to tearing off to a local lake or just getting out to see the stars. There aren't really lyrics to be found here, but there is a sound that invites you to enjoy the rest of the record. Like many of their recordings it recalls a time in the ’90s when music like this would be found on a 45 by K Records and it would be all the rage all summer long in certain circles. It's exactly like that.
Diners - "In My Hometown"
I don't normally write about demos, but this is an exception. Diners are an exception. As the band preps for its next album, Diners has assembled a collection of demos, outtakes, b-sides and alternate versions of their songs that is promised to be ever growing. It's called Diners Demo Diary and it has some pretty glorious moments inside of it. As there are more demos, memos and what not, they will add it to this volume in time according to Tyler Broderick, so that's something exciting. I gave the whole thing a listen and much of it sound like demos from The Beach Boys in the late ’60s and that is about the highest compliment I could ever possibly give a band. I was, however, struck by the fact that I had to listen to "In My Hometown" over again. It may be a demo, but apparently Diners' demos are up to par with what some bands would be satisfied with as a single. It really has a similar feeling to The Beach Boys "Busy Doin' Nothin'" from Friends. It has the same mindset, the same easy pace and the same focus on normal daily events in life. Even if it's just going to the corner store to get a soda and get your change. It's a simple look at childhood and delivered through innocent reflection. Brilliant.
Hostile Work Environment - "Extraterrestrial Lover"
Jake Paxton has been pretty busy this year. He released a searing EP as a member of The Compañeros, he released his on solo EP only a few weeks later, and now he is fronting the band Hostile Work Environment. Now, they are slowly releasing songs on bandcamp as they are recorded and tearing it up live every week on various stages across the valley. The first of these songs is a current live favorite called "Extraterrestrial Lover" and Paxton proves his prowess as a charismatic frontman quickly. It's garage rock, that's for sure, but it's catchy as hell garage rock and with folks like Miles Tippet, Josh MacFarland, Michael Hawes and especially Spencer Ferrarin on board, nothing can go wrong. This may be my new favorite band of the year. I got to see them live for the first time a couple weeks ago and I was pretty stunned by their performance and the catalog of songs they had to offer. There is also one thing to be sure of, Paxton has one of the most unique and twisted perspectives in town. He does us all a favor by bringing that to his songs. This song is on my Summer soundtrack and I can't stop spinning it when I need an extra push. Keep your eye on Hostile Work Environment. I'm assured there is a lot more to come.
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Heptagon Heaven - "World Government"
Heptagon Heaven is the moniker for an essential member of such bands as NEBA, Vial of Sound and Africa Junior, I'm not at liberty to say, but those in the know can connect the dots. As Heptagon Heaven he creates hypnogogic electronic that will mesmerize your senses. It's only a matter of time until this wunderkind figures out the power of binaural beats and begins to literally change the frequency of your brainwaves. I'm a little surprised he hasn't already. Nevertheless, "World Government" is the newest track from this solo outfit and it's right in line with their growing catalog. I have no idea if there will be an EP or if there will ever be a live show, but it's a pretty fascinating, near six minute journey that screams of Kraftwerk and a few other Krautrock nods that I can think of from the ’70s. This is purely synthetic music, cold and austere in no uncertain terms, but fascinating nonetheless. It's a bit like disco for people on pills who can't leave the couch and want to stare at the walls a bit longer. I'm not sure how that would go over live, now that I think about it. I suppose the right amount of chemistry would produce a great show, though. Check it out for a dose of psychedelic synthesis.