Comprised of former members of West coast indie bands P:ano and Lost Lovers Brigade, synthpop duo Fake Tears heads in a much more different direction, not only finding warmth in artificiality, but juxtaposing a pop aesthetic with a strong experimental mindset. Larissa Loyva and Elisha My Rembold create smart electropop, their rich vocal harmonies meshing beautifully with the vintage sounds of analog synths. It’s a beautiful, classic sound but with a modern perspective, and Nightshifting, their debut album for Mint Records, highlighted by the title track, achieves a kind of Giorgio Moroder-meets-Tangerine Dream feel.
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Plumbing the depths of early Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Echo and the Bunnymen, and Joy Division, Olympia, Washington band Dark Palms bring a welcome gothic tinge to indie pop, a little garish darkness to an often rigid style of music. Not too shabby for a band that only formed earlier this year.
Boston band the Shills have created an interesting hybrid of sounds on their latest album Keep Your Hands Busy, Vol. 2, enough to frustrate any critic from making quick reference points for readers. There’s a touch of the angularity of post-hardcore, the effervescence of indie pop, the abstract nature of psychedelic rock, and the technical proficiency of progressive rock. A great example is the album’s first track “Oh, This Devilish Place”, a glossy, shimmering ear worm of a track that wriggles its way into your head with its sunny melodies and harmonies, not to mention some fantastic hand-claps at one point.
With deep roots in folk music Jesse Milnes and Emily Miller offer an authentic look at America’s rich folk heritage on their latest album Deep End Sessions. With Milnes’s fiddle and Miller’s guitar—not to mention a harmonizing voice that echoes ancient recording of the Carter Family—the West Virginia-based duo are absolutely convincing on the classic traditional “Roving Gambler”.
The latest full KEXP session just hit the web and it’s from beloved Americana band Calexico. These KEXP sessions are becoming among our favorite performance videos, especially as they feature such a wide range of American roots music, intermixed with smart interview segments. Kicking things off with the utterly gorgeous “When the Angels Played”, this video features a number of the group’s latest tunes from Calexico’s Edge of the Sun played in stripped down acoustic fashion.