The electropop of Nashville’s Chaos Emeralds is a maximalist version of the genre, everything within their grasp ballooning to massive size. “Untied”, with its gigantic toms, neon arpeggios, and buzzing bass, rams it home: if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing big. And it’s nice that things are, indeed, this big: the song is a delectable slice of hyper-sugary cake, white-boy R&B if the genre had injected approximately seven liters of Pepsi intravenously before performing. It’s brash and loud, and it’s all the better for it.
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Money Chicha, as you might guess from the name, make chicha (or Peruvian cumbia, depending on your preferred nomenclature). It’s a style of music influenced by both traditional Suramericana music and guitar-drenched surf and psychedelic rock from the ‘60s. If you’re looking for a psychedelic trip to top off your end of week, look no further. Here’s an hour-odd collection of instrumental scuzz, percussive glory, and monumental guitar. It’s a wonderful mezcla of two fields which are incredible on their own, and Echo en Mexico proves that they sound great when combined.
Expect rock on “First Mistakes”, because rock is what you’ll get on this new video from the Dead Ships. It’s a straightforward guitar-driven song, loud tambourine and thumping bass pushing it forward. And, if the mold ain’t broke, there’s no reason to fix it — its simplicity, as always belying a more complex undercurrent of sadness and exhaustion, works wonders. Straight-up rock — the guitars! the four-by-four beat! the wailing tenor! — has been king for a very long time, and “First Mistakes” is proof that it continues to survive.
I’m firmly of the belief that a certain brand of nostalgia — that ever-present nag that music stopped being good when the ‘rents stopped being young enough to enjoy the new stuff — is toxic and has no place in our music community. Thankfully, Chris Robley’s “1973” is of the more pleasant sort, genially sepia-toned instead of acid-stained. It’s a self-admitted “fantasy”, a pleasant scene of how two folks met and made a kid that doesn’t actually exist in Robley’s true life, but oftentimes fantasy is compelling too. And “1973” certainly is compelling, charming wordless harmonies preceding a folk-rock stomp and killer psychedelic guitar solo. It might be a fictionalized portrait of the year it attempts to illustrate, but that fiction is a genuine joy—if a slightly depressing one—nonetheless.
DYAN’s synthpop recalls the period just past that glorious boom earlier this decade, when bands like the Naked and Famous, Passion Pit, and CHVRCHES burst through to mainstream appreciation with bombastic, joyful synthpop. After this time, the music from these bands became more sedate, less hurried, even more somber, culminating in the Naked and Famous’ 2013 album In Rolling Waves, one of my personal favorite releases in the genre. “Looking For Knives” sounds a lot like the more chilled-out tracks on that album, which I can always appreciate, but which more importantly makes for a compellingly drawn-out six-minute affair. Tremulous synth and steady voice function as bedrock, electric guitar and wild horns haphazardly dropped on top to inject a shock of energy. It’s synthpop in its most toned-down sense, the kind of music that reminds you that taking off the accelerator can provide a sumptuous result too.