The sound of the Oakland, California rock outfit Trails and Ways is described as “a fascinating mix of the melancholy of bossa nova, the fearlessness of basement indie rock, driving grooves from the end of disco, and the slick shine of radio pop.” Such eclecticism is on full display with “Say You Will”, a cut from the group’s new album Pathology. While indie rock in the present day is known for its disaffected, somewhat ironic and detached tone, “Say You Will” is a refreshingly funky jam that melds danceable grooves to ethereal vocal harmonies. The accents of Nile Rodgers-esque guitar tone are just the icing on top of the cake.
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It’s All Just Pretend finds the Seattle outfit Ivan & Alyosha expanding from a quartet to a quintet, with drummer Cole Mauro joining Pete Wilson (bass), Tim Kim (guitar) and founding members Tim Wilson (lead vox, guitar) and Ryan Carbary (guitar, piano). While the allusion to The Brothers Karamazov in the band’s name might suggest a certain highfalutin literary pretension about their music (a la the Decemberists), but such is not the case. Nor, however, is their music All Just Pretend. As the album cut “Modern Man” (stream it below) evinces, these five musicians are in the business of writing straightforward and honest music. It helps that it rocks, too, as the ‘70s classic rock tone on “Modern Man”‘s guitars evince.
After two years in the making, All Through the Fire, All Through the Rain EP, by the Liverpool-based Rosenblume, is now ready for the world to hear it. Although he hails from the city that wrought the Beatles, Rosenblume earnestly and successfully channels the multi-varied threads of ‘60s and ‘70s American folk, particularly the scenes in Greenwich Village and Laurel Canyon.
Danger in the Club is out on 5 May via Rough Trade.
“Did You See” is a deceptive little number. It kicks off with a firm drumbeat that leads the ear to expect some high-tempo riff to come in and accompany it—but then, the rest of the band enters in quietly. By the end of the tune, the harmonized vocals of the Melbourne-based Running Young complete the mood established by the drums, elevating the tune to anthemic heights. Although identifiably indie rock—whatever that genre might mean nowadays, anyway—Running Young have a clear ability to do interesting things with familiar song structures.
The group’s latest release is the We Are the Sons EP. Frontman Joel Famularo brought Running Young together after miraculously surviving open-heart surgery at the age of 25. “I should have died before I even got to hospital”, he says, “because my aorta basically just popped like a balloon”. His joy in being alive and his passion for the music he writes is more than evident in “Did You See”. Give it a watch below.