Teen Men take their name from a Playboy advert dating back to the ‘60s. The opening tune of their new, self-titled LP, “Hiding Records (So Dangerous)”, begins with a phrase that sounds like an alternate take on the Rugrats theme. From this, one can reasonably infer that “playful” is among the adjectives one can pin on the Delaware-based quartet. Yet this slightly goofy creativity exists not merely for the purpose of giggle-inducing; rather, it’s another dimension to Teen Men’s multi-colored sonic canvas. To hear these colors in play, you can stream Teen Men in full below.
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In a short feature on American Songwriter, the North Carolina septet Songs of Water were asked what their turn-ons and turn-offs are. Their answer was simple:
Turn-Offs: false pretense
These folks aren’t joking. One listen to Stars and Dust, the group’s gorgeous new LP, and you’ll find nary a hint of the former and the plenty of the latter. With a lush, emotional musical landscape that more often than not evokes the feel of a film score, Stars and Dust is a complex journey from beginning to end. From the piano-driven beauty of album highlight “She’s Only Sleeping” to the wide-eyed wonderment of closer “Chiaroscuro”, you’re bound to get lost in the many paths Songs of Water take. Stars and Dust is an apt title; by the time the album reaches its conclusion, you’ll have journeyed to the stars from the dust, and then back again.
The Jacksonville, Florida band Sea Cycles is an interesting case as far as music that’s been called “synth-pop” goes. Whereas the regular practitioners of that style typically place vocals at the center—albeit usually through a gamut of vocal processors and effects—this quartet’s music is primarily instrumental, evoking the stylistics of post-rock. Both “Your Mind is a Sundial” and “Fiber Optic Cables To Antarctica” are close sonic kin to the music of Mogwai, the former sounding like a potential B-side to 2001’s Rock Action. Introspective in disposition and pensive in mood, Ground & Air is an instrumental set that conjures up vivid mental landscapes, as the best instrumental music is in wont to do.
On past LPs, the Seattle-based group Barcelona have shown an affinity for groups like Coldplay. With their 2014 single “Fall in Love”, though, the band took a more minimalist, electronic direction, one far more successful than Coldplay’s snorefest Ghost Stories. To add to this electronic experimentation, Barcelona took to the Moog studio to put a fresh spin on “Fall in Love”. As the video capture of the performance attests, these Seattleites harnessed the dizzying array of synth options with aplomb.
With June now having kicked off, some will undoubtedly begin speculating as to what the “song of the summer” will be. While it would be premature to make any definitive calls this early on, the Nashville indie electro-pop outfit certainly have cause to throw the hat in the ring with their latest tune “Run Wild”, which features on their forthcoming Eunoia LP. Stream the track exclusively below.