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.
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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.
Tim Bowness, one half of the British art-rock duo No-Man, recently announced his latest solo venture, Stupid Things That Mean the World. Bowness is clearly in the middle of a creatively fertile period, as his new record comes not long after his excellent 2014 outing Abandoned Dancehall Dreams.
PopMatters is proud to premiere the first video tied to Stupid Things that Mean the World, for the haunting track “Great Electric Teenage Dream”. With powerful drumming reminiscent of the booming opener to Abandoned Dancehall Dreams, “The Warm-Up Man Forever”, the song is a rocker of an intensity rarely heard in the music of No-Man. While Bowness’ music in that duo, where he is joined by Steven Wilson on instruments, is often minimalist and introspective, on “Great Electric Teenage Dream” he cranks up the rock dynamics considerably. The music heightens the stark past/present contrasts Bowness highlights in his lyrics, some of which he no doubt knows all too well: “Your great electric teenage dream / Once a record / Now an unpaid stream.”
Sorrow and loss are deeply woven into the country music fabric, but they’re especially critical elements to the new LP by Jeremy Pinnell, OH/KY. With a gruff voice and a strong grasp on what real country sounds like, Pinnell spins a series of compelling yarns on the album that document the hardships of the past 18 years of his life, from drug addiction to failed relationships. On the cut “Big Bright World”, Pinnell takes the former head-on, singing, “I love the needle, son / And the needle loves me / It wants nobody to be free.” As Pinnell puts it in describing OH/KY, “You live the life I live, and you will know the way that country sounds.” Fortunately, as “Big Bright World” attests, Pinnell’s life isn’t all loss: “I’m lucky to be in this big bright world”, he sings.
OH/KY received a limited Kentucky/Ohio release back in 2014, and is now seeing its national United States release this summer. In his 7 out of 10 review of the album for its limited release in 2014 for PopMatters, Eric Risch calls these tunes “a tutorial on classic country music”.
The folk and singer/songwriter genre has become increasingly oversaturated in the past ten years, as there appears to be no shortage of white dudes who air their problems out over fingerpicked acoustic guitar. Finding a songwriter in this mass who knows how to properly execute a good melody or hook is often a difficult task. Fortunately, that feature is what New York City musician Tyler Lyle has in spades, as his new LP The Native Genius of Desert Plants shows. Much like the English guitar picker Ben Howard, Lyle strikes a happy medium between the introspection of the “guy with an acoustic guitar” format and sophisticated pop smarts. Tracks like single “Winter is for Kierkegaard” also show that he knows his way around lyric writing, to boot.