Comprised of Sierra Haager from Portland band bed. and Chris Crawford of Brooklyn’s French Miami, Clintongore specializes in creating the most vibrant dance pop possible from the most minimal arrangements possible. Armed with a drum machine and Roland Juno synths, as well as Haager’s likeable singing voice, the duo are charming on their debut album, as dreamy, shimmering tunes like “Keep in Mind” and “The Long Snowfall” wouldn’t feel out of place on the Drive soundtrack.
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One of the many great bands from legendary New Zealand indie label Flying Nun, the Jean-Paul Sartre Experience put out three albums between 1986 and 1993. Idiosyncratic yet fitting in snugly with the burgeoning indie rock in America and the UK at the time, the band’s unique work has been collected, remastered, and repackaged in a terrific set called I Like Rain: The Story of the Jean-Paul Sartre Experience, which features not only all three albums but a bevy of bonus tracks as well.
Best known as the frontman for Delaware post-hardcore standouts Boysetsfire, Nathan Gray has set off on his own with his debut solo EP NTHN GRY. It’s a big musical departure too, as with the help of collaborator Daniel E. Smith the new record delves into electronic and darkwave, following the lead of Portishead and Dead Can Dance. For the concluding track “Wayward Ghosts”, however, Gray heads in a more folk-oriented direction, espousing his Satanic convictions – specifically the Church of Satan’s focus on individualism – eloquently and artfully. He’s just made a quietly powerful new video for the track that echoes the song’s sentiments very well.
Ten months ago PopMatters premiered the clever “85” by New Zealand band Ha the Unclear from their debut album Bacterium, Look at Your Motor Go. We know a good thing when we hear it, and this time around, the Auckland foursome have returned with a splendid, brilliantly conceived new video for the dryly funny track “Growing Mould”. Musically the song references XTC and the Shins, as well as a little doo-wop, while the video, well, let’s let singer/guitarist Michael Cathro explain:
Led by singer/clarinetist/washboard player Jess Eliot Myhre and guitarist Chris Ousley, Baltimore’s Bumper Jacksons evoke a bygone era of American music, integrating early jazz, bluegrass, blues, swing, and folk into a raucous, all-inclusive hybrid that sounds as loud and energetic as it had to have sounded decades and decades ago. Their latest album Too Big World comes out this week, and the gritty cover of the old American gospel song “Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down” is a great indication of what to expect.