The kind of music that the Athens, Georgia instrumental outfit Kenosha Kid purveys in is one of those things that is nearly impossible to describe with clarity that nonetheless makes sense by the time it’s all said and done. One spin of any of their knotty, mind-bending jams and it becomes clear that the group, headed up by guitarist Dan Nettles, has a very different conception of song structure than most musicians. Where others would think not to put certain ideas together, Kenosha Kid runs wild with the eclectic. Such is the case for the oddball “Zombie Party”, a track taken from the band’s forthcoming LP Inside Voices. A delirious hodgepodge of jazz, surf rock, and ‘60s pop, the tune’s perplexing composition is matched only by is music video, which… well, it’s best to let Nettles himself explain what’s going on here.
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Last fall, PopMatters premiered the music video “Bad Country” by the Virginia folk group the Last Bison. That song, a fine, sing-alongable number, is one of the key components of the convivial atmosphere that fills VA, the group’s most recent LP. PopMatters writer John Bergstrom asked in his review of the Last Bison’s Inheritance record, “The Virginia septet are legitimate players in the folk revival, so why aren’t they blanketing your radio like Mumford & Sons and the Lumineers?” The world has yet to give a sensible answer. The band’s music not only gives those mega-groups a run for their money; in many cases, particularly with Mumford & Sons, they actually one-up them.
As it turns out, the music of VA isn’t over just yet. These Virginians have now readied a followup EP, Dorado, taken from the writing and recording sessions from the last album.
Bob and Martha are not actually Bob and Martha; the actual names of the duo are Aparna Muralidharan and Dan Bonsignore. According to their press materials, they both met and starting recording music in “an explosive firework of creativity and kittens”. Upon listening to Bob and Martha’s new EP, Middle Babies, it becomes clear that description is no mere use of adorkable rhetoric. Especially on tracks like “We Leave”, which you can exclusively stream below, the band’s brand of lo-fi, charming pop more than lives up to the image of a firework of kittens. Add this up with the animal costumes the group wears on the cover of Middle Babies and you’ve got yourself one twee pop outfit with a sense of humor and childlike wonder about their music.
Synth-pop bands are a dime a dozen these days—hell, maybe even less than a dime at this point. One might say that the Brooklyn/New York City synth and indie scene has hit its economies of scale moment, if it hadn’t done so already. For that reason, when an artist or band pulls off a particularly memorably catchy take on synth-pop, it’s hard not to notice. Such is the case for Allies for Everyone, a project by the New York City musician Brian Suarez, whose new EP Bunker displays both pop smarts and the textural prettiness that many bands of his ilk fall far short of. The EP’s title cut particularly stands out; with a great hook, an earwormy three-note ostinato, and layers upon layers of atmospheric synths, it’s a track that does what good synth-pop should do.
“Bunker” now has an equally atmospheric music video to accompany it, featuring plenty of smoky visuals that enhance the already distinct nighttime mood of the tune.
Going on strong for over 20 years now, the pop collective the Minus 5, helmed by Scott McCaughey, has been crafting solid pop tunes in the vein of classic ‘70s rock and pop. The word “collective” here is not purely rhetorical; part of what makes the Minus 5 distinctive is that they bring on new players for each new recording, a fact that remains true on their newest studio affair, Dungeon Golds.
Below you can stream the audio of the album track “In the Ground”, which features the recently departed Ian McLagan, of the legendary Small Faces fame.