Rozwell Kid has a penchant for the absurd. The rock quartet’s bio on their Facebook page simply reads: “‘whose line is it anyway?’ fantasy draft 2014 champions”. (One supposes congratulations are in order?) Then there’s a title like “Hummus Vacuum”, a track off of their new release, the limited edition cassette Good Graphics. The song is noteworthy for its delightfully chunk guitar distortion, but perhaps more so for its lyrics. Take, for instance, the opening lines: “My guts are twisting / From that burger I ate / In the parking lot / In the dark”. From there, more and more aliments get added into the equation, namely pizza and the titular hummus. Echoes of Weezer’s off-kilter charms can be heard in this pleasantly odballish tune by this equally odballish group.
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Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland are Whitehorse, a folk rock outfit from the Great White North. In their native Canada, Doucet and McClelland got a great deal of attention for their sophomore outing, The Fate of the World Depends on This Kiss, which was shortlisted for the reputable Polaris Prize in 2013. (It also placed in PopMatters’ Best Canadian Albums of that year.) Now they’ve readied their followup to that LP, the assertively-titled Leave No Bridge Unburned.
“Baby What’s Wrong?”, a track off of the new album, highlights one of the many skills Whitehorse have: the ability to create the aura of a specific location. With this song, they conjure up the mood of an old Western, one set in a parched California desert, perhaps. This Canadian duo evokes the Wild West much better than many American (so-called) country artists do. With its back-and-forth vocal interplay and dusky guitars, “Baby What’s Wrong?” sounds like a would-be James Bond theme, if said James Bond movie were directed by John Hillcoat and was set in the desert.
Having already picked up some attention in their native United Kingdom, the all-sibling trio the Rua, comprised of 22-year old Roseanna Brown (voice and guitar), 24-year old Alanna Brown (piano and backing vocals) and 19-year old Jonathan Brown (violin, guitar, vocals and backing vocals), are preparing to bring their music across the pond. The classically trained trio’s debut LP Essence is being prepared for a spring 2015 release in the States. Already, the Rua have earned comparisons to the likes of Fleetwood Mac from publications like Q Magazine, and the association is certainly not off. Emotionally resonant and harmonically arresting, these siblings have put their best foot forward with their debut LP.
Last week, PopMatters premiered the first of six behind-the-scenes videos for the new album by the Rua, “Fight For What’s Right”. Below you can view the second entry into this series, “Without You”.
On their website, the Chicago rock outfit Molehill is broken down thusly: “Trevor Jones, a classical upright bass player with a penchant for distortion; Devin Staples, a drummer in the venerable Chicago gospel circuit; and Greg Van Zuiden, a classical pianist who had only performed solo in the past.” Frontman Peter Manhart “developed his love for performance in a touring Ukrainian dance troupe in his youth.” Put simply, Molehill isn’t a run-of-the-mill kind of group, as both their background and their latest tune, “The Repeating”, evince. Driven by groovy bass distortion and an earworm of a chorus, the track is one of the more powerful performances on the group’s new LP, Tin God.
Below you can view the shadowy video to “The Repeating”, directed by Kyle Dunleavy of Rhapsody Productions.
Backed by a smattering of old-timey cartoon images, “Every Minute”, the newest tune by the Jacksonville, Florida outfit JJ Grey & Mofro, is a jubilant little number from the group’s new studio affair, Ol’ Glory. This is the kind of tune whose rays of optimism can cut through even the cloudiest of days. Once the song reaches its climactic moment, powered by a particularly effective horn section, one might notice an additional little skip in her step.