Billing themselves as “casino trash”, trio Marion Walker play fittingly gritty garage rock with serious psychedelic undertones. In other words, it’s riff rawk that never hesitates to wander away from aggression to meditative passages, be they early-‘70s doom jams, screaming guitar solos, or both. At a scant 11 minutes, the new Serious Picnic EP might seem short, but it’s actually a finely orchestrated stoner suite that echoes everything from Blue Cheer, to Cream, to the Velvet Underground. It’s a pleasantly hazy-sounding experience, and one we’re glad to premiere.
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With only a banjo and voice at its forefront, “Oh Darlin’” doesn’t use many sonic ingredients to get its point across, but get its point across, it does. Written and performed by the Canadian musician Kaia Kater, the tune checks off all the requisite bluegrass and folk tropes. This song is one any singer should be proud to call her own, but it’s a particularly noticeable achievement on Kater’s part; at the quite young age of 21, she already displays a no-nonsense know-how about roots and folk music that should be the envy of any person of any age.
“Oh Darlin’” features on Kater’s new LP, the appropriately titled Sorrow Bound. (As the classic saying goes, “With bluegrass, if you want to be happy, listen to the music; if you want to be sad, listen to the words.”)
Los Angeles singer-songwriter Vinnie Ferra creates haunting, minimalist folk music that remains rooted in the past but also keeps its vision steadfastly ahead. Traditionalism and experimentation share equal space on his new album arc en ciel, which we’re proud to premiere here today. From the hushed tones of “Dreamer”, to the explosive, two-part “Ghost Town” suite, to the wistful title track, to the gorgeous ten-minute epic “House on the Hill”, the arc of this album is a tremendous strength.
Often credited to King Louis XV of France, “après moi, le déluge”, or “after me, the flood”, has become an idiom meaning that whatever happens when the speaker is gone means nothing to them. That feeling permeates the passion and poetry of Sad Robot’s latest album of the same name. The Los Angeles duo of Kat Pawlak and Nicolas Perez have created another album that marries the languid post-millenial sounds of Goldfrapp and Lamb with more overt pop touches—at times the new record reaches Sia levels of melodrama—that moves with grace and wallows, revels even, in sorrow and romanticism.
The founder of Chicago indie pop band Paper Arrows, singer-songwriter Joe Goodkin has set off on his own, recording his debut solo album Record of Life, which comes out at the end of the month. Tapping into the folkier side of indie rock, as well as Americana and even a slight Paul Westerberg influence, Goodkin’s honest, unpretentious style shines through, which you can hear—and see—on the stark new video for “Dog and Cat”, which we’re pleased to premiere here at PopMatters.