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by Brice Ezell

22 May 2015


Had the stars aligned a certain way, and Scott Walker had started off his musical career in 2015 Brooklyn rather than mid-‘60s United Kingdom, he could well have made the music of JOBS. Somewhere underneath “Patient Angel”, a track off of JOBS’ forthcoming killer BOB sings LP, there’s a simple pop song. Yet it’s buried beneath layers of latticework noise and bursts of dissonant asides, to the point that the song’s center, its core, becomes obfuscated by the band’s experimental leaps. This, of course, is the delight of “Patient Angel”: it takes you for a ride. Just when you’ve set your expectations for it, this Brooklyn trio will take a tangent that will challenge what you know about music. Like the aforementioned Walker, the music of JOBS always has its toes dipped in recognizable song structures and tropes, but it never jumps all the way in.

“Patient Angel” now has a music video to match its mercurial structure, with psychedelic and eye-searing flashes of brilliant color tracking and enhancing the shifts in the tune itself.

by Brice Ezell

21 May 2015


Photo: Tim Ivy

Songs about breakups are a dime a dozen, but there’s a reason why that’s the case: it’s a powerful universal emotion that has a million different angles to it. No one song can be all-encompassing in its examination of the lovelorn state. Mississippi’s own the Shoe Birds know this, and for their take on heartbreak, “You Leave Me Blind” they craft an anthemic, driving pop/rock number that culminates in its sing-along ready chorus.

“You Leave Me Blind” can be found on the Shoe Birds’ forthcoming Southern Gothic LP.

by Brice Ezell

21 May 2015


On their Facebook page, Sneakout describe their sound as “fuzz pop”. Their latest tune, “Savior”, does somewhat fit that mold, but what it brings to mind more distinctly is the early ‘00s rock revival, where vintage amps and distortion pedals flooded venues worldwide for gigs played by bands whose names invariably started with “The”. (The White Stripes, the Hives, the Vines… the list goes on.) With a vocal delivery that can be described as somewhat Ozzy-esque, frontman Robert Fleming declares, “I’m your savior!” atop boot-stompin’ guitar riffs.

by Brice Ezell

21 May 2015


With an aesthetic that brings to mind groups like Joy Kills Sorrow, the Colorado-based the Railsplitters find that perfect balance between bluegrass instrumentation and earwormy pop melodies. On their newest LP, The Faster It Goes, all the players are all uniformly great, supporting each other but also taking breaks off to let their instrumental chops shine. Some of their riffs and melodies evoke the knotty playing of Punch Brothers; in fact, “Salt Salt Sea” close sonic kin to that band’s “Movement and Location”.

Below you can stream “You”, which juxtaposes poppy mandolin chords and jangly banjo picking. Above all else, though, is the stellar vocal interplay of the group, evoking both classic pop harmonizing and the communitarian sense that’s found in the best bluegrass and folk music.

by Brice Ezell

21 May 2015


In her newest music video “Far and Wide”, which you can view exclusively below, Ruth Moody lays out a beautiful, elegiac folk tune. Anyone familiar with Moody and her body of work will find this unsurprising; as a member of the Canadian trio the Wailin’ Jennys, who among other things have a Juno Award to their name, she displays sharp harmonic and melodic chops. As PopMatters’ Dave Maine put it in his review of the Wailin’ Jennys’ 2011 LP Bright Morning Star, their music is “a stripped-down masterclass in close harmony singing.” But while Moody’s voice fares especially well in the music of the Jennys, she’s certainly no slouch on her own, either, as “Far and Wide” evinces. The tune was released on a special vinyl single release for this year’s Record Store Day.

Moody is getting ready to do a UK tour with Dire Straits guitarist Mark Knopfler this coming May and June (dates below), including two shows at London’s Royal Albert Hall. She features on Knopfler’s new album, Tracker.

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