With a fragile, delicate vocal beauty in the vein of Joanna Newsom, Sye Elaine Spence paints a vivid image of her grandmother in her tune “1964”. A bare arrangement consisting merely of Spence’s high-register voice and a guitar creates the effect of flipping through an old photo album, nostalgically gazing at all that has come to pass in a rich life experience. Although Spence is a young artist, the timelessness of “1964” makes it seem as if she’s doing it for a much longer time—in past lives, perhaps.
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About a month ago, South Dakota’s own Jami Lynn released her sophomore LP, Fall Is a Good Time to Die. Six years in the making, the record is both a tribute to her home state and a fine collection of folk tunes in the vein of the best Americana. Below you can stream the pastoral “Texas”, whose spare arrangement—voice, banjo, and mandolin—puts Lynn front and center.
With their new record Citizens, the Houston pop/rock outfit the Wheel Workers pull off the trick of marrying “sociopolitical consciousness with a memorable hook.” Vocalist and lyricist Steven Higginbotham was nominated for the Best Songwriter Award at the Houston Press Music Awards in 2014, no small achievement considering that if one tuned out the lyrics, the Wheel Workers could just appear to be another catchy pop group.
To get a glimpse into Citizens, as well as the political insight that Higginbotham and his bandmates display in their music, stream the album cut “Burglar” below.
The Cornwall, United Kingdom trio Auction for the Promise Club have already garnered support from major outlets in their own country, such as BBC, 6Music, and NME Radio. Following their 2012 One EP, the band have now readied a followup single, “This May Hurt’, which you can stream exclusively below. With the energy of Paramore and the new prog guitar riffs of bands like Muse, Auction for the Promise Club show off their pop smarts but also bring a healthy dose of edge to the equation.
With psych and krautrock influences aplenty, Mondo Drag’s self-titled full-length, their first for the Los Angeles label RidingEasy Records, is one hazy good time. The band’s psychedelic bonafides, more than apparent in the music of Mondo Drag, has already been established through the music of the retro rock/metal outfit Blues Pills, which features many of the same band members. Swirling, mind-numbing textures meld with the swagger of classic rock—the Rolling Stones in particular—in this potent sonic brew.