Anton Fig has had as cool a musical career as you can imagine. A session drummer extraordinaire, he played on the best KISS solo album, and provided the beat to one of the best singles of the disco/rock crossover era. A member of David Letterman’s house band since 1986, he’s played with every upper-tier musician imaginable, and even ate a canary on television. No, not a real canary, but it was comedy gold.
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With a sound that’s indebted to Bruce Springsteen and his post-millennial disciples the Gaslight Anthem and the Killers, Cleveland band the Modern Electric combine blue-collar themes from Middle America with smart pop arrangements on their new album Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. The contagious latest single “Same Old Haunts” is a fine example, going for that big, cinematic sweep of the E Street Band, but with vocals that opt for sensitivity rather than boisterousness.
Led by husband and wife duo Chris and Rebekah Bartels, Bora York bridges the more pop-centric side of late ‘80s dream pop with mid-‘80s synth pop, with heavy emphasis on the joyous side of R&B from that era. Toss in a little M83 and Stars here and there, with the two charmingly swapping lead vocals, and you’ve got something very appealing. Breezy and wistful at the same time, it’s a wonderful little hybrid, and their second album Secret Youth burst with hooks and energy.
With a total of six releases in less than five years, singer-songwriter Ryan Hutchens can certainly been deemed “prolific”, and his newest work, the full-length album 46 and Raleigh just might generate even more flattering words once folks hear it. His new single “Education” is a gorgeous little amalgam of the candor and haunting tones of Father John Misty and the more country-derived sounds of Americana.
When they decided to tweak their sound on their second EP, Rochester, New York duo Roses & Revolutions had to have known they were on to something awfully good. Rooted in confessional singer-songwriter fare, guitarist Matt Merritt and singer Alyssa Coco have ventured further into pop on Torch, the sound broad enough to appeal to fans of alternative, mainstream country, and even R&B. Well-rounded and bolstered by tremendous hooks from start to finish, this is a record that deserves to be noticed.