Bryce Rudow is a contributing writer for All Things Go
Overloaded by all the “new music” options you keep hearing about? We’re here to help. Here’s four songs we think you should fucking know (this week). Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments too.
- Solomon Grey – “Firechild”
Solomon Grey is an intentionally ambiguous duo (not to be confused with the Ambiguously Gay Duo) comprised of someone named Tom Kingston and someone named Joe Wilson. They are potentially based in London or potentially based in Australia or potentially somewhere nowhere near either of those places. What is unmistakably clear, though, is the two of them can create some lush, electro pop. In “Firechild”, they have taken soul borrowed from TV on the Radio, infused it with Prince’s dramatic grooviness, and gone Twin Shadow with the production. The very beginning of this song has that slight anticipatory build that signals something big is about to take place, and from the first kick-snare I could tell the song would live up to the intro’s promise. The well-directed music video is a great way of amping up the artistic cred of the two, solidifying them as a band worth keeping an eye and an ear out for.
- Nude Beach – “Some Kinda Love”
One of the hardest parts of writing about bands that most people have never heard of is finding details about those bands that I can then cite and reference casually, therefore making people think that I somehow have all this knowledge casually stored in my brain. Nude Beach takes the difficulty out of that process with their biopic of a music video for their single “Some Kinda Love”. Not only do we learn the typical who’s (Chuck Betz, Ryan Naideau, and Jimmy Shelton) and where’s (Long Island and Brooklyn), but also fun facts like their second jobs including being a record store employee, a barista, and a dog walker. They’ve been self-releasing cassettes and vinyl LP’s for a bit, but now have an LP out via Other Music.
While the video is a fresh take on introducing a band, make sure to actually listen to the song too. Their power pop harkens back to something between Real Estate and the Replacements, with catchy hooks and jangly guitars throughout. They’ll be at Rock and Roll Hotel on November 12th, and I’m strongly considering making the H Street trek on a Monday just to see their nostalgic rock and roll.
- Toro Y Moi – “So Many Details:
Chaz Bundick, aka Toro Y Moi, is about to turn 26, but he is already set to release his third album, one that he promises will be a departure from his earlier sound; he has been interviewed saying that Anything in Return will be about “sincere pop music that’s not all processed and bubblegum.” Boasting “So Many Details” as a single is a great way of backing that statement up. The electro-soul over highlighted hi-hats, chanting fuzz guitars, layered synths, and the occasional vocal sample is complex pop with the signature Bull-and-I sound (and that tribal drum and chanting guitar outro is a perfect cherry on top). Listening parties are being held in NYC and San Fran this month, so expect for some early reviews to start popping up in advance of the January 22nd release. I personally see the ever-impressive Chaz coming through with his declaration and releasing a fully enjoyable pop album early next year.
PS: 9:30 hasn’t officially announced it yet, but he’ll be there February 10th (How’s that for a detail I get to casually get to drop?). I’m sure Shauna/Logan will be letting you know exactly when tickets go on sale whenever that may be.
- Murals – “Eyes of Love”
Eyes Of Love by On A Passing Cloud LP
Another CMJ standout, Louisville-based Murals self-released their debut EP On a Passing Cloud this summer. They’ve been playing with an AM radio, throwback sound that makes anything they play sound like it’s meant to be soundtracking an important scene in a favorite movie. “Eyes of Love”, especially, could have replaced Simon and Garfunkel on Garden State‘s soundtrack (and yes, that is a favorite movie you cynical bastards). But Murals has found a way to make that sound their own, incorporating elements of psychedelic rock, folk, and even doo-wop on their album. I’ve found myself really falling for their blissful vocal harmonies, repressed percussion, and wavy guitars and am kicking myself that I missed them play Velvet Lounge three months ago.
- Sufjan Stevens – “Mr. Frosty”
It’s been 6 years since Sufjan Stevens released his Songs for Christmas, Vols. 1-5, and it looks like Sufjan Clause is ready to deliver some holiday goodies once again. On November 13th, Silver & Gold: Songs for Christmas, Vols. 6-10 will be released, including 60 tracks taking over 5 discs and featuring collaborations with people I really like such as Aaron and Bryce Dessner of the National and Richard Reed Parry of Arcade Fire. Apparently, this was originally supposed to be a gift for family friends, but now, even with a public release, the box set with include a boatload of stuff to make your Christmas super indie, including stickers, temporary tattoos, lyric sheets, chord charts, a paper ornament, a pull-out poster, illustrations, and extensive liner notes. He’s even announced a 24-date Christmas tour called “The Surfjohn Stevens Christmas Sing-A-Long: Seasonal Affective Disorder Yuletide Pageant On Ice” that includes a stop at the 9:30 Club on November 24th (which sold out really quickly).
I’ll admit that 5 EPs worth of Christmas-related music does sound a little daunting, but the awesome claymation video for “Mr. Frosty” (animated by Lee Hardcastle) has me officially on board. Starring a zombie-killing snowman that saves Christmas, it does a great job promoting a Christmas album on the day of the dead (Side note: Speaking of zombies, I just saw Zombieland for the first time during my Sandy-induced staycation, and I highly recommend it as a great Halloween party movie. Plus, Bill Murray makes one of the best cameos in the history of film in it).