Favorite New Music: June 2017

Cool American Infinite Hiatus

infinite hiatus

Self-proclaimed “dorito pop” Portland four-piece Cool American released Infinite Hiatus on bandcamp at the beginning of June, but might best be played at the beginning of December: the melancholic delivery of the vocal performance tint each song with a wistful energy, and in the case of the title track, paint a solemn picture ideal for lonely dark months. Long live guitar bands!

Standout Track: “Great at Parties

Bleachers Gone Now


Bleachers’ sophomore album is another case of more-of-the-same syndrome, but when the debut album is as good as Strange Desire, it’s not such a terrible ailment from which to suffer. The choruses are still big, the vocals have the same filters, the 80s vibe is still loud and clear…but every touch is welcomed back for Bleachers fans.

Standout Track: “Everybody Lost Somebody

Calvin Harris Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1

calvin harris

It’s hard not to like, at least a little, an album that’s just a pile of dancable pop tunes from recognizable names…and this one trumps the new DJ Kalid project Grateful. As a disclaimer, however, the Nikki Minaj track is complete garbage and should not be bothered with for any reason.

Standout Track: “Heatstroke” ft. Young Thug, Pharrell Williams, Ariana Grande

Tigers of Youth Rapture and Gravity EP

tigers of youth

Portland’s TOY have released their debut EP and it captures the band’s excellent songwriting and lyrical compositions by frontman Dave Wentz. The smooth vocals and equally smooth guitar tones seduce the ears and make the EP feel like a full experience. Here’s to hoping they get some attention soon.

Standout Track: “Simple Treason

Other Solid Releases: Lorde Melodrama ; Vince Staples Big Fish Theory





New Music: June

1. Active Child Mercy


Pat Grossi’s Active Child project is in the world of alt R&B (which the internet has ironically titled PBR&B) and finds a lot of commonalities with How To Dress Well. The Sophomore LP is more of the same sorrowful, paced work from his debut. The voice Grossi uses in those high registers is the most hypnotic thing here.

Standout Track: “These Arms

2. MIKA No Place in Heaven


I think I’m surprised MIKA is still releasing albums because his debut album (all the way back in 2007) Life in Cartoon Motion seemed like such a novelty. In 2015, he is releasing his 4th album and it is more of the same bubblegum pop that is expected from the singer-songwriter. Oddly, MIKA has also spent the last few years working as a judge on European versions of The X Factor and The Voice.

Standout Track: “No Place in Heaven

3. Dawes All Your Favorite Bands


Dawes does a great job getting the music to serve the lyrics. The plays simple tunes to not distract the listeners from linking quickly with lead singer Taylor Goldsmith’s messages of love and life.

Standout Track: “All Your Favorite Bands

4. Mates of State You’re Going to Make It EP


Keyboard teen pop from the late 2000s lives on through bands like Matt and Kim and Mates of State. Here, the latter group release an EP of songs that do little to deviate from the sound that makes them identifiable.

Standout Track: “Starring Contest

Extra Shoutouts: Miguel Wild Heart ; Vince Staples Summertime ’06 ;  Ryn Weaver The Fool; Of Monsters and Men Beneath the Skin; Son Lux Bones

Music Video of the Month:

October Highlights

1. Weezer – Everything Will Be Alright in the End


The promise of “Back to the Shack” was a little conflicting: while the last few Weezer records were certainly a clear departure from the alt rock roots of early projects, it seems that Rivers Cuomo is apologizing for doing whatever he wanted to do. It seems that fans were upset when Rivers decided to move from his nerdy, innocent voice into the goofy bravado (bro-vado). Here, Rivers succumbs to the  wishes of long-time fans and reviewers and gives us a guitar-and-guitar-only album that rocks front to back. The weird lyrics are still there and the attitude is not dissimilar from recent times, but the rock’n’roll is in full force.

Standout Track: Cleopatra

2. We Were Promised Jet Packs – Unraveling

we were promised jetpacks

How’s that album cover hitting ya? A little bit Animal Collective, no? Anyway, the sounds on the otherrside of the record jacket are slow-burning rock tunes that hit for the heart first and foremost. Even the song “Piece of Mind” sounds like what M-83 would write if he traded in his pile of synths for electric guitars.
Standout Track: “Piece of Mind

3. Vince Staples – Hell Can Wait EP


XXL’s Freshmen Cover may or may not be a big deal anymore, especially with the advent of Twitter and the success of self-promotion techniques (from Macklemore to Lil B to Death Grips and more), so spending time commenting on Staple’s “no thanks” to a spot on the cover might be a moot point. Staples seems to be a rapper who takes himself and his craft more seriously than his PR moves and displays his gifts for storytelling here in this new EP. There is a lot of bold, powerful statements, especially on tracks like “Hands Up” where recent police shootings come to the forefront of the narrative.

Standout Track: “Blue Suede”

4. Cold War Kids – Hold My Home


If their 2006 hit “Hang Me Up to Dry” drove you a little crazy with leader singer Nathan Willett’s shrill vocal hook then maybe their new focus on rock dance beats will be a more palatable experience. Four-to-the-floor beats keep this record fun and will undoubtedly get stuck in your head.

Standout Track: “First”

Music Video of the Month (Just in time for Halloween):