We Never Asked For This

We Never Asked For This is our short reviews of the best releases that showed up in our inbox unsolicited this week.

Our inbox must be working out, because it’s straight swole with good tunes. Today we have new music from Ryan Innes, MYLO BYBEE, Pop Cautious, Jahi Sundance, Stephen G. Clayton, Chris Portka, Mystic Seers, Bird Concerns and Art d’Ecco.

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Ryan Innes – “Creature”
While we’re always happy to put our own spin on the things we write about, we honestly can’t sum this up better than the press release did when it said “sounds like Danger Mouse produced a D’Angelo track for a Quentin Tarantino film.” Thanks for doing the heavy lifting unknown publicist hero! We will add that this track from the former The Voice contestant is as good as fellow Voice alum Judith Hill’s 2020 single “Americana,” and the combination of the two give us hope that real quality and artistry can continue to escape the shallow neutered show tune shadow of that show.
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MYLO BYBEE – “End of the War”
To paraphrase old Ben Kenobi, this is a sound we haven’t heard in a long, long time. From the skittery drums to the math tinged jangly guitars and earnest vocals, “End of the War” is giving us serious Braid / Mineral vibes, and hot damn if that isn’t something we’ve missed. If that’s what you think of when you say emo (as opposed to the eye liner and fashion oriented emo pop that followed it) than we recommend you check this out ASAP.
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Pop Cautious – “2 Hearts”
It’s not every day we get sent a new song that sounds like a 50’s teenage love song reinterpreted for modern times, but that day did come this week in the form of “2 Hearts” by Pop Cautious. The fuzzed out bass and production are very much of the now, but the song itself is a timeless heart on sleeve number that could have just as easily been a hit for The Penguins (they did “Earth Angel” – figured we’d save you a trip to Google). It’s charming and sweet and an unexpected delight.
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Jahi Sundance – “very busy”
The kind of perfectly funky, hook laden moderne disco bop that just drips effortless cool that we’re 100% certain it’ll show up in several commercials and movies over the next few years, but we won’t even mind because it’s that good. And a 30 second long synth solo that colors outside of all of the lines to boot? Yes please.
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Stephen G. Clayton – “Lies To Die For (featuring Knight-Malciak)”
What starts as a lovely chamber pop song as filtered through Sparklehorse-esque scratchy sonics slowly evolves into an indietronica ballad and eventually a full on club banger before ebbing backwards through its styles for a tidy bookend. The real beauty is in how naturally “Lies To Die For” pulls off the journey.
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Chris Portka – “It’s Natural to Lose Friends”
Poetic and shambling, “It’s Natural to Lose Friends” sounds like the love child of Silver Jews and Pavement (yes, yes, we know – don’t get hung up on shared members and think about the sounds…man) with a dash of Meat Puppets thrown in. It’s slacker rock par excellence.
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Mystic Seers – “Patterns”
We get quite a bit of music sent to us that dips a toe in 60’s psych rock, but few jump in head first and do a few laps around the deep end of the sound like “Patterns” does. Summer of Love vocals, bongos, mellotron, electric piano, exotica rhythms, fuzzed out guitars, sax solo, extended jam out – this is the kitchen sink Ken Kesey mixed the Kool-Aid in. There’s probably an argument to be made about homage at the expense of originality here, but this is an ambitious kaleidoscope to tackle, and Mystic Seers does an impressive job.
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Bird Concerns – “Emergency”
Our first thought upon hearing “Emergency” was to check to see if Bird Concerns was a new Chris Barth project. Turns out it’s not, just a spiritual sibling of sorts to the Impossible Shapes / Norman Oak mastermind, weaving a similar organic, psych-tinged garage rock that feels more like a dream described than a traditional song. It’s mercurial, etherial and a song we’ve kept on repeat this week.
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Art d’Ecco -“Head Rush”
All hail the power of an undeniably great song. This is the second song sent to us by Art d’Ecco and the first one, well, we didn’t care for it. In fact we didn’t care for it so much that we almost didn’t open this email when it showed up. How happy we did. “Head Rush” pulls off the enviable feat of sounding like a lost T. Rex classic without being an obvious lift. It’s a tasty reminder to keep our ears and minds open, because sometimes second time is the charm.
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