Archive for ‘The B-Side’

May 14, 2021

The B-Side: Cody Uhler

Whether you call it 8-Bit Rock, Glitchpop or Super Nintendo Shredding (no one calls it that, but they should) you know it when you hear it. The instantly recognizable bleeps and bloops of our youth re-contextualized into classic pop, rock, punk, metal or hip hop song structures. It’s usually at least a little silly and always a lot of fun, but seldom is it as sophisticated as “Fairy Tech” from Cody Uhler is. This is less of an appropriation of video game culture for pop exploitation than it is an original composition that could serve as the coolest soundtrack to the coolest level on the coolest game. The power ups and extra lives are strong with this one.

May 13, 2021

The B-Side: 81355

Indianapolis super group 81355 (pronounced BLESS) brings together Oreo Jones, Sirius Blvck, and David “Moose” Adamson for a project that can be best described as adventurous hip hop. Jones and Blvck’s flow and lyricism are as good as it gets, and Adamson’s hook is haunting and hypnotic. The production keeps things interesting, combining a tinkly music box vibe with the occasional tuneful but none the less trunk rattling boom progression. All in all it’s an incredibly inventive and musical approach that still checks all the boxes hip hop heads want.

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May 12, 2021

The B-Side: New Candys

With “Zyko” the New Candys show that you can keep it simple and still be engaging and rocking. Most of the song is built on a repetitive 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1 down beat that you would usually hear as an intro or build up to an explosive chorus, but here it’s the groundwork for the whole song. Sure they add and remove layers and guitars move in and out, but most of the band most of the time is playing that simple, driving rhythm. The overall effect is one of the same effortless cool of the 80’s shoegaze movement, just don’t try to dance along.

May 11, 2021

The B-Side: The Red

From France we get singer-songwriter The Red and their unique take on Americana / indie folk with “Pretend.” As the song starts all the usual roots suspects are there – banjo, acoustic guitar, strings, a road weary voice…but quickly things start to shift and move into unexpected territory with a subtle parade march drum beat and some sort of fuzzed out lead instrument that is either a vintage Stevie synth or an oddly eq’d electric guitar. It’s at this point that you notice that even the more traditional instruments are put together in a different way and you realize this has more in common with the literary and sophisticated pop of Rufus Wainwright than it does with Rufus’s dad’s work.

May 10, 2021

The B-Side: The Centrists

“Catch Of The Day” by The Centrists saunters out of your speakers with a decidedly throwback style not unlike The Kinks at their most playful or The Monkees at their most, well, Monkees-esque. It’s simple, it’s catchy and is a great way to start off the week on an audio sunshine trip.

May 7, 2021

The B-Side: Sharktank

God we love an oddball pop song that somehow simultaneously bucks current mainstream conventions while also giving you all the pop goodness you need. LEN’s “Steal My Sunshine.” OMC’s “How Bizarre.” Breaths of fresh air blowing across the stagnant pond that is Top 40. “Get It Done” by Sharktank is the latest cool breeze to relieve your tired ears. It’s joyous, it’s funky, it’s fun and it’s just weird enough to charm you thoroughly.

May 6, 2021

The B-Side: E22

“Fearless” by E22 pulls together two great flavors for one tasty treat. Blondie style hooks meet a roughed up around the edges post punk sound and man oh man does it work. Gives us a glimpse at what might’ve been had young punkers Debbie and Co. had taken a left into darker Ian Curtis / Peter Murphy territory instead of heading off toward new wave pop. It’s catchy and dirty at the same time and we dig it.

May 5, 2021

The B-Side: Trauma Cat

There’s not a lot of bands recording their own self-titled theme song these days, but that’s probably because few of them can do it as well as Trauma Cat (the band) has done with “Trauma Cat” (the song). An epic instrumental (with the exception of the occasional “TRAUMA CAT….DRAMA QUEEN”) that mixes a flawless 70’s psych rock / early heavy metal groove with over the top cinematic flourishes. As this one is coming out on Cuck Records, the TC crew clearly have a good sense of humor, but this song ain’t no joke.

May 4, 2021

The B-Side: Hallam London

The more things changeling, the more they stay the sameling. Terrible pun on our part, but “Hey Changeling” is a great song from Hallam London. The verses give us dance punk drums, stop/start bass riffs and Andy Summers-esque guitar work while the choruses open up into a ready for radio hook not unlike what The Killers would come up with. Over it all a lightly filtered and effected vocal that gives us just a hint of gothy darkwave goodness.

April 30, 2021

The B-Side: Solar Powered Moon Tower

We often talk about bangers on this blog. Songs that have hooks and energy and make you want to shake that booty or shake a fist at the sky, but not often enough do we talk about thinkers. “I’m A Monster, Can’t You See” by Solar Powered Moon Tower is a thinker. Falling somewhere between the spoken word art pop of Laurie Anderson and a more current lo-fi bedroom synth vibe, it’s the kind of song that grabs you in a different way. The somewhat cryptic lyrics causing you to listen again and again to try and decipher (especially the whispered) and in the process you realize that the scratchy spaced out melodies are in their own way, a banger of a different kind.

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