The Archaics “Soft Focus” (thearchaics.bandcamp.com)
From the opening notes of “No In, No Out” The Archaics take you on a bright and colorful trip as the Edmonton Alberta based unit lock into a spaced out groove full of sophisticated arrangements that favor the likes of Strawberry Alarm Clock, Blood Sweat & Tears and The Doors. The start and stop pace of “Sweet Cocoon” features the bands brilliant musicianship and matches well with the shuffling feel of “Not For Nothing” which showcases vocalist Connor Snell’s powerful delivery. “Impartial Magic Marshall” has a rich, sensual feel to it that’s backed by Peter Masson’s walking bass line and the stellar drumming of Andy Trant. The infectious rhythm of “Howl” harnesses a cinematic presence before breaking into a more jazzy direction that gives way to Dylan Greenhough’s frantic organ lead that turns the track into a straight up mind bender while the fuzz driven guitar magic of Josh Beatty takes songs like “Janus Cat” and “Dune Wanderer” into other worldly territories. “Soft Focus” is an incredible album from beginning to end that is certain to sit well next to your collection of 60’s psych/soul classics.
Colic “Back At It” E.P. (colic.bandcamp.com)
Really happy to have come across this Charlotte based indie pop duo made up of Meghann Dyke and Jimmy Turner. The dreamy almost surf toned sounds of “Afraid” feature some beautiful vocal harmonies and an overall feel good aura that makes me smile. “Cold Risk” is similar but a little more moody and has an excellent guitar hook that works really well. The pair of originals is rounded out with a charming rendition of the Avett Brothers classic “Die Die Die”. A pleasant E.P. that’s honest, delicate and pure. I hope to hear more from this promising pair soon.
Elliot P Grant” “A.M. Songs” E.P. (elliotpgrant.bandcamp.com)
Elliot P Grant’s recent E.P. “A.M” songs is one hell of a record as the California based musician fuses beautiful energy with raw experimentation to create a release that is cinematic and warm. The full bodied acoustic guitar driven “AM 2” opens things up and sets an open minded mood full of atmospheric twists. “TP2” is a quick and quirky piece that serves as a brilliant lead into the intense yet bouncy feel of “Glouchster”. The orchestral based “Frogs Legs” is absolutely top notch and conjures up images of a dusky, rarely traveled country road while “AM 1” is lustful and bold. A truly amazing collection of music that is sure to inspire and impress for years to come.
Martin Månsson Sjöstrand “Calla Lily” E.P. (martinmanssonsjostrand.bandcamp.com)
Martin Månsson Sjöstrand never disappoints, be it on his own or with his band Dog. Paper. Submaribe. and this new solo effort is certainly spectacular from beginning to end. Opening piece “Calla Lily” features Martin’s signature lo-fi tone and a striking hook that is sure to stick with you on first listen. The free flowing sounds of “Myling” are highlighted by a driving bass line and quirky vocal delivery that brings to mind classic alt-rock favorites like Pavement, The Pixies and Ween while the delightful spirit of “Kepler-444” adds a nice degree of diversity to the mix. The E.P. is capped off with the gritty yet geeky feel of “Macropinna Microstoma” which reminds me of a lost lo-fi video game score. Another stellar addition to the ever growing Martin Månsson Sjöstrand musical catalog.
Sheer “Room” Single (sheer.bandcamp.com)
Gina Almaguer’s beautiful voice shines throughout “Room”, the latest single from Los Angeles based shoegazers Sheer. Backed by a melodic guitar lead and on point rhythm section this reverb drenched rocker really creates a “floating on a pile of clouds” style presence. It’s emotional, it’s uplifting and it’s sure to make an impact with shoegaze and dream pop fans both new and old. Hands down one of the best tracks of 2016.
Vulture Circus “Burlington // What is it Like to Be Alone?” (vulturecircus.bandcamp.com)
Brisbane, Australia’s Vulture Circus offer up a glowing pair of new tracks full of angular tones backed with action packed power. “Burlington” has a huge sound as it makes great use of the wide range of instrumentation and lush atmospherics. The track starts off slow and somber before bursting into a pounding frenzy full relentless power. “What is it Like to Be Alone?” combines a stand out vocal performance with intricate guitar work and dark undertones that paints a devastatingly beautiful scene as the music moves with a liquid like flow through your ears and mind. Highly recommended.