Daniel Euphrat is the mastermind behind the eclectic Timmy Sells His Soul outfit. Each song is so uniquely distinct and different from the last it’s like listening to a more pop version of Mr. Bungle though without the busy backdrop. Dripping wet with indie-pop incredibleness, “Name and Form” jumps from genre to genre but always boasting a terrific array of textures. His off-key vocals range from somewhat spoken yet muffled to melodic crooning. A huge array of electro influences are smashed up behind his voice. “Seeds” finds Rachel Springer Dunbar lending vocals amid a chaotic stew of IDM and melodic indie pop harmonies. “Knife and Bowl” evoke a kind of melancholy – something this album doesn’t seem to lack in – but with an industrial-pop edge ever so slightly creeping upwards. I couldn’t begin to tell you who he may be influenced by because so many things happen throughout the listen which is a good thing; I highly doubt it’s easy to pigeonhole someone like Timmy Sells His Soul. “Vicious” sounds like something you’d hear off of Metropolis Records while “We are Surplus” could be easily heard at your local coffeehouse with its low-key indie-pop flavors. Rangy and yet authoritative in what he’s trying to deliver and accomplish, “Name and Form (Black)” is a dark beauty but one that demands your utmost attention. Highly recommended.
Posts in category pop music
“In the Moment” is an alternative pop-rock album with some pop-punk and emo backdrops. When I heard that this was a band that played on the same stage as My Chemical Romance, the Jonas Brothers, Jesse McCartney, and Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, I had no real idea what to expect. So what we got was awfully cheesy MTV-oriented pop fodder that while well-written and performed is just laughably clichéd. Flawed as Alamance is, given that they have a 19-year old singer/songwriter they’ll probably make tons of money and have adoring fans. Puke.
Sugar-sweet vocals that mix female and male vocalists with surprising alacrity and stout harmonies, “The Hate Album” is one of the more tender albums you may hear out of the Denver scene. Kissing Party writes songs that remind one of Mates of State in a way though done with less sophistication, which is not a bad thing just a commentary on how stripped down and simple they make their brand of pop songs. Indie pop has become a very big thing in the latter part of this young millennium and groups like Kissing Party are taking the genre to new and disparate places. You can hear influences from ‘80s and early ‘90s groups like the Cure and Smiths among others. Percussion is tight and straight-forward without too much pizzazz. Guitars and synths are used to construct the main elements of the songwriting as the vocals add a dimension that is smart and directional. Very well done and highly recommended.
An issue that has plagued me and probably affects many other people when listening to bands, is not being able to get past the vocals. I hate to say it but when I get it into my head that I don’t like a certain singer, whether because of the sound, the style, or what have you, I can’t move on past it. Elk City unfortunately falls into that department. If only singer Renee LoBue would be just a bit better, I would love this band. Her voice is quite distinct and that’s perhaps her downfall, if it was middle-of-the-road I guarantee this band would be huge. The supporting cast surrounds her very deft songwriting and lyrics with a bevy of alternative rock that is pop-oriented but also belies an affection for sophisticated jazz, psychedelic rock, and folksy soul.
Austin, Texas alternative four-piece Household Names return with their third record, “Stories, No Names” writing well-built songs in terms of structure. Honing their craft into a shimmering melodic dance of alternative rock, pop, and atmospheric rock you can hear how far Household Names has come since their debut – they sound much more like Blur and less like a take from latter career Oasis. Gotta love the beat-driven signature that they seem to employ in every song now – it gives the album a fitting pop feel that would work well on a long drive, jog, or simply sitting back with a pair of headphones on.
I’ve been reviewing and watching the career of Suzy Callahan for several years now. And I gotta admit, she just keeps getting better and better. “Big, Helpless Sleep” starts off with a folksy banjo line on “Don’t Even Be Nice” and then comes in Suzy’s signature swooning vocals. Poignant and thoughtful lyrics are sprinkled throughout the album. Just when you have a favorite song, you find yourself in love with another and then another and so on. Many musicians struggle to find their voice, often creating forgettable tunes or after they have written a gem struggle to follow it up with an equally great song. Not so with Suzy Callahan; her brand of indie pop-rock is mature, smart and most of all damn likable. Isn’t it time for her to stop being dubbed “under the radar” and be acknowledged as the pop genius she is?
These are the endearing stories that makes being a music reviewer that much more rewarding. Jon Troast is a paycheck-to-paycheck musician who recently completed a 100 Concerts in 100 Days tour, performing in gracious people’s living rooms. The album is a melting pot of Americana, pop-rock, folk, and indie singer/songwriter fare. Blessed with earnest lyrics with working-collar melodies, Jon Troast’s “Living Room” is a testament that struggling musicians can get by if they try hard enough, self-promote the right way, and frankly get out there and perform in front of people. Oh did I mention he doesn’t plan on charging for his shows in 2010, but just will rely on album sales alone to get by? So what are you waiting for? Help a man out and be rewarded with gift of strong songwriting and the wordplay of a true traveling minstrel.
Watch a video of Jon playing at a barn:
Sultry off-jazz vocals with the constructs of electro-pop and indie pop building a foundation, Panda Transport, a duo consisting of Kathy Compton and Thierry Holweck have been around since ’06. The duo found fame with their single “Transmission” off of their critically acclaimed debut “Plush Mechanique”, which was featured on Greys Anatomy. Having written their debut essentially through Internet-based collaborations, Panda Transport set out to do something more organic and intimate. Intelligently blending ‘found sounds’ (they sampled cicadas outside of Kathy’s yurt and car-door-slams became a new found kick drum) with personal and emotional vocals, light melodies, sweet harmonies, and future pop rhythms, “Monorail” builds upon the success of their debut and proves that they’re far removed from the dreaded sophomore jinx. Pop fanatics will covet the truly catchy nature of many of the tracks, while the more indie and experimental music junkies will drool over decomposing and digesting the varied musical tapestries that make up each track.
Denver’s Kill Paradise who having been touring with bandmates Brokencyde (you read that right, sigh) is electro pop with mall punk and club synths & beats embellishing and utilizing as many of today’s pop clichés as possible. Auto-tune? Check and then some. Hot Topic exclusive? Yup. Music featured on one or more MTV reality TV series? Absolutely. Mixing dance beats with emotional vocals (cough, emo, cough)? Yes. I just shudder for the children of today if this is truly what the hell they like. The real question is if they can sing more than a single bar or two without the help of vocal effects like auto-tune…I think I know the answer to that. Hey maybe that’s what they mean about “The Second Effect” – that they’ve found one other than auto-tune? This can’t even be a guilty pleasure without wanting to jump off a bridge after listening to it. Don’t believe me? Just watch the below video.
Watch the video for “Just Friends”: