Not a whole lot is has been happening lately, yet at the same time there is still plenty to talk about. I admit that I’m a little late to the party on a couple of these releases, but I couldn’t resist sharing them anyway.
Small Black: Photojournalist/Sun Was High (So Was I)– As I mentioned a couple of entries ago, one of this year’s unexpectedly great records was Small Black’s New Chain. If you bought your version on iTunes, you got the exclusive cover of Best Coast‘s Sun was High (So Was I). Now if you were patient or just liked the song especially, you can get it on a 7inch from Jagjaguwar along with Photojournalist, a favorite from the album. The original is a pretty good song and it was nice to hear an alternate take on it. But, the 7inch presumably only comes on regular black vinyl and you can still get it almost anywhere without having to pay the entire $6. So unless you’re a gigantic fan, simply find a download and enjoy… like right here… 8.1/10
The Get Up Kids: There Are Rules– Some years ago, a little emo band(when emo was a new and despised term) broke through the indie scene with a unique take on post-punk and heartfelt vocals. Multiple records and years later, The Get Up Kids had amassed a hefty library. I honestly started to care a little less after On A Wire, the first record that they began to walk away from post-punk towards more of an indie sound. By the time Guilt Show came out, you could say that I wasn’t very happy. More accurately, you could say I was irate… and I wasn’t alone. At a show after On A Wire was released that I attended, the crowd was completely still during their new songs. However, when they played songs from earlier in their career, the crowd was visibly and audibly elated. Now, maybe I’m just not privy to their little strategy and maybe they were just trying to build up to their great songs, but I doubt it. THANKFULLY, now that they’ve reunited, all indications from their Daytrotter session a year ago to the single that they’ve released recently are all pointing to them picking up(appropriately, might I add) where Something To Write Home About left off and should have led them to: A modernization of their already great sound. There Are Rules drops on January 25th and though I admit that 11+ years is a hell of a long time to wait for an adequate follow-up, at this point I think I’ll see any progress in the right direction as a complete success… wait, did I just tip my hand?
Beach Fossils: Face It/Distance– If you’re not familiar with Beach Fossils’ sound and you have a fair grasp on indie rock, just think Surfer Blood meets Beach House with vocals similar to Small Black. If I’ve totally lost you, stay with me for a second. Earlier this year, they released a full length album that was a bit more lo-fi rock than this, but not much else was dramatically different. This is simply a 2-song single they released as of late and being that this was a couple of pretty songs AND a slight improvement percussively over their LP, I felt a well deserved bit of attention was due. If they continue to grow like they already seem to have done over the past few months, I think they’re really going to surprise us all…8.0/10
Psychic Powers: Glide and Brighter– I recently stumbled upon this band looking for something electronic and I’m glad that I did. Psychic Powers specialize in having smooth, airy transitions that they make with synthesizers and vocals over dance beats. Its actually pretty similar to what The Depreciation Guild does, but with more of an emphasis on beats. The 2-man outfit sounds remarkably tight for being a project carried out between a band separated by the Atlantic between New Zealand and Los Angeles. They’ve only released a small handful of songs up to this point, but most are available for free here. Glide’s title track is much better than Blue Icing, the B-side. Its definitely an 80s throwback song(Blue Icing), much to its detriment. It comes a little too close to the Pet Shop Boys to be considered original. Brighter features acoustic guitars and airy vocals and as a departure from their other work, no beats. To round out their other song, they give us an artfully acoustic version of a song from their Frozen EP. I’m somewhat skeptical that they’ll continue to abandon dance beats in favor of acoustically-driven songs, but being that Psychic Powers seem to release singles and EPs with semi-regularity, I’m more than optimistic that they’ll continue to improve with each coming release. Now, that they’ve solved the Atlantic problem in premise, they just need to solve it long enough in practice to amass a tour…8.0/10 and 9.0/10