Dropbox Notes Update May 6, 2014

I am picking up these notes for this month’s dropbox offerings where I left off a couple of weeks ago, because some things should just not be glossed over by just a list. There are some things in the drop box which everyone should give a spin but because of the name of the band or some other nuance they could be skipped in a casual pass. Every month I try to provide a wide variety of goodies, so you should find at least one thing worthy of your collection and perhaps a few others you can sample before giving up some disc space permanently.

Of note, I have not provided the usual links to videos as I’m having a little difficulty with wordpress’ linking after pasting from word. I have no idea why it sometimes sticks wiping out the links when it updates, but when I have time I’ll fight with the program and update some of the notes with links. I hope you like the videos as much as I do.

So, with all that said, I now give you the dropbox notes update with both economy and brevity ……

Coathangers - Suck My ShirtAtlanta garage rockers, The Coathangers on their fourth long player Suck My Shirt have found the sweet spot in the garage pop genre. Evidencing great progress as a band Suck My Shirt is a well produced, crisply recorded, sonically pleasant album chock full of carefully crafted garage pop nuggets. The Coathanger’s sound is a balance of the Pandoras and early Go-Gos which makes for for a fun filled trip. I will note, that for a band who could not actually play their instruments when they started in 2006 and were critically lauded as a novelty (female bands are still a novelty) the playing on Suck My Shirt is accomplished – the playing is tight and the hard work and touring shows on terrific songs like “Drive” which is an essential power pop song appended to the garage rock found on this record. Try “Drive”, “Zombie,” and “Shut Up.”
Future Islands - SinglesIf you were paying any attention to Coachella this year, you might have seen Future Island’s set – an awkwardly powerful blend of synth laden indie-pop juxtaposed with the gravelly tones of front man Samuel T. Herring. As a live act, the dissonance between the visual and the aural is captivating. Visually Future Island‘s set is about the blandest you will ever see by the other band members, except for Sam’s awkward dancing. But for all of the things that visually work against Future Islands, the music is soaring, powerful, and emotional and for that reason alone, this record will end up near the top of my best of year lists. Singles is not even remotely a punk rock record. Rather, Future Islands on Singles is best described as an up-tempo Kraftwerk record with a non-robot vocalist whose passionate delivery transforms the sterile background into a warm rainbow of sonic colors. Singles is also an apt name for this album – four albums into a career with a relentless touring schedule in mostly small clubs, and all that work has paid off with a complete dominance of their craft laid out on an album where all of the songs are potentially singles (in a universe where these legitimately exist). Try “Sun In The Morning,” “Seasons (Waiting On You),” and “Fall From Grace.”
Slint - SpiderlandEasily the best reissue to come out this year, Spiderland is a reissue from a band most people are likely never to have ever heard. Louisville’s Slint produced an album in 1991 that was light years ahead of the proverbial post punk curve. Spiderland was Slint’s second and final album and although only containing 6 songs the album has resonated in the punk underground for these past 25 years with sales actually increasing every year since it was released. This reissue box is selling as of this writing for $561.00 on eBay as an auction. Spiderland was a rush recorded lo-fi affair with the spoken word-sing lyrics rush written during the weekend long recording process. When you hear the opener – “Breadcrumb Trail” you will realize that you’ve heard this slowcore approach from multiple bands whom incorporated the Slint sound much later. When I purchased Spiderland (when it was first released in 1991), initially, I was struck by the stark and compelling contrast to everything else I owned at the time. Truly, this is the slowest hardcore record you will likely ever experience – and that is the point – this record confronts you with a listening experience from the leftfield of punk rock – there is anger and aggression but it is not created by tempo. Rather the power in the songs is from the cutting guitar by David Pajo (who copped the prominent guitar feel from the Minutemen’s D. Boon) that works well with a foundation created by a very tight band anchored by drummer Britt Walford – laying hypnotic grooves over which Brian McMahan‘s monologues are laden. The 23rd-anniversary box-set reissue of Spiderland, remastered by Shellac’s Bob Weston, contains 14 previously unreleased outtakes, a 104-page photographic history of the band (with a foreword from Palace Brothers Will Oldham), and a brilliant documentary, Breadcrumb Trail which explores the myth and mythology of Slint. I watched the movie after getting the box and all I can say is wow – the movie sheds new light on the band, and primarily Britt and Brian. I won’t spoil the ending, but it is well worth the look. Since, I cannot possible do this record as much justice as Pitchfork’s outstanding review, check it out here. Then try” Breadcrumb Trail,” “Good Morning Captain,” and “Nosferatu Man.”

Walking Shapes - Taka Come OnNew York’s Walking Shapes debut album, Taka Come On, is in reality their second effort – as their first was a mixtape that made the rounds over the past two years. For a band from New York they have not so much adopted the sound as found a way to incorporate the indie influences into an amalgam of flavors highlighted by the simple melodies and complicated harmonies. There is also an almost overwhelming amount of sonic add-ins and instrumentation from the band throughout the record. These disparate elements contribute to the infectious off-kilter indie pop sprinkled throughout the record. The genre skipping is also admirable with everything from indie dance to American inflected folk-core found on Taka Come On – the tempo changes are refreshing and worth the repeated listen. “Try “Milo’s Shell,” “Find Me,” and “Let It Will.”

Neon Trees - Pop PsychologyIt is difficult to not like Neon Trees, a band whose earnest and catchy commercial pop is likely to be with us for a while. Like No Doubt, once radio finds something safe to play – it will play the shxx out of it. So, why is Pop Psychology in the dropbox? Because it is difficult to pass up the feel good moments on this record. This is what pop music should sound and feel like. Although the survey of love and romance in the digital age is a little weary, the melodies are not. Tyler Glenn’s a likeable enough front man and it is easy to ignore the designed melodies enough to enjoy the record. This is what disco-pop should sound like, so have some fun. Like Frankie said…relax. Try “Sleeping With A Friend,” “I Love You (But I Hate Your Friends)” and “American Zero.”

Strypes - 4 Track MindIrish Rockers and avid Beatles enthusiasts the Strypes are back with a gap offering entitled 4 Track Mind as we await the follow up to their excellent 2013 debut, Snapshot which reached Number 4 in the U.K charts. Mod influenced rock and roll – straight forward – like a pure rock version of the Arctic Monkeys, the four songs show greater power and dynamics than on the debut, so their UK tour should wind up with them taking some main stages at the summer festivals in Europe. Try, them all.

Swans - To Be KindThe Swan’s thirteenth record To Be Kind is out May 12th so for those of you who are awaiting eagerly, the wait is definitely worth it. As the follow-up to 2012’s outstanding return to form, The Seer, the double length To Be Kind picks up the thread from that album and carefully balances the best of prior records into a psychedelic masterpiece filled with classical components, the Swan’s compelling noise experiments, and the dark undercurrent of American Goth highlighted by the epic sprawl of the 34 minute centerpiece “Bring the Sun / Toussaint l’Ouverture.” There are elements of Tangerine Dream that some will think are Pink Floyd but upon examination there is nothing in the Floyd pantheon that remotely hints at the power of this work. This is not a traditional rock record by any means and there are not going to be any hit singles. However, I dare you to sit in a dark room and listen to this record alone. The sensations frankly raised goose bumps on my arms as I was compelled to confront the music head on. This is a stunning record on all accounts. Try “Bring the Sun / Toussaint l’Ouverture,” “Oxygen,” and the single, all 7:08 of it, “A Little God in My Hands.”

Desert Noises - 27 WaysUtah’s Desert Noises traverses some pretty familiar territory – a blend of Band Of Horses and power pop which on 27 Ways is played out in the form of a straightforward dynamic rock record. Sure there is some AOR feeling to some of this, but on the bar band test, they pass with flying colors. From the rocking opener “Grandma Looks” the album plays out like a rock show. There is no mystery to the deceptively simple approach taken by Desert Noises – play well written songs with emotion and keep pounding forward. I’ve seen shows like this and enjoyed them all because the band is enjoying what they are doing and on 27 Ways you can tell this is the sound of a band having some fun. There is smashing and bashing going on all carried by the pleasant vocals of Kyle Henderson. Except for the Mumford fake folk beginning of “Mice in the Kitchen,” the album is filled with rock songs, so enjoy the ride. Try “Run Through the Woods,” “Out of My Head,” and the Blue Cheer flavored “Keys On the Table.”

Sultan Bathery – Sultan BatheryThere is no way that anyone would willingly pick up an album by Sultan Bathery on name alone. However, by taking a look at the cover of this self-titled debut, you can ferret out what this might sound like. If you guessed psychedelic you are only partially correct. This is a slab of garage-psch played with a fervor – so much that if you dance along you will collapse from exhaustion. Lie the mighty Thee Oh Sees, Sultan Bathery occupies the same sonic space. Hailing from Italy, these guys have incorporated the entire Seeds, Sonics, and Nuggets catalogs into their very being and through transmogrification have spit out this raging reverb and fuzzbox filled hypnotic seizure inducing work. Thoroughly enjoyable. Try “Mirror,” “Spring Of Youth,” and “On The Run.”

Dexters – Shimmer GoldDebut from London’s Dexters, Shimmer Gold, hints at the Stone Roses but after a few listens you find that there is something more happening with the Dexters having incorporated some of the Foster The People and Neon Trees ethos into their sonically pleasing wall of sound. Lead track “Cloudfest” hits all the right notes, so will find airplay in Britain which has a thing for good music. Here in the U.S. Shimmer Gold will die without ever being found. Too bad, because the album is bursting with energy and although lyrically there is much to be desired, the album is interesting throughout. Perhaps it’s the lure of bands that sound like the Courteneers, but I thoroughly enjoyed the outing and through repeated listens discovered there is much more to this record than first appears on the surface. Try “Cloudfest,” “Recover,” and “Shimmer Gold.”

Mr. Little Jeans - PocketknifeNordic singer Monica Birkenes who produces a unique blend of electro-pop under the name Mr Little Jeans was an internet sensation after covering Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs,” and as a byproduct, her debut, entitled Pocketknife which also contains the cover, is a pleasantly varied effort which captures the beauty of Birkenes’ soft vocal approach. Pocketknife, as imagined by Birkenes, paints electo-pop with provocative nuances. Reminiscent of both Phantogram and Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) this is a solid debut album marked with some brilliant songs. Try “Mercy,” “Runaway,” and the amazing “Oh Sailor (feat. The Silverlake Conservatory of Music Youth Chorale).”

Reptile Youth – Rivers That Run For A Sea That Is GoneI guess if the synthesizer is modern rocks most popular tool, then it is likely there are several albums full of the tool that will eventually make the dropbox. This month, there are several that are worthy. Copenhagen Denmark’s Reptile Youth has produced a post-punk record with synthesizer laden undertones that really is a “new wave” record updated for modern radio. Rivers That Run For A Sea That Is Gone is filled with catchy melodies that are at the forefront and given the driving and somewhat hypnotic synth-bed these are instantly memorable. There is guitar on the record, but its role is to produce highlights, not be the center, and surprising, at least to me, was that it all works. Try “Structures,” “Colours,” and the disco floor burner (and oddball track “Two Hearts.”

My Sad Captains - Best Of TimesThird synth inflected record of the month, and third album from My Sad Captains, The Best Of Times is the darkest of the three, but also the most atmospheric and sonically expansive. It is not an immediate record, and for the first couple of spins, I had it playing in the background, and the record had ended without me recalling having it being played. However, on a Friday afternoon, at 5:05 p.m. I became enthralled with the song “Wide Open” from its piano intro and sparse arrangement and from that moment I was trapped – focused on listening to what would come next as the song rhythmically built – full of dynamic shapes – before the haunting vocals filtered through the repetitive notes. Fascinating. “I wonder why you feel the need to talk so loud like their isn’t anybody else around. …” Ed Wallis’ soft spoken vocal approach fits with the atmospheric base of this record and forces you to concentrate to discover the beauty underlying this collection. Try “Wide Open,” “Familiar Ghosts,” and the acoustic “All In Your Mind.”

Stagecoach - Say Hi To The BandHow I Missed Dorking, Surrey band Stagecoach‘s album last year is beyond me. Starting as a two piece country band in 2003, the band has evolved into an alt-rock juggernaut with the addition of new players, such that on Say Hi To The Band, it is clear that they were poised for massive appeal…until they $#^# broke up. Released in 2013, the album Say Hi To The Band is a debut – 10 years in the making that is full of catchy sing-a-longs that are up-beat and clearly designed to receive airplay. And you know the story…the band announced their split on September 12, 2013 and played their final show to a sold out crowd at The Brixton Windmill on December 21, 2013. #$@%#@%. Hopefully, those of you with dropbox appeal, will spread the word, because this is a great record. Try “Work! Work! Work!,” “Action,” and “We Got Tasers.”

Soft White Sixties – Get RightAnother band taking a few years to release their debut, is San Francisco’s Soft White Sixties who formed in 2009 but after constant touring and an appearance at SXSW seem to have found the groove – their soul groove on this 60’s R&B influenced soft fuzz adorned classic rock record. The songs have a traditional feel but the album is a masterwork of production with a full dynamic sound that makes the slow ones such as the beautiful “Roll Away,” transporting as the vocals fill the room. Soft White Sixties would be a great band to see live, and if they can keep up with the Hives, for whom they recently opened a show, they can’t be half bad. Try “Lemon Squeezer,” “Rubber Band,” and “I Ain’t Your Mother.”

Speedy Ortiz – Real HairNorthampton, Massachusetts indie rock stars Speedy Ortiz follow up their amazing debut from last year, Major Arcana, with an EP entitled Real Hair. According to the label, Carpark:
Their debut album Major Arcana, named Best New Music by Pitchfork, saw the evolution of Speedy Ortiz from a lo-fi project into a wholly collaborative effort, marked by Darl Ferm’s thick bass lines, drummer Mike Falcone’s boisterous fills, and the counterbalance between guitarist Matt Robidoux’s anti-melodic playing and frontwoman Sadie Dupuis’s angular riffing. The end result is a band able to distill their influences and impulses into something at once dissonant and melodic.
For their upcoming Real Hair EP, Speedy Ortiz has teamed up with Paul Q. Kolderie once again, resulting in a collection brushed with effected guitars and pop-conscious vocals. Here Dupuis attempts to untangle concerns about misrepresentation of identity in four songs delivered with the band’s signature abrasive clarity. The band will support the EP on the road into 2014 with a January southeastern string of All-Ages shows with Boston friends Grass is Green, their first European tour in February, and supporting slots with the Breeders and Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks.

Which is where Speedy Ortiz neatly fit – somewhere in the middle of the Breeders and Pixies and Stephen Malkmus) So, for me it’s the fact that they have expanded their Pixies influences to add the J. Mascis Dinosaur Jr. guitar musings, and all of this is heightened by Sadie Dupuis’ high pitched spoken-singing. Try “American Horror,” “Everything’s Bigger,” and “Shine Theory.”

Amen Dunes – LoveBrooklyn New York’s Damon McMahon’s Amen Dunes project has taken some twists over a span of three prior records, but on Love, his forth to be released May 12, he has found his inner Kurt Vile producing a record which is strikingly cohesive despite contributions from Iceage singer-guitarist Elias Bender Ronnenfelt (guest vocals on two tracks), avant-garde saxophonist and Bon Iver member Colin Stetson, and Dave Bryant and Efrim Manuck from Godspeed You! Black Emperor. The main difference from previous outings is a feeling change. There is noticeably less of a &&$-you feel on Love. Heck, you might want to say that this is a positive record. For example, on “Lonely Richard” he decrees “[h]ave yourself a good time” Sonically, this is a lo-fi garage folk record with less reverb than past releases. Really, a major step forward with some interesting ideas about music. Try “Lonely Richard,” “Rocket Flare,” and “White Child.”

Cloud Nothings – Here and Nowhere ElseLots of fourth albums in the dropbox this month, with the latest from Cleveland punk rockers Cloud Nothings who on Here and Nowhere Else continue their pummeling assault on the listener with driving and pulsing punk rock well-crafted and melodic. This is a blast from start to finish, although to be fair, the record does not traverse a varied palette, it still plays remarkably well from the cheap seats. Punk rock as you might recall is a dying art form. Cloud Nothings gives me hope that there may be punk rock 10 years from now with the Menzingers and Cloud Nothings carrying the torch. Cloud Nothings, which started as a bedroom project of Dylan Baldi, were going to have a challenge to follow up the critical acclaim of Attack on Memory which also ended up in Tales From The Dropbox Best of 2012.  Here And Nowhere Else while not quite on the same level as Attack on Memory is a worthy record for dropbox inclusion. So there you have it. Try “Psychic Trauma,” “Quieter Today,” and “I’m Not Part of Me.”

Farewell Flight – I Was A GhostPennsylvania bred and transferred to Nashville, Farewell Flight’s debut record, I Was A Ghost, should fit nicely in the One Tree Hill music collection, with its snappy guitar driven synth-rock full of catchy choruses. This is essentially a new band and a new sound – much less punk rock and much more melodic. In many ways, this is a conventional indie rock record with synthesizer tinged dance rock parts that are commercial radio readymade. Not too deep a listen, but thoroughly enjoyable. Kind of reminded me of the Capital Cities record. Likely won’t end up on your playlist for a long time, but is good for thirty or 40 spins, eh? Think 90’s alt rock with synthesizer flourishes. There is one standout track – the excellent title track “I Was A Ghost.” This is a solid record throughout. Try “I Was A Ghost,” “Scarecrow,” and “Teenager.”

Habibi – HabibiI know you are going to find it hard to believe, with a name like Habibi, that this album one of the best things I listened to this month. This Brooklyn four piece plays on their self-titled album a mash up of garage inflected pop post-punk incorporating the best of the 60’s girl groups with some surf punk edges that is so catchy – it is hard not to play the album repeatedly to the exclusion of everything else. Singer Rahill Jamalifard plays it straight throughout delivering the phrases with her frantic cool vibe that heads for your sweet tooth and keeps your toes tapping. Give this a spin – well worth the time. Try “Far From Right,” the Motown-ish “Detroit Baby,” and “Let Me In.”

Dirty Guvnahs – Hearts On FireHard to go wrong if you hail from Knoxville TN and you play a mixture of alt-country and rock and have songs that have big melodies. In many ways, Dirty Guv’nahs remind me of the Bodeans, – a seriously underrated band who were great live, had terrific songs and never quite found a slot in a commercial world. On their fourth record, Hearts on FireDirty Guv’nahs play it “breezy” with a smooth record that removes the grit from previous endeavors. I would have liked to see a little more rawness in the production as this record has a somewhat sterile 70’s a.m radio feel. A good example  is found on the track entitled “Lyin” which introduces some very white soul to the mix, but as it is so polished, it loses a little life. Will definitely play well on radio. Still a regional act, this record is a good effort which should make their next crowd-funded release a success, if they remember to leave the “soul” on the record. Still, dropbox worthy. Try “Lyin,” “Where We Stand,” and “Under Control.”

Elder Brother – Heavy HeadElder Brother is the new indie-rock project from Kevin Geyer (The Story So Far) and Dan Rose (Daybreaker) with help from Matthew and Charles Vincent (The American Scene). Heavy Head is divergent from the path taken by their earlier bands which was pop-punk. Heavy Head is a pretty amazing debut, in part, because it shows an already mature band with excellent songwriting skill in Geyer and vocalist Rose, who produce lyrically compelling songs with catchy melodies. That’s it. The formula works well and this album has some solid highlights. This is a record I listened to while reading with the headphones on, and found myself taken away from my book to just enjoy the playing and mood created on Heavy Head. Try “Throw Me to the Wolves,” “Lightning Bug,” and “Sunday Mornings.”

Mounties – Thrash Rock LegacyBeing originally from Canada, it would be an easy guess if you thought I was going to put a record by a band called the Mounties into the dropbox. You are correct of course, but this one also happens to be very good. Although its being sold as an “indie-rock supergroup” the band consisting of Hawksley Workman (who plays drums on this record), Hot Hot Heat‘s Steve Bays and Limblifter‘s Ryan Dahle handle the synthesizer joke rock on Thrash Rock Legacy capably and with each sharing vocal duties it makes for a pretty cool record. From opener “Pretty Respectable,” the record bounces around with off-kilter lyrics and playing making for a very interesting listening experience. Are they playing the #$^^ out of the song “Headphones” in Canada? I’ll bet they are. “I’ve got my headphones on every day of my life gonna wear ‘em until I’m dead.” $%&7 I’ve got the song stuck in my head. This should be big. Here’s hoping it is, because I’d like to hear a second album. Think Weezer-Hot Hot. Try “Headphone,” “If This Dance Catches On,” and the weird tribute to “Hall & Oates.”

Withered Hand – New GodsDan Wilson, aka Withered Hand, is a singer-songwriter who writes about relationships and has the uncanny ability to write the affectionate jangle pop best represented by Chris Stamey and Teenage Fanclub with Big Star flourishes. On New Gods, the follow up to his also outstanding debut, 2009’s Good News, Wilson contains the influences and produces an album of sunny lo-fi pop songs with bright guitars and darker meanings. Repeated listens hint at more influences from the 90’s alt-rock scene including early R.E.M., Don Dixon, and Marti Jones all sung with Wilson’s Stamey-like vocals. This one has popped up repeatedly in the playlist, because IT IS GOOD. Try “Black Tambourine,” “King Of Hollywood,” and “Heart Heart.”

Sweet Apple – The Golden Age of GlitterIf you thought the Mounties were a supergroup – they have nothing on Sweet Apple. And like the Mounties record, I played it without even realizing who was in the band, and was surprised because the results are a departure for the key member and not so much for the others. Sweet Apple is the side project of Dinosaur Jr.’s J. Mascis and on the aptly titled Golden Age of Glitter, includes Dave Sweetapple (Witch, Fog), Tim Parnin (Cobra Verde) and John Petkovic (Cobra Verde, Death of Samantha) with special guest vocalists Robert Pollard (GBV) and Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees). This is flat out a 70’s muscle rock record with some power pop leanings. There are places that are reminiscent of the Byrds, early Creedence, some Stones work, and a little T.Rex but overall, the album is characteristically a 70’s rock album with some great vocal work. Try “Boys in Her Fanclub,” “Reunion,” and “We Are Ruins.”

A couple of Record Store Day 2014 exclusive releases hit the dropbox this month (if you take a glance at eBay, these records are going for beaucoup bucks, so listen here first, eh?):

Tame Impala – Live VersionsFirst up, are Australian psychedelic rockers, Tame Impala with 9 tracks of Live Versions recorded from a 2013 show in Chicago. I love Tame Impala and these live versions are some trippy $%$%$ arrangements of some great songs. I would love to see them live. Perhaps I might, some day. Anyway, these are not note for note recreations of the originals, rather they are impressions of the originals, played with zeal and give a glimpse of the live experience. An excellent bootleg. If you’ve followed the band for a while, these are mostly the “hits”, whatever that means. Try “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards,” “Be Above It,” and “Mind Mischief.”

Green Day – DemoliciousSimilarly, Green Day, whose recent work is a bit sketchy, has put together a pretty decent album of 18 demos recorded at Jingletown Studios in Oakland, CA, in 2012 during the sessions for the band’s ¡Uno!,  ¡Dos!,  ¡Tré! album trilogy. In addition to the 18 demos, Demolicious includes a previously unreleased track, “State of Shock,” and an acoustic version of “Stay The Night” from ¡Uno!. Of interest to dropbox listeners is that these demos are in many cases better than the versions that appeared on the albums – perhaps it is the looseness of the band in demo mode, or the fact that these have the flubs and rawness that was squeezed out of the final production. Anyway, this is the best collection of songs since Warning came out for me. As a standalone, I enjoyed listening to this more than the three other albums which were a patchwork of good and bad. I sense that the songs you enjoyed on the trilogy albums are mostly found in this collection. Try “Stay the Night,” “State of Shock,” and “Stray Heart.”

Thee Oh Sees – DropAfter an apparently short hiatus (band speak for we are not going to put out any more records) the venerable garage-psych rockers, Thee Oh Sees are back, with Drop, their latest (and 13th) slab of awesomeness. John Dwyer has been playing with his other mostly lo-fi project the Coachwhips, but for this album, he has adjusted the lineup to include Mikal Cronin (another dropbox favorite) and drummer Chris Woodhouse. Unlike the amazing last record 2013’s Floating Coffin, this records roots are earlier 60’s garage rock. I numerous places Thee current version of Thee Oh Sees sprinkles some a.m. radio dust on the proceedings, particularly on title track “Drop” which has some great guitar work and a traditional song structure must like Mitch Easter’s 90’s work – and unlike most of the tracks on the album. Another solid album to add to the collection. Try “Savage Victory,” “Drop,” and the very Beatles Sgt. Peppers sounding “The Lens.”

TBaseballs – Game Dayhe Baseballs are a German rock and roll band that have figured out how to modernize a sound born out of early 50’s rock n’ roll. The Baseballs are composed of three vocalists: Sam, Digger, and Basti; with a traditional backup band consisting of Lars Vegas (guitar), Klaas Wendling (upright bass), Jan Miserre (piano), and Tomas Svensson (drums).Think Sha Na Na for the hipster set. Rockabilly and Elvis influences pervade this collection which in small doses makes for a pretty fun time. For the first time ever, I enjoyed that “Royals” song by Lorde, when performed by the Baseballs it is transformed into something else entirely. Game Day is not reinventing the genre, rather just trying to keep it interesting. This is an oddball for the dropbox, but I liked it. Try to spot the originals from the covers. Try “My Baby Left Me For A DJ,” “#Flashback,” and “On My Way.”

Band of Skulls – HimalayanOn their third and latest release, Himalayan, Southampton trio Band of Skulls vary the efforts of their prior indie rock outings, by expanding their oeuvre – the guitars on the slow burners shimmer and the space between notes is longer – all part of a plan to take their brand of blues inflected metal to more popular places. Himalayan adds a layer of desert rock a la Queens of the Stoneage to the proceedings, and in so doing, expands the sonic territory of their carefully crafted balance of blues rock and metal. There are some glam highlights on Himalayan, such as the T. Rex sounding tracks “Asleep At The Wheel” and “Hoochie Coochie” as well as some straight out rockers such as “I Feel Like Ten Men, Nine Dead and One Dying.” (Steve Miller Band sound-a-like!) Definitely ready for the next big thing. Try “Asleep At The Wheel,” “Hoochie Coochie,” and “Get Yourself Together.”

Secret Colours – Positive DistractionsFinally, Chicago psych-rockers Secret Colours (Canadian spelling!) have released two EP’s this year which finds the sweet spot between Tame Impala and Ty Segal, two drop box favorites and does so by adding some 60’s British beat influences, primarily the Kinks ( love the melotron) to their sound producing a blend of guitar goodness that best represents the overall sound of this record. Even the band no less self describes their sound as “bastard seed of ‘60s psychedelia and ‘90s Britpop.” As you might have noticed over the past year or so, there is truly a British Invasion at least sound wise as bands wholesale incorporate British psychedelia into their sound. The effort pays off for Secret Colours as this album is the perfect sonic experience with some Stone Roses moments throughout. The dropbox contains both EPs fused together. Try “Into You,” “It Can’t Be Simple,” and “Rotten Summer.”

I should have a new batch of tunes and reviews for you next week…so stay tuned. And of course, until next time…let’s be safe out there.

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