New songs to listen to this week

Blitzen Trapper- photo by Leslie Simon

Blitzen Trapper- photo by Leslie Simon

New music to listen to this week- the sun is shining, spring has arrived, and I’m really feeling sunny, dreamy songs with the occasional dance beat to get down to. Here are some of my favorite songs that have been released recently that you should check out:

King of Prussia “Your Work is Magic”- uptempo indie tambourine pop out of Athens, Georgia with unexpected and fantastic horns that remind me of a less political King Khan. Available for stream or download here at Stereogum:
http://www.stereogum.com/1673969/king-of-prussia-your-work-is-magic-stereogum-premiere/mp3s/

Yann Tiersen “A Midsummer Evening”- Toy instruments mix with acoustic to create a warped, gorgeous song complete with angelic backing vocals. Psychedelic church.

Medeski, Martin and Wood + Nels Cline “Bonjour Bese”- mixing wild spacey reverb noise with the heavy hitting sounds of MMW is a dream come true. If you don’t like dissonant noise fast forward three minutes (but really you should embrace the noise, it’s beautiful). Exclusively at Esquire here:
http://www.esquire.com/blogs/culture/mmw_nels_cline

Alpha Consumer “Ms Positron”- taking cues from 80’s art rock and adding mega fuzzy guitar riffs and catchy hooks, this Minneapolis group has collaborated with everyone from Andrew Bird to Brother Ali and are releasing their new album April 15th.

Thee Oh Sees “The Lens”- yet another awesome track from the upcoming release. Monty Python-esque psychedelic videos that are done well are always a treat.

Allah-Las “Had It All”- california psych pop with a delicate touch and throwback as hell

Chain and the Gang “Devitalize”- some of my favorite garage rock that doesn’t take itself so seriously. Plus, I’m a sucker for really bratty vocals.

Horse Thief “Little Dust”- psych tinged roots rock from Oklahoma City with theatrical fascinating Cameron Neal’s quirky pretty vocals taking the lead.

Driving Mrs. Satan “Hells Bells”- when I got an email about this band and saw “acoustic heavy metal” I put it on thinking I would get a laugh. Instead, I found they have beautiful arrangements, gorgeous vocals, and I like it better than the original.

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Mystic Braves new single “Born Without a Heart” sounds hot and frenzied.

MysticBraves

When seminal 60’s psych band The Zombies personally wants you to open for their Los Angeles show, you are definitely doing something right. This L.A. five piece are in the more positive and bubbly bright psych vein, and formerly went under the name Blackfeet Braves. They sound like the turbulent excitement of a work free hot summer, with blasts of organ and killer cymbal taps keeping the energy going with bumps and turns like you are crashing in the waves. Frontman Julian Ducatenzeiler has a nasally rock and roll voice that sounds great in echoey lo-fi, sounding like what would happen if Bob Dylan got on the bus with the Merry Pranksters. Listen to their new single over at Filter, the album Desert Island comes out April 29th, and check them out at SXSW this year:

http://filtermagazine.com/index.php/media/entry/listen_mystic_braves_release_born_without_a_heart_off_upcoming_record_filte

For comparison, here is them performing the song live as Blackfeet Braves. I prefer the more reckless approach they have going in the newer version, it sounds more dangerous:

Woods continues to deliver with “Moving to the Left”

Woods

Woods continues to put out perfect songs, this time letting the musical saw and almost theatrical enunciation take the lead. Just a whole bunch of prettiness down to the “ooh ooh ooh’s”. The song has a swagger befitting a walk down a coastal boardwalk wearing nothing but a bathing suit, confidence and a smile. The musical saw wavers in and out like a polite alien abduction of a falsetto hero:

Natural Child release silky smooth “Out in the Country” single today

naturalchild

With influences like J.J. Cale, Canned Heat and Waylon Jennings, Nashville’s Natural Child create a sound that is a cross of classic country, southern soul R&B and psych rock. Today they released my favorite track off their new album, “Out in the Country”, a smooth as silk song layered with gorgeous swirling guitar lines and delicately funky keys. They just announced a tour with the Black Lips after their SXSW performances, listen to the new song below and check out their tour dates for a show near you. Their new album Dancin’ With Wolves comes out Feb. 25th on Burger Records:

Mon. April 14 – Richmond, VA @ The National *
Tue. April 15 – Washington, DC @ Black Cat *
Thu. April 17 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall *
Fri. April 18 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer *
Sat. April 19 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club *
Mon. April 21 – Montreal, QC @ Corona Theatre *
Tue. April 22 – Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Concert Theatre *
Thu. April 24 – Detroit, MI @ Magic Stick *
Fri. April 25 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom *
Sat. April 26 – Chicago, IL @ Logan Square Auditorium *
Sun. April 27 – St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club *
Mon. April 28 – Omaha, NE @ The Waiting Room *
Tue. April 29 – St. Louis, MO @ The Firebird *
Wed. April 30 – Kansas City, MO @ The Riot Room *
Sat. May 3 – New Orleans, LA @ Siberia *

* w/ Black Lips

Woods new single “Leaves Like Glass” has a Bob Dylan feel

woods

As New York’s psych folk rock act Woods‘ sound constantly evolves, it bears to note that it always evolves for the better. The new single “Leaves Like Glass” from their upcoming album With Light and with Love has a perfect, sunshine-y, jangly spring sound that will be perfectly timed with its April 15th release date. Dylan-esque vocal inflections mix with beautiful organ chords and tambourine to create a perfect pop gem that is at once joyful as well as melancholy and bittersweet; the music builds gracefully before reaching a blissful crescendo.

Bands to check out at SXSW p.1

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Since I am a detailed person and a bit of a nut, I enjoy listening to every single band that is being showcased at SXSW before I attend (if you’d like a link to the detailed spreadsheet, follow the blog and I will put up a post when it’s ready close to three weeks prior with calendar). I’ve picked out the best for those that just don’t have the time for this daunting task, and will continue to through the festival, got my flights and vrbo booked, just need new ankle boots. These are my favorite groups out of Group 2 (with Group 1 to come because I accidentally did it backwards).

The Apache Relay- Nashville- Americana folk rock with mano and harp and Edward Sharpeish melodies and singalongs

Black Pistol Fire- Austin- TX rock/garage/blues goodness

Bobby Jealousy- Austin- big, bright happy pop

Brass Bed- Lafayette- reverbed out indie rock

Bully- Nashville- Juliana Hatfield-esque indie rock

Crying Nut- S. Korea- loud, crashing melodic pop punk done right

The Growl- Perth, Australia- sexy garage rock

Hurray for the RiffRaff- New Orleans- gorgeous female vocals, zydeco folk

La Femme- France- plain hot stuff

The Parrots- Spain- garage rock

Quiet Company- Austin- upbeat indie pop

Rey Pila- Mexico City- Scissor Sisters-like disco pop

September Girls- Dublin- grungy but pretty garage pop

So So Glos- Brooklyn- power pop twangy guitar goods

Spires- Brooklyn- jangly psych pop

Streets of Laredo- Brooklyn- fast paced folk rock

Troker- Mexico- funk with some killer organ and horns

Ten bands that jam to check out this year

20140120-225704.jpg pho to by Russ Simon

First off, highly suggest Wings Over the Rockies museum at Lowry Air Base in Denver. Cool stuff, sweet retired military men telling you stories, and some really fun lighting to shoot.

I compiled a list of “jam bands to watch out for in 2014” for the Westword, and it was my best performing article yet. I figured many people were tired of listening to the same old stuff. Do not be deterred by the words jam bands, these are just straight up funky, rocking bands that get a little loose. Their music feel alive:

http://blogs.westword.com/backbeat/2014/01/ten_jam_bands_to_watch_in_2014.php