Archive for category Tropical Pop
Scandinavians do Pop right. Case and point is Norway’s Young Dreams collective, and their titular track, “Young Dreams”. They draw you in with a alt-rock guitar opening, then snap you into place at a beach with hazy heat swirls and crashing waves. I’m especially giddy when the twittering strings are paired with the lead-footed kick drum around the 2:50 mark. If you’re in Europe you can catch the band on tour right now with Sondre Lerche.
Young Dreams is releasing their debut album mid-year 2012 via the promising Modular People label, but expect an EP featuring “Young Dreams” and a few other new songs in April!
On September 19, Fool’s Gold graced Skully’s Music Diner in Columbus on their sixth scheduled stop in support of their new album Leave No Trace. Fool’s Gold is anything but musical pyrite—they’re the real deal. The Los Angeles-based group creates what can only be described as Afropop: an earthy sound that is as vibrant as it is exciting and accessible. Fool’s Gold celebrates blended cultures and traditions, marrying rock, rhythm and blues and the bilingual poetry of both English and Hebrew. Wholly inventive and wildly original, the band’s sound is worth taking the time to find.
Skully’s Music Diner, a neon-and-stainless-steel, retro-designed venue located in Columbus’ Short North arts district, was a perfect place to host this show. Fool’s Gold began the set with their sophomore LP’s title track, which opens with a strong guitar riff followed by a smooth melodic dive into the core of the song. That gave the audience a chance to explore the eccentricity of their sound right off the bat. As the set progressed into “Nadine,” the audience seemed unable to resist the infectious tunes that evolved the performance into a dance party. The band looked as captivated by this feel-good vigor as the show-goers. “Tel Aviv” united the mood of familiarity and reminisces while wrestling between English and Hebrew verses as frontman Luke Top profoundly sang “I think of you, my Tel Aviv.”
The openers were local acts You’re So Bossy — a three piece band with dominating drum beat and soothing vocals — and Maza Blaska, a bouncy indie-folk seven-piece band. The show turned a mundane rainy Monday night into joyous dance party. Good openers, great headliner, fun atmosphere — all of these are winning factors for a great performance.
I’m fairly certain that Glenn Davis was the first Columbus musician I ever introduced myself to as a part of The Wounded Jukebox. It came after Davis and his buddies that comprise the up-and-coming band Way Yes performed in an opening slot for a show that included previous Inside The Jukebox featurees Jookabox. Way Yes’ brand of Afro-Caribbean infused quirkpop caught my ear and won me over in little more than 30 minutes, and so I figured I’d shake his hand. One couldn’t ask for a nicer dude, and it’s been good to see a Columbus-bred band generate a little buzz over the past year or so.
Davis stumbled upon a video of Indianapolis-based band Slothpop not too long ago, and was enamored enough to pick up the phone and put together a few dates with the Hoosier-state fivesome. He and his boys also took the excellent Slothpop track “Magenta” and remixed it quite nicely. You can grab the entire Slothpop album for just $10 on their Bandcamp page. Grab both “Magenta” and the excellent Way Yes remix for free, and please check out one of the shows (dates below).
If you’re not doing anything next weekend, go to all three!
Thursday, August 25th Columbus @ Carabar with Trains Across the Sea
Friday, August 26th Cincinnati @ Motrpub
Saturday, August 27th Indianapolis @ Big Car Gallery with AmoJoy
BONUS!!! Way Yes track “Walkability,” just cause we like it. And you.
I’ve always heard that talking to yourself isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s when you start answering your own self-analytic questions out loud that one should start worrying about their own sanity. That said, Jens Lekman might want to seek professional help. But that might stop him from making thoroughly enjoyable, reggae-infused tropical pop songs like “An Argument With Myself.” If only all of our internal struggles could lead to such fun. The lyrics sound like someone’s inner monologue after a breakup, as Lekman dukes it out with numero uno from start to finish on the title track of his forthcoming EP. An Argument With Myself will be the first new material from Lekman since 2007’s Night Falls Over Kortedla, and I hope all five tracks on the new short-player have this same fun, island-rhythm vibe.
Our knights in blazing tropical shirts are still giving little away to fulfill our imaginations. To date, the guys of Vacationer have exactly one song available to the public. For those who have found the golden tickets, the wonderful “Trip” takes you for a sparkling canopy tour amongst the tropics. But they ARE slowly inching their way into notoriety with grand custom of remixing and therefore being remixed. DOM’s “Jesus” by itself is an adorable track that skips in line with some of the rhythms of soul music from 1940s. Perhaps that’s giving it too much credit; it’s really just a fun song about feeling close to God after taking some really effective drugs.
For their take, Vacationer adds 33 seconds and a huge wallop of a Hawaiian folk tradition. When I was really little, I lived in Hawaii for a couple years, and can still remember some of the outdoor concerts that featured choirs of Hawaiians singing in their native language. It was beautiful and invigorating at the same time, and the touches Vacationer adds to DOM’s “Jesus” creates the same feeling. Download the remixed track below and watch the brand new video Vacationer made for the song!
You can also download the 58 minute Paradise Mix Vacationer made that includes tracks from Star Slinger, The Avalanches as well as some really cool vintage found sound and fun retro music.
Here’s an excellent find from our inbox. Brandon Hoogenboom (Lead Vocal & Guitar), Josh May (Vocals, Drums) and Josiah Willows (Vocals, Violin) are Set Sail; a sunny trio from Sydney, Australia. Their music has an invitation to be carefree wrapped inside of it, and it’s never more apparent than on their lead single; “Home”. The violin frolics, the vocals skip, and the percussion lays a blanket down. Set Sail has a unique way of showcasing themselves, often performing several shows in one day, to crowds of a hundred or more. They just pick up and move to a different park or street or store front. This May, they’re leaving for a world-wide tour to celebrate their Riley Moore EP, performing in a whopping 46 cities in 6 different countries. They’ll even be in New York City on May 9th at 12:00 in a yet named location. So if you’re walking the city streets on a Monday, and you happen to see three guys, standing on milk crates, performing their hearts out, stop and take a moment to listen. It could be Set Sail.
Watch/Download “Home” below!
(The Riley Moore EP will be available 4/26/11)
Lordy lordy, this is a good one. If you’re low on your reserves of Vampire Weekend, and tight on your budget for The Drums and Beach Fossils, you’re just in time to catch the Surf Noir EP from Seattle’s Beat Connection. Once again, the name might leave you wanting, but their songs will take and dump you in multi-colored ball pits of full-faced grins and whole-body laughter. Jordan Koplowitz (music), Reed Juenger (production), vocalist Tom Eddy (vocals), Mark Hunter (bass) and Jarred Katz (drums) offer you an 8 song showcase of the best Summer music you’ll hear this year. “Sunburn” is perfect to keep in your mind when you’re under the water; the instrumental track IS the pier and the dive AND the school of fish swimming by. Immediately after, you’ll be greeted by by seagulls and the sound of water splashing with “In The Water”. The longest track on the short-player is “Theme From Yours Truly”, an extended dance in the sunset. “Silver Screen” and it’s synchronous beat/lyric chorus is the catchiest of them all, cleaning and decorating your brain when it comes to stay. And it all ends with a whisper on “Same Damn Time”. You’ll never understand where the time goes when you listen to Beat Connection. The Surf Noir EP is a rare thing; a vacation for subconscious.
(Surf Noir EP is available as a label re-release 4/12/11 from Moshi Moshi Records)