Posts Tagged ‘Burger Records’

Mozes and the Firstborn

The idea behind Dadcore – embracing rock as a medium in an era when its seen as a stubborn, antiquated, passé artform – is amusing, though I’m not sure that rock has been completely erased from the vital lexicon just yet. There are still plenty of scraped-knee punks, jangle-jilted Aussie youths, and depression channeling post-punks to keep the blood strong these days, though what’s on display here is a more specific strata of the rock canon. The touchpoints that drive the Dutch band’s latest album are decidedly “classic” in nature, pulling from a trove of nostalgia-ready ‘90s and ‘00s indie that, according to the band, should appeal to your pops, granted that, “you” in this case, are around 9-14. Along with veteran indie producer Chris Coady at the helm, the band conceives a self-styled mixtape love note that acts as a Teflon coating against the critique that Dadcore is just a reworking of past tropes. That’s exactly what they’re aiming to do. Thank you quite nicely for noticing.

Granted, since I likely fall in the core demographic for the album, I cannot be unblemished or unbiased. I’m wholly unopposed to the raised specters of Teenage Fanclub, Dino Jr., Fountains of Wayne and Camper Van Beethoven that find their way splattered all over this record. The band weaves the nerd warble of power pop through the narrative like a talisman, and aside from the ghosts of psych-folk, few genres raise a flag around here like power pop. Mozes and the Firstborn are bouncing buoyant choruses off the ionosphere and pulling in transmissions from the core of the college radio era, when CMJ had a stake in the game (RIP) and the alternative banner waved wild and free. There’s a bit of a disrupted flow with the crutch of that mixtape format (each track is separated by a short burst of dialog or interlude that staples it ceremonially to the next) but for the most part their vision is clear. Coady and the boys have created a referentially yet scruffily catchy record that’s truly comfortable in the guise they’ve chosen. MATF are having fun, and that in itself is infectious.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Tomorrow’s Tulips

Hate to say it, because it’s a bit of a lazy critical lob at this point, but the Tulips have sure been boiling down their late-period Velvet Underground to a bouillabaisse while recording their latest cassette. The band has always tipped the scales towards low-strung strummers with narcotic vocals, but Harnessed To Flesh strips away any previous guitar flash for an album that’s more appropriately harnessed to the carpet and shaking off the spins through two sides of spooled haze. There’s an even keel of hungover hum that drives the record with Alex Knost croaking through each song with the indifferent sigh of an art rock solo stint written off by the label as a break-even place holder. That he pulls it off with an air of ineffable grace is to his credit in committing fully to the rough-night sound.

The band are now four albums deep, and while they’ve mutated a bit since that first LP hit back in 2011, for the most part the band has hung close to the lo-fi linger, the post-grunge saunter and the nth wave no-frills strum of garage-pop swagger. They’re not busting their molds here, but there are some moments that beg more than one go-round on the headphones. “Overnight Obsession” is full of morning fog and aimless bliss. “Certain Frantic Quality” – despite having no frantic qualities whatsoever – hangs on a leathered shimmy that’s hard to ignore. Sadly, they tend to get a bit lost in the number ends of their songwriting spectrum more often than not, but when the band hits the right mix of sunglass slumped aloof burnin’ grist its hard not to perk up an ear. At four albums in I’m not betting they’re going to self-edit too much, but good times are notable here for those building out some shaggy playlists of late.






Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Mikah Wilson – “Sunshine Grooves”

Every once in a while and artist comes along that ticks all the boxes on some of my personal musical obsessions. For me, I have a deep love for bubblegum, sunshine psych, power pop and the bittersweet side of the ’60s that somehow leaves you sighing and smiling at the same time. Mikah Wilson has found a way to pack all of those things into one song that’s shimmering like a cloudless afternoon, but also leaves a pang of loneliness hanging in the air. The track echoes traces of collector bait songwriting team Gary Usher (Sagittarius) and Curt Boettcher (The Millennium, The Association) as filtered through the cartoon catchy workings of Rick Springfield during his tenure at Mission: Magic. Throw in a dash of Emmitt Rhodes’ buttery pop soul and I’m all but sold on this song. For fans of this type of glowing sunshine psych, Wilson has resurrected a sound with such precision that this already feels like it could slip right in between the stacks of old singles and fool the most ardent crate digger into thinking they’d stumbled onto a lost gem. I

Despite his label associations with Lollipop and Burger, Wilson works at a much more measured pace than many of his contemporaries, marking this as his third track in just about a year. It follows up on the sorely overlooked cassingle from last April that saw Wilson drop double power pop perfection with “Sweet Jules” b/w “Look At The Way”. Frankly I’m overjoyed for just this little bit added to the catalog, but the single track drop does leave one wanting much more. Though, if the quality of songs continue on this caliber, I’m willing to wait as long as it takes for an album from Wilson. They may be time-shifted works of sugary pop, but this, along with Wilson’s other two tracks are some of the strongest I’ve heard in a long time.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Wyatt Blair – “The Want To Be Wanted”

Wyatt Blair tackled ‘80s excess with a deft scalpel on his last album, finding a way to push Kenny Loggins’ towering tentpole radio hits to a place that was somehow nostalgic and quaint without feeling like he was trying too hard on Karaoke night. Now he’s on the verge of a new album and the first single is taking aim at another sweep of the ‘80s cinematic arm. Instead of guitar anthems that conjure visions of shirtless volleyball, caddy parties and repressed heartland teens, this time he’s taking aim at The Breakfast Club set. The latest single is packaging synthpop heartbreak into the kind of radio fodder that once buoyed Tears For Fears and Simple Minds with some new wave guitar slices that pull from the sheath of Echo & The Bunnymen or Modern English. Needless to say, I stand a bit curious to see if he continues this bent for a full album or if this remains an aberration on his style, but “The Want To Be Wanted” pulls off its trick nicely just the same.


Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

The Blondes – The Blondes

The aughts had its fair share of power pop – from Sloan to Matthew Sweet, Fountains of Wayne to late Apples in Stereo, there was no real shortage of sticky sweet pop that owed a fair amount of debt to the Yellow Pills set and Big Star. Still, the the majority of those bands used the genre as a jumping off point to splash in some ’90s grunge grit and bittersweet songwriting that put them in line with a new indie ethos. For L.A.’s Blondes, the heyday of ’70s power pop, tinged with just the right holdover of glam seemed the golden standard. To be fair, they hit the mark pretty dead on in the end.

Formed as Eagle in 1998, the band claimed members from music and art circles alike, crossing over membership with Eels, Beachwood Sparks and The Lilys. The band also contained indie icon and photographer Autumn De Wilde , who may have had more of a hand in effecting indie rock’s heyday than most of her L.A. compatriots. Of course, on release, the name Eagle drew the attention of classic rocker/general curmudgeon Don Henley and he put the kibosh on that moniker. Hence, they resurfaced as The Blondes.

Their first album was in 2002, following a spot-on cover of Mud’s “Dyna-mite”. By this time, several founding members, including De Wilde had left the group, but the band still captured the flicker-flame perfection of bubblegum-glam and the giddiness of power pop. This retrospective from Burger rounds up most of their key output. There are even some demo versions from the original Eagle lineup included, though sadly, that cover of “Dyna-mite” remains lost from the spools on this one. Burger and HoZac have gone to lengths lately to dig up the corners of all that’s necessary in punk, glam and power pop and this is an essential entry to the canon. A little sad this one’s ended up just on tape, but maybe if we all wish real hard the Burger Bros will press it down to a fitting vinyl tribute.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Easy Love

Easy Love is the solo project of Summer Twins’ Justine Brown. She’s crafted an ode to lost love and smeary-eyed breakups, channeling her remorse and longing into her best material yet. Like her work in Twins, Easy Love’s eponymous album flutters into shades of ’60s pop (via the late ’90s obsession with the decade) for its inspiration. However, Easy Love seems to synthesize those influences rather than keeping them sleeve deep as her previous outlet often tend to. She’s solo, but not necessarily on her own here, with sister Chelsea (also of Summer Twins), Natalie Burris, and Dave Jauregui rounding out the lineup for a full sound that’s working towards the aloof maturity of Jenny Lewis’ country-tinged crooning or a more actualized version of La Sera.

There’s been an outpouring of crunchy pop with streaks of sun in its hair over the last decade or so, but Brown doesn’t lean on any of her culture crutches too hard, making for a hazily sweet mixture. Oh sure odes to love and loss are a literal dime a dozen, but heartbreak’s the universal binder and being able to let listeners into your heart with a hook is still commendable. Its a lovely record that’s distinctly Californian, but without printing up t-shirts to shout about it like Best Coast. Its an indie pop record in every sense, but without donning the twee accoutrements of She & Him. Easy Love is Brown’s heart wrapped and ready to be put back together by anyone with a half hour to spare and a shoulder to lean on.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Easy Love – “I’ll Be Fine”

New one here from Easy Love, the solo project from Justine Brown of Summer Twins. The song doesn’t stray too far from the Twins’ breezy ’60s pop overtones and general swooning appeal, but with a thickened sound and a grind of fuzz guitar backing her up, Brown’s new venture is hitting ticking all the right boxes around here. The song is drenched in longing, an ode to lost souls everywhere finding their way back to solid footing. The track is off of her upcoming album on Lollipop / Burger, which seems like a fitting home for her, given an already rosy track record with Burger. The track is probably one of the best I’ve heard out of Summer Twins or Brown’s previous solo work and it begs some attention when the full album drops in Feb.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Mozes and the Firstborn

Tightening up their focus from their eponymous debut, Dutch band Mozes and the Firstborn mine a wealth of alternative rock and ’90s/’00s power pop on Great Pile of Nothing. Produced by the band’s drummer, Raven Aartsen, they’ve nailed the hi-fi hum and grunge flecks that dominated the airwaves, teen movies and mall speakers in the ’90s, but they’ve taken the lyrics on a more introspective bent this time around. In that respect they take a nice chunk from the Fountains of Wayne/Matthew Sweet camp. Its a sweet and frothy album on surface inspection but its crawling with anxiety, depression and self-doubt under the skin. The band knows that a song depicting the housebound lifestyle of an obsessive-compulsive goes down sweeter with a chunky guitar riff, that a tale of cringing self-sabotage needs a hundred foot hook and that there’s nothing wrong with embracing the bittersweet.

The production and songwriting are certainly more consistent on Great Pile of Nothing, its more about building an album through subtleties, which means there seem to be a few less obvious standout earworms this time around aside from the kicker of a title track. But while they often fall into a flatter tone, they buoy the album back with the winsome emotion and enough pop shading to make this one the kind of comedown album that’s welcome on the right kind of rainy day. Great Pile of Nothing winds up less of a world shaker than a friend to lean on, its introspective nature shifts it more towards a comforting blanket adorned in brightly colored patterns. But that’s no slight, there’s a market for comfort. Everyone needs a bit of sympathy these days.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Wyatt Blair – “Monday Morning Mess”

The sad demise of Pop Zeus’ Mikey Hodges left the fate of his collaborative LP with Wyatt Blair in permanent stasis, and the fate of Blair himself open ended in the wake of his friends passing. True to form though, Wyatt has picked up the pair’s indomitable vibe and parlayed it into a solo record that has the same lust for power pop as screened through the 80’s dayglo sheen of MTV, nervy new wave excess and an untitled buddy comedy starring John Cusack and Corey Feldman that only exists in my head. Lead off single is chowing down Eddy Money mania while channeling a version of The Kings enamored with The Cars’ syth sound. There’s never a glut of power pop but Blair sends those chills of excitement down your spine, getting it just right along with other crunch pop heroes of today like Barreracudas and Warm Soda. Pair it all up with a grainy video that feeds on the best of the the video vault cliche’s and its hard not to crack a smile for Blair’s double slice of fun. The album’s on the way in August and that’s just in time to crank it for some Summer sendoffs.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE

0 Comments

Mozes & The Firstborn – “Great Pile of Nothing”

So it would seem that the EP that Mozes & The Firstborn released earlier in the year was a tease and taste of a new album on the way. The first eke out of that long player arrives with “Great Pile of Nothing,” as clean and sincere a slice of power pop that ever graced these shores. Somewhere out in the world a shudder just ran down Matthew Sweet’s spine because he knows there’s a challenger on the horizon. The track hearkens back to the best of the mid 90’s and early aughts indie pop w/ a budget and I for one, couldn’t be happier to return to the big, crisp sound of guitars blowing stacks over sugar sweet odes to love and loss and creeping inadequacy. Bring back well-funded slacker pop. Do it already! The album, also titled Great Pile of Nothing, hits in September so mark your calendars, and in the mean time this nugget should be duly dubbed to cassette and popped into the deck of your beat to gears Tercel to blast at stoplights all summer long.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments