Posts Tagged ‘Lollipop Records’

Mystic Braves – “The Great Unknown”

Mystic Braves continue to sate with the singles slung from their new LP. Sweetening the pot, they give their latest track, “The Great Unknown,” a superb stop-motion video via animators Andrew Pitrone & Ignacio Gonzalez. The clip pairs well with the kaleidoscope cool of their jangle-pop throwback. Everything about the record wafts in on a California vibe of permanent summer with responsibilities left hangin’. Should be a good companion to the warmer months ahead. Check the video above.

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Wyatt Blair

Wyatt Blair sneaks out his second low-key release of 2018 with the decidedly sunny blast of power pop, Inspirational Strawberries. The album shrugs off pretty much all of the 80’s vibes that permeated his last couple of releases, making a pretty spectacular about face on the melancholy New Wave of March’s Smoke & Mirrors. The album reinvests in a more classic brand of power pop, chucking the neon out the window in favor of mod-pressed visions of jangle-pop that range from the ‘70s strut of Raspberries to the psychedelic swirl of The 3 O’Clock. While it doesn’t have the kitsch factor and AquaNet smirk that drove his high watermark Point of No Return, for power pop fans there’s plenty to hold onto here.

The hooks are about a mile wide and trussed up in the sunniest hues of the bubblegum brigade. There’s a definite feeling that Blair has been soaking his solace in the works of The Archies, Rick Springfield (circa Mission: Magic) and The Lemon Pipers with total sincerity. The ‘60s flame burns brightest on “(Stuck In A) Daydream” and “It’s Yesterday,” but there’s a general veneer of catchall Saturday Morning strummer inclusiveness adhered to the record, recalling whole hosts of Don Kirshner productions from the era. Blair’s always had a knack for pop, and he tends to serve the cult of listeners who don’t mind retreading a little old ground in search of those perfect pop swoons. So, while this might not be for every indie-pop tart out there, its manna to the sunshine searchers just looking for one more go ‘round through the best moments of 60s sparkle.

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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.


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Ecstatic Union – “Illuminator”

L.A. psych rockers Ecstatic Union slipped a solid release out on Lollipop recently and their single “Illuminator” encapsulates the feel good summer vibes that soak the entire record. Huge pop hooks are doused in the kind of glowing ’60s pop that permeated the Elephant Six catalog, taken even bigger by graduates like Beulah and The Sunshine Fix. The video has fun with a rapscallion beach rat character that brings a smile to any viewer. The rest of the record is worth a run as well. Get down with some sunshine vibes before they’re all gone.



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Mikah Wilson – “Cassingle”

L.A. songwriter Mikah Wilson indulges in a brand of earnest ’70s pop that’s not removed from some prevailing winds (see Tennis, Weyes Blood, The Lemon Twigs, Tobias Jesso Jr.) but while he’s captured the crystal shimmer in the production, he’s also found a breezy simplicity that pushes him further from the Harry Nilson / Randy Newman / Joni Mitchell crossroads of ’70s FM. Perhaps that’s why the label is selling this as power pop and while there’s certainly a plainspoken appeal that hearkens to Big Star or Shake Some Action-era Flaming Groovies, it’s not saddled with the same lusty ambitions or tough/tender tension that either of those embody.

Instead Wilson is working from a sunshine soul that creeps into ’70s mainstream pop rock. Taking early Rick Springfield (talkin’ Mission Magic years here) on a lovelorn wander through the transistor wires, Wilson has created a vision of honest pop that’s echoing The Raspberries and Badfinger in the best ways. In every sense of the phrase, “they don’t make ’em like this anymore.” Wilson has wrestled mining the ’70s from the hands of hipsterdom, he’s gone feral in his wide-eyed sincerity. Both sides of this cassette are a genuine love-letter not only to those artists that laid their saccharine souls down all those years before, but to pop as a statement of purpose. On every level, I just want to hear more of this and soon.




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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.




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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.

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Wyatt Blair

Ok so the other day, getting pizza with some friends, I was wrapping up out front of the shop. The place’s delivery guy bumped out of the door, cigarette dangling, pies aloft, mullett on point and jumped into a bruised white convertible. He threw the pizza in the backseat, cranked Billy Idol on the stereo and pulled a U-ie into traffic. Clearly he was living his best life and that is probably the truest analogy I can provide for how Wyatt Blair’s album feels. Blair, an unabashed devotee to the ’80s some would like to forget, your gym teacher is still living and Kenny Loggins is still tying to remember has crafted the best love letter to a generation and its excesses than probably anyone has ever taken the time to perfect.

There’s a power pop soul to Blair’s writing, but its been massively perverted by the hair metal overload of an era of MTV. Its been melted into shape by Yacht Rock’s smoothness. It’s harnessed the lightning strike of crisp ’80s overload that most laughingly write off as a trite and forgettable soundtrack to Michael J. Fox films and Tom Cruise volleyball montages. These elements usually slip way back into the subconscious only to be tickled every so often by the flip of an oldies dial, but that’s where the brilliance of someone like Wyatt Blair fully coalesces. He not only embraces the schlock and sheen, he perfects it. Yeah fists are raised, gloves are fingerless and I’m pretty sure all of the drums are triggered but that’s where knowing you’re embracing a bygone image of cool transcends time and space and better judgment to just let that surge of fun light the way. Blair knows that everyone secretly just wants to embody their own montage, that we’re all riding the bus in elementary, junior high, high school and thinking back on that super compressed version of heightened reality with a feeling that’s equal parts ennui and pain.

The funny thing is Blair himself is a bit too young to have been on the buses at the time but he knows how to wrap up nostalgia in a way that bites just right. Every aesthetic bit of Point of No Return is full of the right amount of neon, and the right snap of spandex. The soft focus is racked just right and the ghosts of Eddie Money, Pat Benetar, Lita Ford and Wyatt’s own admitted crush, Kenny Loggins are streaming through the veins of the record without even feeling like an homage. His tracks just feel like they were the jukebox detritus of bands that got passed over. Its a record that could so seamlessly find its way into the soundtracks of teen films from the VHS graveyard that it would make Craig Wedren (aka Wet Hot American Summer‘s secret weapon) blush. So sit back and clip in for a ride that’s big and bold and lit and full of the life that may have left the radio these days, but its not forgotten. Clearly there’s still a little room for excess in 2016.




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