If you’re a fan of trying new things, there are a lot of releases from newcomers this week that are very worth checking out. Songwriter-types may be tickled by the approach of New-York rookie Frankie Cosmos, while more psychedelic precision-rock types could find a new best friend in Each Other. Do some exploring and thank us later.
While you read, listen to Perry chat with RadioBDC’s Adam12 about some of these releases:
Real Estate – “Atlas”
If Brooklyn-by-way-of-Jersey quintet Real Estate didn’t nail down a signature sound on its first two albums, “Atlas” clearly defines it. On previous efforts, autumnal birdsongs and reverb-soaked instrumentals have created the perfect soundtrack for suburban Sunday strolls or post-surf campfires, but now the band seeks deeper meaning in its songwriting. On “Atlas,” the same introspectiveness that Real Estate conjures through peculiar chord changes and lead guitar lines, is fished out more directly through lyrical themes in tunes like “The Bend,” “Past Lives,” and “Talking Backwards.”For fans of: Kurt Vile, Wild Nothing, Quilt
Frankie Cosmos – “Zentropy”
New York-based Frankie Cosmos builds songs like she would a Lego castle: they’re colorful, simple, and she seems to create them almost effortlessly. This approach gives her a huge advantage on her label-debut “Zentropy,” in which coy lyricism is met with a similar vocal approach, giving tremendous weight to the moments in which she fully comes out of her shell. Those moments usually occur when she duets with Porches. lead man Aaron Maine, whom she endearingly calls “Ronnie.” While conceptually she could draw comparisons to a band like Krill, vocally, Cosmos can sometimes trace back to the throaty elegance of The Cranberries.For fans of: Kimya Dawson, The Cranberries, Krill, Waxahatchee
Ava Luna – “Electric Balloon”
Brooklyn’s Ava Luna has undergone a lineup makeover, and along with it, a sound renaisscance, since its last album, “Ice Level.” The contents of “Electric Balloon,” can best be described as art gallery soul. At times, lead man Carlos Hernandez can take on a David Byrne-like persona, shuffling in zonked out vocals over frenzied funk beats, while at other moments, like the slinky grooves of “Sear Roebuck M&Ms,” the band channels a solid-gold Daptone sound. Throughout the record though, there is left-brained precision that attacks almost in a progressive-rock type of way. Ava Luna ditches the Dirty Projectors comparisons on this one for something special.
For fans of: Talking Heads, Body Language, Here We Go Magic
Each Other – “Being Elastic”
Montreal’s Each Other has a rare quality of remaining completely forward-thinking, while having many of the same qualities of the bands your parents used to play you while you were growing up. Technical kraut-rock at its finest, the trio constantly shuffles alternative perspectives, which makes the record in its entirety a grand journey, but also shows impatience at times. Vocal harmonies give Each Other enough palatability on “Being Elastic” to make songs like “Send Your Signals” good prospects for indie hits if put in front of the right ears.
For fans of: Freak Heat Waves, Woodsman, Long Long Long
Eagulls – “Eagulls”
Leeds-based garage rockers Eagulls are, at the very least, proof that British rock is still very much a thing. Much like Cheatahs, Eagulls create a gazy wall of sound that can almost stand alone without a rhythm section. The attack-style drums, paired with the sandpapery growl a-la-Paul Westerberg of lead man George Mitchell, creates an aggressive approach that doesn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel, but will translate with fans who have graduated from the fizzling surf-punk fad and are discovering doomier garage rock avenues.
For fans of: Cheatahs, Perfect Pussy, Merchandise
Drive-By Truckers – “English Oceans”
Drive-By Truckers has not only been the torch-bearer for alt-country in the past decade, but should even be partially credited for the folk resurgence that we’ve experienced in the past few years. The Georgia-based quintet has made songwriting at the priority, but strives to take different perspectives, whether it be the unglamorous Zevon-like pastiche of southern culture, or very poignant deliveries of love songs. DBT is at a point where it doesn’t need to necessarily progress in order to wow, which is exactly what the band does on “English Oceans.” Four albums later and the void left by Jason Isbell’s departure is more than covered up.
For fans of: Lynyrd Skynyrd, Slaid Cleaves (with louder guitar), The Felice Brothers
Pharrell Williams – “Girl”
Sure, he may be a big celebrity at this point, but Pharrell is one of the few producers of our time to both make a name for himself as a producer and to have a signature production style. “Girl” doesn’t do much to launch Pharrell into vocal stardom, but his falsetto fluff is by no means distracting. “Happy” is already an infectious hit for all ages, but the album is filled with other dancefloor burners as well as sexier pop hits in the same vein as Justin Timberlake’s “20/20 Experience.” It will be huge for many reasons.
For fans of: Justin Timberlake, N.E.R.D., Timbaland
Nick Waterhouse – “Holly”
LA swingin’ soulman Nick Waterhouse impressed with 2012’s debut, “Time’s All Gone,” finding his way into ad spots and striking a chord with the same folks who have dug Sharon Jones or Amy Winehouse. On “Holly,” Waterhouse switches gears, slowing things down a bit for a loungier approach, flexing his muscles as a learned jazz enthusiast and an equally bluesy guitar picker. Waterhouse finds room for some dancier numbers, but defines his new album with Chris Isaak-style mystery and smashingly vintage charm.
For fans of: Chris Isaak, James Hunter, J.D. McPherson