Psychedelic rock is a very enduring genre. Though it has changed over the years, the feeling it evokes remains intact. Today, we have artists such as Tame Impala and Unknown Mortal Orchestra, but I still have a soft spot for sixties rock-pop, the first incarnation of psych rock. The Beatles are important to anyone’s musical self-discovery, and some current bands can capture that old school sound very well. I think Paul Orwell is one of them.
In his newest single, “Tell Me Tell Me,” Orwell and his band The Night Falls make a Britpop song straight from 1963. The echoing in the vocals and twangs in the guitar strums make this modern song feel as if it were written decades earlier. Not to mention that Orwell plays the part; he’s aloof, and I think if I met him in person he’d just shake his head and mumble some Britishisms. In the video for “Tell Me, Tell Me” he and his band go to a barber shop, seemingly to only annoy the hairdressers. Orwell is too cool for school, and refuses to stop moving around for the haircut, but he doesn’t care how it will turn out. He is similarly indifferent in his video for “Little Reason,” Orwell’s earlier single.
My favorite thing about this London native is his full head of hair. I watched “Tell Me Tell Me” expecting his hair to be a little shorter than it was at the beginning, but he ends up with the same mess of hair that he’s always had. And that’s when I realized, his hair is the joke. He has the same mop in “Little Reason” and even has illustrations that accentuate his overly full head of hair. I think that his wit and songwriting skills will propel him into contemporary popularity, even though he sounds like a contemporary of the Kinks.
For more information on Paul Orwell, visit his Facebook.
Music can sometimes mess with your emotions. I have heard music that completely alters my mood just after hearing the opening chords. Fenech-Soler, fittingly, has the capacity to do this as well. Their second studio album, Rituals, makes for a great dance soundtrack to everyday life, given life’s daily twists and turns.
The sunrise of a fade in that starts the album should get you appropriately pumped for what’s to come. There are as many synths and bass lines as you could want, and I also very much appreciated the steel drums in numbers such as “In Our Blood.” The keyboard creates drama some of the tracks, coming to prominence in “Stonebridge,” the slowest track on the record. The vocals are excited and inspired; paired with the instrumentation, the record becomes infectious and inspiring. The songs vary from lighthearted tunes about falling in love to heavier tracks about losing it. Teenagers will probably label “Lies” as a power electro pop breakup song, because it is perfect the imaginary argument with an ex, shouting “LIES!” in his or her face. (It might catch on with Congressmen as well.) “Two Cities” closes Rituals, doing the whole album prior justice. The song encourages independence, (“We are all that we need!”), before coming to a guitar strum conclusion.
Rituals is out now. Find out more information about Fenech-Soler on their website.
Full disclosure: I love Grizzly Bear. I think that “Two Weeks” is the greatest song I’ve ever heard, I love Daniel Rossen’s voice, and Ed Droste’s Twitter is one of the best. I’m not obsessed with them, but there will be no disrespecting the Bear while I’m around. Enter Ghost Cousin, a band that could be easily labelled poor man’s Grizzly Bear, rich man’s Poor Moon; however they have truly a unique sound that will one day be only theirs.
Scotland is an album that too few people have heard. After listening to it only once, I found myself humming the tune of “Healed Eyes” while darkly brooding. The deliberate rhythm of the album is mesmerizing and gives way to delicate guitar riffs, as in “Run Home.” The songwriting is poetic, creating stories with characters that you grow attached to: a mother, a son, a lover, an enemy. Each track is very endearing, each character a part of your life whether you knew them before or not.
Ghost Cousin is a fairly new band, only having released an EP, “Landscape of Animals,” before this. They are still underwhelmed by the industry it seems, after recording most of this album in a church in their hometown of Edmonton, Canada. They will know the headache of record companies and labels once they come into fame, which I predict will be fairly soon. At least, I hope so; I don’t want to see Ghost Cousin leave the spotlight for a long while.
Scotland is out now, and you can hear it below. For more information on Ghost Cousin, visit their Facebook.
What is in the water in Australia? Something great like fluoride obviously, because I have yet again been jamming to a track by a fairly new band from down under. Holy Holy began as a duo of Timothy Carroll and Oscar Dawson, and has been recently expanded to include Ryan Strathie and Graham Ritchie. The group’s name is indicative of the origins of their most recent single, “History”; songwriting borne from a miracle demonstrates just how talented these handsome globetrotters truly are.
Everything about Holy Holy is near-miraculous, in fact. Carroll and Dawson grew up separately in Australia, but met in southeast Asia, and became friends. Then, they both traveled to Europe, happened to meet up in Stockholm, and then decided they should make music together. They shared demos between Stockholm and Berlin for a few years, and are now finally back together in Australia joined by Strathie and Ritchie in the studio.
The track’s origin shares a certain fortuitous symmetry with the way the band formed. While in the studio laying down some other tracks that they had been working on, they tinkered with a tune they had barely started writing and ended up recording it on the spot. That miracle-baby-song is “History,” which is very rich in lyrical power and rhythmic honesty about the dishonesty of our pasts. “And the only risk you take is that all of your mistakes are right,” condemns Carroll. The song reminds me of the Joshua Oppenheimer documentary, The Act of Killing, an easy example of the winners rewriting history, washing away any stain of corruption or wrongdoing in their own administrations.
I could of course be exaggerating the meaning of “History,” but you can’t blame me for jumping to conclusions, especially conclusions of a politically motivated nature. After all, their single “House of Cards” was written to speak out against the poor treatment of those seeking asylum; looks like Holy Holy is turning out to be quite the U2. Holy Holy has creative melodies, but I would not be surprised if they ended up gaining fame due to their outspoken political views inside those melodies.
“History” is available on iTunes. You can find more information about Holy Holy on their website.
Let’s face it: summer is coming to a close. We only have a few short weeks to wrap up our summer fun, which means I can finally shed this bikini body that I put on back in April. It’s both cleansing but also disappointing, to know that the weather is about to turn and theaters will lose mindless blockbusters in favor of Oscar bait. And what we’ve learned from those fall movies is that summer romances just aren’t meant to last.
“Running Around” is summer love. It is fast, fun, but also causes a little heartache once it ends. But then again, summer romances are disposable, not to be taken seriously. Young Maverick takes heartbreak and forgets about it, because wouldn’t you rather dance than wallow in misery?
Young Maverick is an Aussie quartet that labels their music as “holiday pop,” which made me initially think that they sang Christmas carols. The Americanized translation of their new genre is better stated as “vacation pop,” intending to invoke memories of the fun and carefree times when you were on summer retreat. And it turned out that there could not be a more accurate genre. The swift guitars reminiscent of “Cousins” contrast well with frontman, Robbie Keith’s bored tone to create a great summer song that resonates with all young mavericks who revel in summer hi-jinx.
“Running Around” is off of Young Maverick’s newest EP, Holiday Popular, out now. Visit their website for more information.