It’s here. The newest long playing record by Boston’s own Air Traffic Controller is Echo Papa, and it’s now available for your listening pleasure. After years of evolving the band’s lineup, singer and songwriter Dave Munro has put together a killer band, including co-singer/songwriter Casey Sullivan, and they’ve spent the last couple of years touring, writing, recording, and generally reaching new creative and commercial heights. We can only expect that trend to continue with Echo Papa, an album that takes a more organic, somewhat rootsy approach to its songs, while never straying far from the pop ethos upon which Air Traffic Controller was built. Listen to the first single, “After Party,” below.
Luke James Shaffer, who has been near or at the top of our “Best of the Best” charts in Pop for weeks and weeks and weeks, has dropped a new single called “Cliff Dive.” It’s an authentic rootsy anthem disguised as a Top 40 hit, with a floor-stomping hook and killer harmonies. The song was recently featured on the Travel Channel’s Expeditions Unknown, a perfect pairing for the song’s breezy, adventurous lyrics and musical momentum. Listen below, and check it on Spotify here.
The House of Jed is some super-quirky, sonically rich, lyrically weird, totally unique, perfectly concise pop music that is still completely accessible and overflowing with hooks. I guess it wouldn’t appeal to everyone, in a Top 40 radio kind of way, but it’s right up our alley here, and so we’re going to keep talking about it. The new single is “You’ll Wait A Long Time For Me,” and it bears all the classic House of Jed hallmarks − crisp and clear, uncluttered production, tight and driving beat, and vaguely spooky (the extended bridge after the last chorus seriously reminds me of the ending of “Thriller”). Listen…
As comfortingly familiar as certain strains of retro-tinged garage rock can be, it often has a downside of being perfectly predictable. Not too bad a downside, of course, if you’re just trying to recapture the raw excitement of vintage rock. But it’s so much more thrilling to hear the classic tape echo tones and amped-up fuzz-jangle taking unexpected musical turns. That’s what Australia’s Royal Chant has brought us with their new track, “I Get A Kick Out Of Being Kicked Around By You.” It’s a great title, to begin with, and the Merseybeat groove of the track is a baseline for inventive melodies and chord changes that never do quite what you expect them to to. Royal Chant has cleverly paired the song with some cut together ’70s-era home movies to complete the vintage vibe. Watch below.
Hungarian artist Naked Woods (aka Eszter Polyák) makes unassuming mini-epics that are difficult to classify. They sound comfortingly familiar while remaining remarkably original. On the new single “Clouds of the Storm,” some New Order-esque musical changes, a bit of Cyndi Lauper vocal inflection, and a wholly modern electronic groove make for an engrossing listen. Polyák creates, records, and mixes her music herself, and with each release sounds increasingly confident. Listen below.
Lady Lamb is the the midst of a wide ranging tour in support of her new EP, Tender Warriors Club. At seven tracks, running 34 minutes, less prolific artists might call this a full length album and be done with it. As for Lady Lamb, the artist also known as Aly Spaltro seems content to give us all that she’s creating and thinking, however long or heavy it might be. Technically an EP, Tender Warriors Club feels more than anything like a snapshot of the individual, vulnerable and uncertain, at this moment in time. Intensely personal rather than overtly political, it is nonetheless a “manifesto,” as the artist writes on her website:
find the courage to be sensitive
be emotionally vulnerable
be comfortable with & embrace solitude
never compromise their integrity
practice self-acceptance & self-love
give an honest effort
Lady Lamb’s current tour is hitting some smaller venues as well as living rooms across the country. See all of the tour dates with ticket links here. The EP is available now via Mom + Pop Records. Order vinyl here.