Porches.

An established fan of Porches.’ darker, more rock fueled exploits a la Slow Dance in the Cosmos‘ “Skinny Trees” or “Permanent Loan”, I was surprised how much I dug “Leather”, the new single from Ronald Paris, the pseudonym for Aaron Maine’s most recent project featured on a cassette split with Mdou Moctar. It’s almost an alarming gentle turn for the Maine.

Aaron Maine’s normal pseudo-stream of consciousness songwriting is focused and tightened a bit, each word presented with evident care. It’s enough to completely miss that the Frankie Cosmos assisted track is more or less a Satanist love song.  “I want to trade my jeans in for leather/I want to hold her unholy hand”  Maine croons atop a fertile, synth-laden knoll. It’s oddly pleasant, with the same streak of playful but inventive songwriting Maine has established while presenting a much less straightforward kind of pop. Maine’s still rooting around in and lightening his darker narrative subjects but it’s a dramatically different approach – one’s that more or less benches the bulk of his experimental pop troupe in favor of beautiful starkness. It’s a pretty good call.

The split is currently sold out but you can listen to/download the 3 songs from the Ronald Paris side via Bandcamp.

Landlady

Well there really is no pinning down Brooklyn experimental pop rockers Landlady is there? New single “Dying Day” more or less splits the difference between previous singles “Above My Ground” and “The Globe” while not merely functioning as facsimiles of either/or . While “The Globe” didn’t allow itself to languor in much of itself  or Adam Schatz’s powerfully emotive vocals like “Above My Ground”, “Dying Day” proves that level of soulfulness is achievable at much more rapid pace. While “Above My Ground” aimed right for the heart to galvanize, “Dying Day” is much more focused on your feet – setting those toes tapping with vivacious fervor while still very much hitting home lyrically. Schatz has a truly rare knack for establishing an instant connection through the force of his words – they caress, support, and embrace instead of the normal glancing blow. That the instrumentation around them happens so be so engaging and accessible is part of the appeal but also the gravy on top.  Landlady strikes a chord as the everyman’s gospel; secularly spirit-rousing but no less powerful, articulate in vision but universal in its delivery. If the rest of the track’s from the quintet’s upcoming full length are even half as moving, we’re in for a radical experience indeed.

 

Landlady’s Upright Behavior is out July 15th on Hometapes. Catch their incredible live show with dates here.

Considering that the majority of the tunes of electro pop duo Sylvan Esso’s album are straight up dance jams, it makes a surprising amount of sense that their videos have focused more or less solely on that aspect. But unlike the previous one for “Coffee”, the duo and director Remedy decided to cut the story out almost entirely. A music video shoot in the music video shoot, the video for “Play It Right” finds Sylvan Esso and a couple of their North Carolina dance pals cutting a rug pretty much for the whole of the video’s duration. Through total simplicity, magic is made. The duo are thoroughly in their element performing for those not lucky enough to see them up close and personal and the dancers feed organically off of the song’s various elements. “Play It Right” prove just what you can do with a couple good friends, a properly righteous tunes, a camera, and some lights for good measure.

Sylvan Esso’s fantastic debut full length is streaming now over on NPR before its May 13th release on Partisan Records. Listen, then buy it. You’ll be glad you did.

London newcomer Oscar makes highly catchy, endearing pop songs with a Morrissey croon. 146b is his latest EP, a collection of shimmeringly simple songs about love, loss, wanting and heartache. You can fall in love and nuke the relationship all in the span of four songs.

Steve Sobs

With Winter firmly in the rear-view and the weather thawing out, it’s the time of the year where all of the summer jams come out to play and Steve Sobs‘ “Ugh” is a surefire contender. The Brooklyn based bedroom pop of Eric Littmann finds the pitch perfect balance between breezy springy melodies and the unmistakable forward plod of any halfway decent pop song. “Ugh” is a tune with relatively no sense of urgency;  chill and casual in its delivery with a dose of nostalgia for good measure. That’s not just due to Littmann’s memory combing lyrics but “Ugh” recalls in the faintest sense College’s “Real Hero” in theory more than in practice. There’s an instant feeling of timelessness virtually from the get go, as the subtle interplay between acoustic guitar and electronics offer up the bulk of the track’s dynamism. Littman’s vocals are notably understated, draining the emotive resonance out of a tale of old love. Where that might be a point of criticism in any other case, there’s never the feeling like they’re unintentionally lacking and Littmann allows the instrumentals to pick up the slack and deliver a heaping helping of the feels in spite of the distance the vocals suggest.

Steve Sobs’ upcoming full length Heavy Heart is out May 13th on Waaga Records.

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