New Orleans solo artist Julie Odell comes back with a pair of songs released at the end of 2014. Occupying a genre space shared with the likes of Regina Spektor, Joanna Newsom and another soul-singing newcomer named Julie (Byrne), she’s in good company, and we’ve got the benefit of witnessing her blossom, song by song, much like her gorgeously unraveling vocal melodies. Here’s new song “People Cheering” »
One of the most rewarding, if often under appreciated, parts of music blogging is watching an artist grow over time, in confidence, in experience, in experimentation. With “People Cheering,” Odell obviously still home-records–there’s the lo-fi quality to her music that endears and connects us to many bedroom artists–but she does so playfully, with a chirping crickets underbelly that crackles with static, her metronome ticking away on a bench close by, whether she stays on perfect time or not. She croons of crowded spaces, of fireworks and nature scenes, but everything else suggests she sits alone in a small room, eyes closed as she sings, accompanied only by her own reverberating vocal overdubs, dreaming of where she’s headed next.
Keep it up and the cheers will come, as they should. Here’s the second track, “Around and Around” »
Listen to about a dozen more songs at Julie Odell’s soundcloud page »
Previously: Julie Odell: “Old Buried Treasure”
Last year we introduced you to London newcomer Oscar and his 146b EP, four immensely catchy jangle-pop songs spanning a relationship with spectacular aplomb for a debut. I likened it to Morrissey at the time, though now I get more of a Stephin Merrrit (The Magnetic Fields) vibe, especially with new song “Daffodil Days”.
These days it’s all too easy to have winter whitewash the optimism that–of course it does!–occurs naturally in your totally usually awesome selves, which is why it’s nice when songs like “Daffodil Days” come around to remind us, and those within spitting distance, that Spring isn’t too far away. And while you’ll still probably be relentlessly hard for many people to put up with even during the Best Season, at least it’ll be fucking warm.
Listen to more at Oscar’s soundcloud page »
photo by Eric T. White
As you guzzle ‘nog through your holiday season this year, one not-so-cheery aspect of the family gathering inevitably involves the rotation of oft-terrible holiday music. Brighten up, dear friends, because there are many good alternatives this year (The National x Bob’s Burgers and Dent May’s “I’ll Be Stoned For Christmas” among the most oddly satisfying). Somewhere between Sufjan’s five Christmas albums and the undisputed mainstay of Nat King Cole fits this “Little Drummer Boy” cover from The Cabana Kids. Think a shoegazy Fleet Foxes doing Lou Reed doing Christmas covers. Heroin optional.
The Cabana Kids – Little Drummer Boy
Happy Holidays from IGIF!
You can grab The Cabana Kids’ debut EP on vinyl here, and use the code “merryxmas” for an extra 15% your order from Small Plates »
Louisville trio turned touring foursome White Reaper are a band I should’ve taken notice of far earlier than I did. Releasing their self-titled EP on Polyvinyl earlier this year, White Reaper are one of those bands that absolute requires you to get the full effect. Only when watching the quartet rip through songs at a breakneck pace do you understand why their 6 song EP just barely clocks in at 15 minutes. It’s punk in intensity without actually strictly adhering to that genre label. No doubt drawing influence from the more melodically inclined of the UK punk bands like the Buzzcocks and The Clash, White Reaper are furious, ferocious rock ‘n roll-ers but their EP expands on that image in a way that perfectly illustrate just why White Reaper can’t be pigeonholed with labels like when “Half Bad” and “Ohh (Yeah)” (to a less extent) pair the band’s traditional rock set-up with synths.
“Conspirator” is a definite album standout and not just because it happens to be one of the longest tracks on the EP. It also features White Reaper at their most incendiary – a fearless sprint that’s unrelenting in intensity from start to finish. “Conspirator” maneuvers with a savage grace that’s borderline animal; it’s the most abrasive the band allow themselves to get while managing to be strangely accessible. The band are in excellent form, tight without coming off as too clean, brash but not sloppy. “Conspirator” is the perfect encapsulation of the band’s rambunctious live energy.
White Reaper’s self-titled EP is out now on Polyvinyl and available on limited edition pink 12″, tape, CD and/or digital.
Looks like Logan Hyde, most notable for his guitar work for Youth Lagoon, is prepping a solo project. “My Only Friend”, the first single from Hyde’s debut album Innocence due out next year, is a psychedelic-tinged slice of pop. Considering Youth Lagoon’s psych rock turn on sophomore record Wondrous Bughouse last year, it’s not surprising that Hyde would draw from the influence but Hyde’s jaunt isn’t just a continuation of his work on that album.
The strangest, most striking thing about Hyde’s solo turn in “My Only Friend” is how much space he allows there to be. While there’s concurrent melodies, Hyde gives the track significant room to breathe. Everything, from the melodic lines, the harmonies, even Hyde’s little cosmic flourishes, is marked by astonishing fluidity. So much so that the track’s build from sparse, vocal-centered jangle to its involved multi-layered climax while not exactly predictable does proceed with both a sense of coherence and a clarity of ideas.
With “My Only Friend”, Logan Hyde demonstrates he’s got a hell of a lot to offer with his solo project and hopefully Innocence will show just how much.