If you can’t soar with the eagles
Then don’t fly with the flock!
Are you still getting by?
Was I your knight in shining armor,
The apple of your eye,
Or just another step to climb?
Nothing about Bring Me The Horizon sounds like it should work, at least on paper. This is an unholy alliance between death metal vocals, emo-inspired lyrics, punk-pop hooks and enough EDM-fueled radio edge to keep radio programmers salivating — at least on “Can You Feel My Heart?” which opens the album. “I can’t drown my demons, they know how to swim,” Oliver Sykes sings. “I’m scared to get close, I hate being alone … I long for that feeling to not feel at home. The higher I get the lower I sink.” This isn’t your typical death-metal vocal, but bringing the genre together with elements of grindcore and indie pop helps give heft to a remarkably sturdy album.
Sempiternal kicks up a notch with “The House of Wolves,” which lets their metal leanings shine brighter over the poppier hooks, though there’s still a lot more melody anchoring this music than you’d likely expect. “Go To Hell, For Heaven’s Sake” proves to be another keeper, leading into a stretch on the album with a series of great tracks managing to bring deathcore imagery into songs you’ll want to sing along with incessantly, even as your throat aches. “I want to choke on the hurt you bring,” he screams. “I’m burning down every bridge we made … I’m bleeding out every word you say.” Then “Shadow Moses” brings Dropkick Murphys and Linkin Park together into an earworm you won’t escape alive, leading perfectly into the languid intro of “And The Snakes Start To Sing,” which showcases some of Sykes’ best vocals amid the strongest instrumental chops the rest of the band brings to bear.
Call this an accidental favorite, but once you give this band a shot, you’ll find plenty worth devouring.
It’s not just all physical
I’m the type who will get oh so critical
So let’s make things physical
I won’t treat you like you’re oh so typical
Forget everything you think you know about Tegan and Sara. Based on the thumping single “Closer,” the first hint of what their upcoming album Heartthrob will deliver upon its January 29 release, expect the duo to bring the hooks in quantities even pop radio programmers can only ignore at their peril. These two have always brought a flair for powerful, memorable hooks when the right song demanded it (“Walking With A Ghost” anyone?) but never before have I heard anything from these two with such an undeniable sense of accessible fun. In a world overrun with Mumford clones and Adele wannabes, Tegan and Sara could finally have a breakthrough with songs that simply turn their already top-notch indie-pop up to “11.” Expect this to be the first pop album of 2013 worth getting excited about!
Stream and Download Natania’s single “Cherry Love,” exclusively here at “Hear! Hear!”
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Two years ago Natania left her home in Mumbai for Los Angeles, with a guitar and a dream. She’d always thought of her music as a hobby, but arriving in the US, she took a leap of faith, enrolled herself in Berklee College of Music’s five-week summer program, then followed that with Musician’s Institute’s vocal program. From there, a hobby became her way of life.
Now she’s ready to take the indie-pop world by storm with her ear-catching blend of Ingrid Michaelson and Sarah Bareilles. “My cherry love / you taste like chapstick on my tongue / when you tie a stem I come undone,” she sings over a melody crafted of acoustic guitar, tasteful keyboards and slightly off-kilter percussive riffing. It’s just the kind of pop confection to give you a perfect pre-Thanksgiving sweet tooth, with a singable hook you won’t easily extract from your head … or your tongue.
Download the song through the SoundCloud app above, and sound off below in the comments — what do you think of Natania’s first single?
Year of the Album — #083
Needle – “Saint Timothy’s EP” (2012, Independent)
Needle remain comfortably under the radar, but if their latest EP, Saint Timothy’s, has anything to do with it, they’ll soon be having their indie pop breakthrough. Strains of Sufjan Stevens and hints of the early experimental songwriting of Lindsey Buckingham permeate these seven slow-burning pieces of raw pop beauty, showcasing the intricate songwriting of Julie Sea and Steve Beck. “Let It Go” gets its hooks in quietly and asserts the duo’s ability to craft memorable melody from its most simple elements. “Slip your hand into my little world and let it go,” Sea and Beck harmonize, providing a chorus which is both bare-bones and evocatively beautiful in its simplicity. “The Scenery” is quietly ominous thanks to the echoing vocals and plodding piano, intimately haunting: “Memories will follow me,” sings Sea mournfully, and you’ll want to put the song on repeat so you can let it roll over you and soak in. This is meaningful, raw pop music for those among us who appreciate the delicate structure of avant-pop for its fundamental beauty. Saint Timothy’s is as rewarding a listen as you can expect to find as we head into 2012.
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Get a pre-release copy of Saint Timothy’s EP through the band’s website.
The album’s official release date is January 10, 2012.
Year of the Album — #080
The Golden Seals – “Increase The Sweetness” (2011, Zunior)
The Golden Seals leaves its most obvious influences unnamed, but if you believe one thing you read today, it should be that Increase the Sweetness is the best thing to happen to contemporary pop since Fountains of Wayne and Ben Folds Five made indie-pop cool again.
If you’re a fan of indie and power pop music, you’re going to love what the Golden Seals have done on their latest album, Increase The Sweetness. Check out the full review at PopMatters.
Need a little Bowie in your electro indie pop? Look no further!
For those of you who enjoy a touch of Bowie with your modern funky pop music — Fitz and the Tantrums and Cavedoll fans, I’m talking to you! — then you’re going to love what Guineafowl brings to the table. These Australian has built their reputation in a similar fashion, working from the ground up in their home region, and now they’re getting a shot at the global domination they’ve aimed for since forming in 2009. Their latest EP, Hello Anxiety, came out October 4th on Dangerbird Records, and judging by the groove of this initial single, I’d say it’s worth checking out if you haven’t already. Watch the video below, and feel free to sound off in the comments section … we need more conversation here at “Hear! Hear!”
MP3 DOWNLOAD — Guineafowl – “Little Fingers”
FOR MORE INFORMATION — Check out the band’s MySpace and Facebook.
Year of the Album – #044
Peter Bradley Adams – “Between Us” (2011, Sarathan Records)
Peter Bradley Adams was a founding member of eastmountainsouth, but he’s made more of a splash writing music under his own name. With numerous television credits to his name, his music draws first impression comparisons to lightweights like Josh Radin, but with more thorough listens he’s more likely to be put in the same boat as Gary Jules, a songwriter who’s made a name for himself crafting thoughtful acoustic pop music that just happens to also frequentl television soundtracks.
What sets guys like Jules and Adams apart is the clear attention to lyrical and musical detail. Josh Radin was shoved into the spotlight when actor friend Zach Braff put “Winter” in a key episode of Scrubs. Since then, Radin’s done little to prove that the one song was anything more than a fluke. Jules and Adams, however, have consistently shown a deep knowledge of Americana and ‘70s songwriter pop, which helps their songs stand up to repetition despite maintaining a low-key, bedroom pop aesthetic.
Read the rest of the review at Stereo Subversion!