Author Archives: heysoulclassic

Tindersticks – “The Waiting Room”

Atmospheric jazz/funk.  Great bass parts, cinematic, and cool.  Great songs, strong vocals, and awesome horn arrangements.   Label: City Slang FCC: Clean Play: #3, 5, 10 RIYL: The National, David Bowie, Smog, Magical Cloudz

Savages – “Adore Life”

Female vocals and noisy guitars.  Alternating from brooding to thrashing.  Full throttle, blistering punk rock.  More masterful and natural than previous efforts.   Label: Matador FCC: 6 Play: #2, 3, 4, 5 RIYL: PJ Harvey, Metz, l7, Siouxsie & The Banshees

Atlas Genius – “Inanimate Objects”

Aussie electro-pop.  Propulsive guitars & synth heavy stadium-anthems rockers.  Very high end production. Songs tend to be very anthemic.  Borrows some tricks started by Tame Impala. Label: Warner Brothers RIYL: Tame Impala, Foster The People, Imagine Dragon, Franz Ferdinand Play: 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 FCC: Clean  

Black Masala – “I Love You Madly”

Brass-heavy, funky, dance music.  Multi-international influences, but all dance-party-centric.  Part gypsy-punk, part afro-cuban funk, part Balkan brass, part New Orleans funk.  100% good times.   RIYL: Gogol Bordello, Mariachi El Bronx, Rebirth Brass Band Play: #1, 2, 3 FCC: Clean Label: self- released

City and Colour – “If I Should Go Before You”

First time full-band effort, from long-time solo artist.  Dreamy indie-folk with deep grooves, and almost-R&B undercurrents.  Very well-crafted songs that draw from blues, R&B, indie rock, and alt-country.  Great vocal range with beautiful harmonies all around.   RIYL: Ray Lamontagne, Iron & Wine, Death Cab for Cutie, Bright Eyes Play: #6, 8, 2, 10, 5 […]

Majical Cloudz – “Are You Alone?”

Hypnotic, sparse, and intimate.  Simple, minor-key instrumentation, combined with plaintive, soothing, aching, crooning vocals.  Mostly electronic, and piano instrumentation.  Super sad, but in a good way.   Play: # 9, 8, 2, 3 FCC: Clean RIYL: LCD Soundsystem, Owen Palette, How To Dress Well, Caribou Label: Matador

Car Seat Headrest – “Teens of Style”

Fuzzed-out, multi-layered, harmonies.  Lo-fi anthems of youthful joy and frustration.  Made up of reworkings of songs from his many previous albums, this major label debut is very impressive.  Multiple/distorted guitar tracks flesh out hidden pop-gems on every track.  What if Brian Wilson was born in 1988 and raised on Weezer? Play: #1, 5, 4, 9, […]

Beach Slang – “The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us”

Earnest, hard-driving, big rock anthems.  Driving drums and guitars, coupled with angst-ridden lyrics about typical young-folks issues.  Singer is a veteran of the rock scene which makes this effort more mature sounding than similar/younger bands.  Very Hold Steadyish in that way.  UK Post-punk influenced with a whole lot of Replacements and Guided By Voices.  All […]

Martin Courtney – “Many Moons”

Solo effort from Real Estate frontman.  Mellow, psychedelic pop-flavored tunes.  Signature jangly guitar and pensive vocals.  Not too different from his work with Real Estate.  Solid songwriting, good execution.  Music for a lazy sunday morning. RIYL: Real Estate, Ducktails, Alex Bleeker & The Freaks, EZTV, FCC: None PLAY: #1, 3, 5, 7, 9 LABEL: Domino

EL VY – “Return To The Moon”

A collaboration between National vocalist/lyricist Matt Berninger and multi-instrumentalist/producer Brent Knopf of Menomena.  Sounds like a funkier National.  Bass and keys heavy.  Punctuated/noodley guitar parts.  Berninger’s usual vocal delivery, but with more humorous lyrics.  Very fun record.  Bunch of great songs RIYL: The National, Menomena, Volcano Choir FCC: #2 Play: #1, 4, 3, 5 Label: […]

U.S. Girls – “Half Free”

Crushed, grainy loops and collage-like construction, added with Ronnie Spector-esque vocals.  Dubby bass lines and ticking drum machines make for a uniquely awesome production combination.  Album straddles a neat balance between bittersweet pop hooks and murky, adventurous production. FCC: Clean Play: 2, 4, 9 RIYL: MIA, Slim Twig, Grimes Label: 4AD

Dave Rawlings Machine – “Nashville Obsolete”

Neo-traditional country with a noir bent.  Mix of uptempo songs and somewhat downtrodden ones, displaying dazzling three-part harmonies with a bit of the latent rock spirit that always seems to be buzzing at the edge of Rawlings works. FCC: None Play: 1, 4, 5 RIYL: Gillian Welch, Ryan Adams, Hank Williams Label: Acony Records

The Front Bottoms – “Back On Top”

“Obstinate, fun, melodious, awkward, inventive, rude, and occasionally enlightening, Back on Top offers up another spirited set of good time folk-punk that’s as hook-filled and hilarious as it is filthy.” FCC: 4, 7, 11 Play: 5, 3, 2, 10 RIYL: Frank Turner, Ted Leo, The Thermals, Mountain Goats Label: Fueled By Ramen

Protomartyr – “The Agent Intellect”

Fantastic third album that bashes you with waves of fuzzy guitar thunder that is both textured and spacious.  Great razor-wire post-punk guitar lines that mesh well with the powerful, passionate vocals.  The songs shake and move rather than just keeping a beat. Protomartyr’s music is smart without wearing its intellect on its sleeve.  Vocals go from bereft to nasty […]

The Decemberists – “Florasongs EP”

Very safe 5 song EP of outtakes from last album.  Nothing amazing, but a couple of new Decemberists’ songs, nonetheless.  This EP kinda of focuses on their fascination with ’80s college rock. Filled with ringing guitars and taut melodies, these could all be covers of old R.E.M., or Elvis Costello tracks. Play: All FCC: Clean […]

CHVRCHES – “Every Open Eye”

Sensitive synth-pop, expanding on their debut’s combination of hooks and huge soundscapes.  Staccato verses and sweeping choruses, offer a bright, punchy approach.  Able to make simple arrangements sound massive.  Their ’80s influences are sometimes understated, and sometimes more blatant, with the synth tones and her vulnerable vocals/lyrics. Play: 2, 5, 3, 1, 4, 8 FCC: Clean RIYL: The […]

FIDLAR – “Too”

Brash, melodic indie jangle with occasional clamorous surf tones.  Too is definitely a mixed bag of some truly great party punk anthems, and some duller, dumb ones.  Cool, snarly, punk rock vocals.  Some really catchy tunes buried under abrasive guitar tones & textures.  Great, when it works, but doesn’t always work. Play: 1, 3, 4, […]

Paper Kites – “twelve four”

10 tracks penned between the hours of midnight and 4:00am on the premise that this is when an artist reaches his or her ‘creative peak’. Not so much. Hazy Eighties nostalgia mixed with waking dream-diary lyrics. Very Synth heavy with room really good poppy hooks. Nice male & female vocal dynamics. Play: 1,4,5 FCC: Clean […]

Gardens & Villa – “Music For Dogs”

Punchy, danceable, and decidedly catchy.  Driving with some darker synth-pop guitar & synth sounds mixed with real drums  The mix of beats, sweetness, and edgy tenseness permeates the album.  Lots of solid tunes, buoyant vocals, and relentless rhythms, makes for a pretty good album. FCC: #7 Play: #3, 2, 4, 5 RIYL: Painted Palms, LCD Soundsystem, New […]

Nathaniel Rateliff And The Night Sweats – “Nathaniel Rateliff And The Night Sweats”

Funky and upbeat soul music played over sometime serious/heartbreaking lyrics.  Draws heavily on vintage R&B, soul, and proto rock & roll, complete with a swaggering horn section, foot stomping and handclaps.  Very formulaic, but it’s a good formula. FCC: Clean Play: #5, 1, 2, 8, 9 RIYL: Alabama Shakes, J Roddy Walston, Sam Cooke

Whetherman – “seeds for harvest

Poetic & earnest vocals.  easy listening grooves.   Mostly acoustic guitar & harmonica mixed with good songwriting = obvious Dylan comparisons. FCC: Clean Play; # 3,10,11 RIYL: Wood Bros. Ray Lamontagne, Tallest Man On Earth, and Dylan

Kopecky – “Drug For The Modern Age”

Formerly The Kopecky Family Band, this second album offers up a colorful amalgam of Killers and Arcade Fire-inspired, arena-ready indie rock and slick AOR pop that falls somewhere between Sleigh Bells and Fleetwood Mac.  Teeming with big pop flourishes and fist-pumping choruses. FCC: Clean Play:#2,4,6,12 RIYL: Sleigh Bells, The National, Fleetwood Mac, Phantogram

HEALTH – Death Magic

Idiosyncratic blend of live instruments and vocals fused with beats & electronics.  Bombastic & propulsive.  An all-out assault on the low-end of your speakers.  Machine-gun bass is prevalent throughout, combined with lush vocals.  More poppy than past efforts, but still very hard hitting. FCC: Clean Play: #2,7,9,10 RIYL: Crystal Castles, Holy F*ck, Battles, No Age

Tobias Jesso Jr. – “Goon”

Quick description: Jim James singing lost Tom Waits songs on a piano. In the vein of Waits, Randy Newman, Burt Bacharach, and, more recently, Father John Misty, Jesso writes tunes that seem like old songs, yet remain fresh & new. Sometimes that works (“Hoe Could You Babe”, “Without You”), but sometimes it ends up sounding […]

Milo Greene – “Control”

On their second album, Los Angeles indie-rock group Milo Greene allows more light to infiltrate their music, avoiding the moody sensibility of their debut, in favor of a more synth-heavy buoyancy that lends to a more propulsive sense to the songs. Nice alternating male/female lead vocals, help to create layered melodies. There’s a danceable feeling […]