After taking a mini-break to work on other projects, almighty jangly post-punkers Beach Fossils are back and sounding better than ever on "Careless." It's the first preview from their upcoming Clash The Truth LP (February 19 on Captured Tracks), and features galloping drums, submerged guitars snaking around each other and a trebly, melodic bass line that should make and break hearts through to spring.
Light In The Attic – probably the best reissue label going right now – has had one of its hottest years in 2012. Take this recent revisit of the previously-unknown A Fire Somewhere by Ray Stinnett – a vast, homespun LP that dances around rock, soul, folk and everything else that seems timeless nowadays. "Honey Suckle Song" is loping, countrified and natural, forming a perfect organic combo for fans of artists like The Band.
I'm eagerly awaiting the next missive from the ever-mysterious (but oh so excellent) songwriter Cass McCombs. Until then, we have "Empty Promises" – a grimy, psychedelic, pop-oriented number with spiraling guitars, anchored bass and Cass absolutely going-off lyrically.
You can forget about coffee or five-hour energy drink (and its potential to kill you) for a minute, because METZ is here with some mainline aggression. "Dirty Shirt" will get the single treatment from Sub Pop on December 4, and it couldn't be more appropriate. The song rips with atonal energy. Even the guitars, with their spazzing wooziness, add to the pummeling rhythm.
Elvis Costello, Wire, Velvet Underground, youthful energy turned bitter from smoking too many bowls. Parquet Courts gets a certain kind of person (aka me), and that person wants their rock with more than a little style, art damage and eye-rolling. "Light Up Gold" is a ramped-up bruiser with an avalanche of attitude-filled lyrics and a snotty, near-British take on punk that feels well-worn but quite refreshing.
What is it about Amherst, MA? Does J. Mascis put something in the water supply each morning while walking his dog? Whatever it is, native sons California X have it down with the explosive, ultra-distorted guitars and riffage on the awesomely-titled "Pond Rot." The band's debut album is out January 15 via Don Giovanni Records, so go pay someone to wash your flannel and jean jackets before then.
Pacific Northwest rockers Naomi Punk are so formalist about their skull-splitting intentions that you have to listen a few times to let their pure addictiveness sneak up on you. "The Spell" is my favorite from their recently-reissued The Feeling LP. It's a crunchy post-punk anthem with guitars so massive and filled with attitude that we should collectively carve their image into a mountain for future generations to experience. Grab the group's album now on Captured Tracks. Highest recommendation.
On "Edie's Dream," Suuns plug the delicate dynamics of the finest post-rock into something soothing, poppy, appealing sterile and, perhaps most importantly, original feeling. The group's second full-length, recorded hometown-style in Montreal, is called Images Du Futur and it comes March 5, 2013 via Secretly Canadian. Highest recommendation!
On their second time around the block, Veronica Falls sure hasn't cleaned-up their act at all. "Teenage" has none of the usual album-two signifiers: cleaner sound, a dash towards the pop world, potential to breakthrough and crush Adele. Nope, it's just super enjoyable, masterfully done mid-fi indie-pop that appropriately jangles, harmonizes and gets stuck in your ears for hours.
Hilly Eye, a band from former Titus Andronicus member Amy Klein, has a deep understanding of what made large swaths of '90s indie rock great. Featuring only Klein and drummer Catherine Tung, "Amnesia" has both stripped-down sweetness and punkish attitude in addition to a large dynamic range and lyrics that strive on political criticism. Their new one, Reasons To Live, is out January 22, 2013 via Don Giovanni.