Tei Shi’s (aka Valerie Teicher) “See Me” is easily one of my favorite tracks released this year. It’s a sultry single, a confection of candied melodies double-over whispery echoed vocals under the easy sway of soft tempo changes. In short, it’s gorgeous. The song begins with a kind of construction clatter that sets pace before you’re awash in Tei Shi’s pretty vocals. This single follows up her 2013 six-song EP debut, “Saudade” — a gorgeous Portuguese word for yearning or longing. In fact, “See Me”, fits right into that intent. It’s the best song Tei Shi has created, finding an instrumental tone and style to rival her voice. And she plays in good company. Tei Shi is part of TBB friend Yellow Ostrich’s last show this December 8th at The Glasslands in Brooklyn. Go listen and hear for yourself. Photo above was taken by Eric White. Follow Tei Shi at facebook and twitter. – David D. Robbins Jr.
Boston trio, Chandos, are primed and ready to release a full-length album next year, which follows two EPs the group released when they were known by the name Chandeliers. The bio the label provides mentions that the band “honed its craft in the local house show scene like bands such as Speedy Ortiz, Grass is Green, and Guerilla Toss. There’s something to that. I like the Speedy Ortiz comparison. The single below, “..Pretty Sure It’s ”Tang Top'”, is heavy, brash, punkish, and lends itself to anthem rockin’. Everything is full speed ahead and crashing. I hear slight shades of early Cymbals Eat Guitars or maybe Pretty Girls Make Graves (minus the Andrea Zollo vocals). Chandos’ 11-song record, “Rats In Your Bed” will be out January 27 via Carpark Records. The lable announced the singing of the band just last week. The band is drummer Julian Moore, singer and guitarist Dan Coulson, and bassist Sean Tracy. Follow the band at facebook. — David D. Robbins Jr.
“Just let you go / It felt so wrong / I must have just hesitated / ‘Cuz now you’re gone / Blame me for all of it …” Those are the opening lyrics to Tropics’ (London’s Chris Ward) new slow jam, “Blame”, the first streaming single off the upcoming release, “Rapture” (Feb. 2015), a very fitting track to match the name of the record. I’ve read a few things about Ward’s sound, some comparing it to the low key neo-soul microbeats style of James Blake. There’s some room for comparison there in this new song, but really Ward is his own man. Judging by this single, the track has a singular sense, played out in languid soul, vocally driven sensuality and light, moody aesthetics — which includes overlapping vocals, a flute sound, soft warped noises and scratches. It’s the musical equivalent of fading embers. Ward is signed to the Los Angeles label, Innovative Leisure. -- David D. Robbins Jr.
Despite their fictional (magical) biographical description, the production team known as BenZel, are at the very least a formidable music duo. They contacted artist Jessie Ware last year and collaborated with her to help produce her 2014 record, “Tough Love”. They’ve also worked with Ryn Weaver on her EP “Promises” — and now she’s featured on a soulful track the duo are set to release on their own EP, entitled “Men”. Usually, I’m not one for heavily speeded-up vocal pitch distortion combined with R&B dance grooves, but this one is pretty, sexy and sports a wonderful rhythm around verses about love: “I like the way you love me, most of the time.” Follow the duo at facebook and twitter. – David D. Robbins Jr.
Mourn is a Catalonian group of teens playing in the vein of PJ Harvey, Sleater-Kinney and much like a little-known band I like from Minneapolis called Is/Is. Its two female founders, Jazz Rodríguez Bueno and Carla Pérez Vas added drummer Antonio Postius and bassist Leia Rodríguez to form the full band. Their sound is fierce and riotous — guitars on full attack mode as melodic, bellowing vocal harmonies gloss over the top of rowdy instrumentation. Listen to their live version of “Otitis”, one of the 10 songs coming out on the self-titled LP. You can pre-order the band’s upcoming LP via Captured Tracks and Sones. Follow the band at facebook and twitter. – David D. Robbins Jr.
Pacific Northwest trio Naomi Punk released a new video for the title track off their latest LP, “Television Man”. The video is simply layers of pink kaleidoscopic shapes like cut diamonds, trapezoids and such interspersed with old clips of bodybuilders flexing. The track is a fantastic blend of buried punk vocals, underground grunged-out guitar and a broken up rhythm that reminds me at times of old Primus or more likely Double Dagger. That’s not to say Naomi Punk sounds like either. They don’t. It’s just a kind of stylistic quirk that finds a kind of movement or cadence in clanging and the dark brew of garage drumming and sludgy stop-starts. It’s quality. Follow the band at facebook. – David D. Robbins Jr.