These are the contemplative, lovesick opening verses of Home Alone’s new song, “Interstates & Stuff”: “Waiting on my ride / It’s just driving away / Hoping that she’ll come back at the end of the day / Come back to me / Right back to me.” This slow-motion song is paced so beautifully, graceful like underwater aquatics, pinging synth like sonar, moody resonating guitar, vocals delicate and vulnerable. It’s all about lightness of touch. This is the first track off Home Alone’s (aka Thomas Mazurkiewicz of Mississauga, Ontario) upcoming eight-song release, “There’s a Light Coming Through”, available March 15th via a Their Bated Breath favorite, BEKO online digital label. – David D. Robbins Jr.
U.K. duo Babe Heaven is streaming a new track, “Friday Sky”, a light, romantic piece of dream pop with beautiful vocal melodies and lovelorn lyricism: “I’m fallin’ for you now / Tell me if you feel it too / ‘Cuz I’m at peace when I’m with you, you, you …” There’s nothing complicated about this song, and that’s a large part of its charm. Echoing guitar strumming blends into soft percussion and calming vocals, making for an elegant track. – David D. Robbins Jr.
Brazilian producer singer-songwriter Rodrigo Amarante is officially releasing his solo record, “Cavalo”, on May 6th in the U.S. and Canada via I-Tunes and Easy Sound Recording Company. He’s posted a single called “Hourlgass”, a hyperkenetic groove about the passage of time. I’ve read about his involvement with a group, Little Joy, and Devendra Banhart, but the first I’d heard of his music was via a Take Out show thanks to the French website La Blogothèque. But since then I ran into this track, “Hourglass”, on soundcloud, and it made me immediately think of Arto Lindsay’s more interesting modern pieces, even before I found out Amarante is Brazilian. Listening to “Hourglass” made me curious, so I read more about Amarante being part of a band named Orquestra Imperial that features Caetano Veloso’s son, Moreno. This six-degrees-of-separation might not make much sense to you, but for me it says it all. Here’s a musician that not only plays his own brand of modern music, but also has deeper connections to the past. He’s surrounded by musicians who value craft, which says a lot about Amarante, and it’s evident in this stylish, idiosyncratic single. Follow Rodrigo Amarante on facebook. Note: Photo from artist’s facebook page, taken by Elliot Lee Hazel. – David D. Robbins Jr.
Lilacs & Champagne (Emil Amos and Alex Hall) are one of my favorite groups off the lovely label, Mexican Summer, who seem to always come up with the goods. This time around, the label and Lilacs & Champagne are releasing the first record of what sounds like an interesting concept series called “Midnight Features”. The label describes the series like this: “Inspired by the classic Marvel comic series ‘What If?’, the duo seek to place themselves into various musical eras, expanding and perverting each new stylistic context they land in. This first volume, ‘Shower Scene’, was inspired by the background music from 1970s TV shows – the frenetic solos, sleazy funk lines and jazz-influenced sounds that subtly lurk behind the tales of crime, drama and passion.” The record contains six tracks and will be released April 8th. There’s a new video for the song “Shower Scene”, a track that sounds quite different musically than L&C’s usual territory, but it’s still really good. It’s a drowsy, bluesy guitar groove that feels like a cross between a 70s porn track and some kind of creepy psychedelic soul. At just under two-and-a-half minutes it’s short, but sweet. Follow the group on facebook. – David D. Robbins Jr.
It’s been years since I’d last seen Jolie Holland play live, and it’s been three years since her last record, “Pint of Blood” was released — but all is well now that there’s a new LP on the way. Holland released a video for a new track, “Waiting For the Sun”, from her upcoming 11-song release, ‘Wine Dark Sea”, out May 20th via Anti Records. It’s a wonderful bluesy ensemble track, that combines Holland’s familiar and pretty vocals with warm horns, multiple guitars and an upbeat tempo. There’s a playfulness to the track as well as the video, which is like a cool gutbucket getdown. It’s a great, catchy single with an explosive ending of guitar distortion and brass. Video directed by Troy Word. You can pre-order the record at I-Tunes. You can also follow Holland at facebook and twitter. Note: Image above is a screen capture from the video. – David D. Robbins Jr.
This Low Factor track has been kicking around in demo mode for awhile now, I think, but it now has an official release, as of January, via the Montreal artist’s latest eight-song album, “Seizures on a Battleground”. I’ll start off by saying that Low Factor’s music may not be to everyone’s taste. Frankly, I first heard the lead vocals and thought it was a put-on, like a nasally female John Lydon on some serious Quaaludes. But no matter what you may think of the vocals, there’s no denying how good “Frozen” is, as music and avant-garde art. For that matter, a song like “You Now” is really inventive too, and the scuzzy Devo-like “Ugly Children” is delightfully tongue-in-cheek. The music morphs its way through Factory Era, Bauhaus, Joy Division, The Cure, and other bands that also loved to play in the dark. In its own bizarre way “Frozen” is mesmerizing. It says a lot that the music is so good, that I began to get used to the vocal style as simply an accent to Low Factor’s unique post-punk, new-wave blend. The numbing repetition of the beat is hypnotic, paired with the pace of the vocals weaving between the song’s heavy percussive thumps. The imaginative synth-work at the 1:07 mark and especially at 1:58 is stunningly good. Despite its dark and odd exterior, ultimately, “Frozen” is a song about wanting to love in the face of everything, but being momentarily unable. The lyrics close with a wonderfully insolent kind of sentiment we hear in the best of a band like Public Image Limited: “I’d want to be able to smile / My frozen teeth are stuck to my mouth … / I’d love to love you anyway / I’d love to love you anyway / But not today.” You can follow Low Factor at facebook. – David D. Robbins Jr.
Bloomington, Indiana band, Plateau Below, will be releasing their debut record, “Still Paradise”, on March 4th via Jurassic Pop Records. Until then, they’ve posted a single, “Riverside”, for you to stream at bandcamp. It’s a sad, nostalgic-sounding, lovely kind of psych-rock track. There are a number touchstones here, maybe a little Bright Eyes and a band from New York called Uncle. What distinguishes this song is the combination of laid-back guitar strumming and lead vocals teetering on a raspy edge to the point of hoarseness, giving severe weight to poetic lyricism and a growing instrumental thunder: “Starvin’ by the riverside / I’m just waitin’ here for my wife / She went and ran off with another Jack / But I’m sure she’ll come running back / I can’t remember what her eyes look like.” Lyrics are unofficial. You can follow the band at facebook. – David D. Robbins Jr.