Ex-Abe Vigoda guitarist Juan Velasquez has a new project, the dream-pop trio known as Roses, and they’ve got a four-song EP coming out Aug. 5 on Group Tightener called Dreamlover. The first song we’ve heard from it, “It’s Over,” is a stuttering, stunning new waver with David Byrne-esque vocals, dreamy synth washes and crashing shoegaze guitars. They’ll be at S.F.’s Hemlock Tavern July 15 and L.A.’s Bootleg Theater July 16 with A Sunny Day in Glasgow.
The Fresh & Onlys continue to move away from the reverb-drenched garage rock of their early records and toward something more grandiose on House of Spirits. From the outset, it’s clear they mean business, with more precise songwriting and cleaner production than ever before. Tim Cohen’s lyrics take a darker turn—he sings like Rosemary’s Baby grown up on the rollicking “Who Let the Devil,” claiming Satan bottle fed him with blood, fitting in nicely with co-singer/songwriter Wymond Miles’ typically gothier songs, such as the country-Cure style “Animal of One.” The band turns in one of their loveliest songs ever with “Bells of Paonia,” a throbbing, fuzzed out shoegaze ballad with a dreamy romanticism that suits the band nicely. Mostly, these updates work for the band. Occasionally you miss the early rock stuff, though they go balls out on “Hummingbird,” and the lack of reverb reveals some weakness to the vocals. Still, I’ll take earnest and scrappy any day over easy or lazy, as the band leaps past the tired garage-rock moniker that has previously tailed the band and lands in exciting new territory.
Before they were Jimmy Fallon’s house band, The Roots were one of the most dynamic and socially conscious groups in hip-hop. “When the People Cheer” reminds us of how great they are as pure rappers, and it’s got a cool stop-motion video to boot.
S.F. psych-rock duo The Skygreen Leopards have a new album due July 8 on Woodsist called Family Crimes, and they’ve released the first song from it, “Leave the Family,” a bit of sunny-sounding psychedelia with goth lyrics—“you leave the family and you don’t come back,” goes one refrain over jangly 12-string guitar. Donovan Quinn, one of the two Leopards, is a busy guy—he also recently released a great record with Ben Chasny of Six Organs of Admittance under the moniker New Bums. In fact, that whole Woodsist gang seems to be bustling as of late, with Woods’ recent, excellent album having been released and the gang gearing up for new Woodsist Fests, one Aug. 5-6 in Big Sur and another Aug. 16 in Pioneertoown (featuring Skygreen Leopards, Woods, Real Estate and more). Thanks for keeping us chill w/your cool hippie vibes throughout the summer, guys!
King Tuff has released a new record on Sub Pop, and all I can say is OMGGG. King Tuff is looking to be the garage banger of the summer. You should definitely pick this one up, and you can even preview it on YouTube for the time being. Check out a stream from Sub Pop below, and order the album here.
Up-and-coming L.A. pop band Kitten is releasing a new EP called Cut it Out on Aug. 28th. Teenage frontwoman Chloe Chaidez sure sounds like a star in the making on this buzzy electro single, which has the post-punk feel of Metric while upping both the catchiness and shoegazey sonics. I feel like we’ll only be able to claim Kitten for so long before they move on to bigger and better things, so check them out while they’re still local!
Shows This Weekend
This is a big weekend for local singer Nite Jewel, who recently released her fine album One Second of Love, which manages to be dancey (check out the title track) and cool, with atmospheric and experimental electronics throughout, while remaining classy, with Ramona Gonzalez’s sultry voice more reminiscent of classical pop singers like Barbra Streisand and Diana Krall. Tonight Nite Jewel headlines a krautrock-themed show titled “Krautrock Classics: A Night of German Cosmic Music,” presented by Dublab and the Goethe Institut. It will take place at the Ford Amphiteatre, with Nite Jewel performing a classic of the genre, Kraftwerk’s Computer World, with help from friends like Stones Throw Records’ Peanut Butter Wolf. The show also will include performances from the likes of Sun Araw, Dntel and Daedelus. Starts at 8, all ages, $15, get tickets online here.
Then, on Saturday, Filter Magazine holds its Summer Sessions series at the Original Penguin Store (8215 Melrose Ave.) from 2-6 p.m., featuring a performance by Nite Jewel. RSVP here.
On Sundays it’s usually hard to beat Part Time Punks at the Echo, and this Sunday is certainly no exception: Violens, whom fellow Amoeba-ite Brad also loves, will play alongside Capured Tracks band Catwalk and Surf Club, which features members of Craft Spells. Slumberland's Violens play blurry swoony guitar pop much in the same vein of their labelmates, but they stand out from the back with their strong melodic songwriting (check out the beautiful "Sariza Spring") and the fact that they bother to rock out once in a while (watch the "All Night Low" video below). Their album True is one of the best of the past couple of months. It's a whole lot of shoegazey, guitarry goodness for only 10 bucks. Get advance tickets here or in store at Ameoba.