L.A.-based Wavves has released the second single from his forthcoming album, Afraid of Heights, due March 26 on Mom+Pop/Warner. The big leagues haven’t softened Wavves’ crashing sound, but “Demon to Lean On” is also one of the most refined pop songs he’s released thus far, with nice touches like the occasional castanets and milky guitar in the verses. But those crushing Blue-album Weezer chords in the chorus should bring many more kids into the Wavves fold. Wavves previously released the “Sail to the Sun” single and video. They’ll be touring with FIDLAR in the Spring.
Thee Oh Sees Announce New LP
Another year, another Thee Oh Sees album. If that sounds like a knock, it isn’t — San Fransisco garage kings Thee Oh Sees have released three albums in the past two years (including last year’s Putrifiers II), all of them great, so there’s no reason to think this one won’t follow the same route. Between these guys and Ty Segall, there must be something in the water in San Francisco that makes garage bands incredibly prolific and solid at the same time. Acid, maybe. Floating Coffin is out April 16 on Castle Face.
FIDLAR – “Gimme Something” video, album up for preorder
Of all the scuzzy, sloppy, boozey garage bands in L.A., FIDLAR is the skuzziest, sloppiest and booziest. OK, they might not be the sloppiest any more now that they’re hitting it big, judging by the sounds of “Gimme Something,” a cleaned-up, jangly country-style track that highlights just how good this band’s actual songwriting is. As if to hammer the point home, the “Gimme Something” video either sees the band dolled up like Creedence Clearwater Revival playing some state fair in the ’70s, or it’s very cleverly edited video of some ’70s band made too look like they’re playing FIDLAR’s song. Either way, it rules! FIDLAR’s self-titled debut is due Jan. 22, preoder it on CD or LP here.
Widowspeak – “The Dark Age,” album up for preorder
Anything that comes out on the Captured Tracks label immediately gets my attention, and one of their newest signees doesn’t disappoint. Widowspeak pair Western jangle-rock riffs — like real ones, not limp little guitar doodles — with sultry, breathy vocals from Molly Hamilton. She reminds me a bit of the late, great Trish Keenan of Broadcast, and similarly Hamilton’s grounded vocals serve as a wise counterpoint to her partner Robert Earl Thomas’ wild guitar work. “The Dark Age” comes from their upcoming album, Almanac, due Jan. 22 on LP and CD.
Earlimart is back! You may remember the Elephant 6 associated band’s 2000s releases like Everyone Down Here and Treble & Tremble. Well the L.A. band based around singer/guitarist Aaron Espinoza and keyboardist/singer/bassist Ariana Murray is back with a lovely, somber new track called “97 Heart Attack” and an accompanying album called System Preferences, which is due on physical CD and LP Oct. 16 from the band’s label, The Ship. So glad to have them back, although they never really went away — after releasing their last album, 2008’s Hymn and Her, they collaborated with Grandaddy members for the 2010 release of Admiral Radley’s I Heart California, followed by headlining tours and a support slot on Band of Horses’ tour. The band had kept busy composing soundtrack work and producing other artists, but now they’re back in full force and will appear with Grandaddy (Who are back too? Hell yes!) at the Henry Fonda Theater Aug. 13. So into all these L.A. indie pop bands getting back into the fold.
The Fresh & Onlys – “Presense of Mind”
Here’s another new track (after the previously unveiled “Yes or No”) from The Fresh & Onlys upcoming Long Slow Dance, due Sept. 4 on Mexican Summer. I liked their last album, Play It Strange, but from the sound of these two songs, this is a huge step forward for the band, with a newfound confidence in its vocals and songwriting.
There’s a new Sweet Valley track out. Who’s that, you ask? It’s Nathan Williams of Wavves, along with his brother, Kynan. “Total Carnage,” from their upcoming debut record, Stay Calm, is warped, instrumental surf rock that makes its looping riff sound like an endless summer. You want to just put it on, lay at the beach and never have that moment end. Stay Calm is out Aug. 7 from Fool’s Gold.
And speaking of Wavves, Wavves drummer Jacob Safari debuted songs from his new project Heaven via Vice’s blog this week. “Hanging Out” is kind of industrial and cool, with a foreboding beat and spacey vocals, while “Can’t Grow Up With Poison” is more of a straight-up shoegazer with a driving beat and a more melodic bent. I’m really digging this, obviously. An EP is due soon!
Wild Eyes – Blue Haze
New band crush: Wild Eyes, a So. Cal. shoegaze band with heart-and-brain-melting tracks that recall the best of the genre — Ride, Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine. Found this one over at Buzzbands.la, where I learned they recorded their Blue Haze EP in a garage and rehearsal space. For such humble beginnings, the thing approaches Creation status. Gotta love those garage-gaze bands!
Mr. Little Jeans’ electro-pop ditty “Runaway” was already a pretty sweet Spring surprise of a song, but the L.A.-by-way-of-London rising star has been remixed by So. Cal. in human form Nathan Williams aka Wavves. I have to say I’m digging this remix even more than the original, and I’m not really a remix guy. Williams slows down and reverbs out her vocals to sound like they’re whispering through seafoam, while adding heavy drums and, I’m gonna say, naughty Nuggets organs. I think I like this remix so much because it’s like a big welcome to L.A., stripping a song of its cosmopolitan cool and washing it in sonic warmth. We’re happy to have you, Mr. Little Jeans.
New Beach House song “Lazuli” — I don’t care that they’re not from L.A.
Does the new Beach House song “Lazuli” sound like Enya? Do I love this new Beach House song? Does this new Beach House song sound like Enya but is still somehow amazing? Do I love Enya? Do I kind of like Enya sometimes? What is a lazuli? Does Beach House spend a lot of time researching things like rare bright blue stones that sound cool and mysterious for sick song titles? (Preorder the new Beach House album Bloom now! And come to Record Store Day April 21 to buy the "Lazuli" single!)
Coachella needs me to hype them like I need to hear that terrible Fun. song again (thanks, Chevy!), but there’s still time to make it to Desert Daze, a festival that started yesterday and runs through April 22. Today the biddies at L.A. Record along with Blundertown and Burger Records are throwing a massive show with Bleached, Audacity, Pangea, Lovely Bad Things and so many more L.A. goodies. The show is only a $5 suggested donation. It takes place at a secret location near Dillon’s Roadhouse in North Palm Springs; email email@example.com to book a room. (Disclaimer: I have no idea if there are any rooms left available, but email them and find out before it’s too late! Unless it already is.)