I’m always geared up for some great singles. I’m not the kind to insist on a whole album of hits. That can be so greedy. So let’s roll out some should-be hit single poprock radio fodder.
Let me say right at the outset that Ryan Hamilton and the Harlequin Ghosts’ new album This is the Sound is an all-round good time, filled with great tunes. It’s what we’d expect from a guy whose talents have ranged from his killer sunshine-blast solo album Hell of a Day to super outings with Bowling for Soup’s Jaret Reddick in People on Vacation. But there is something particular about “Feeling Like Falling in Love” on his latest album that really grabs me. Maybe it’s guitar hook that loops throughout the song or the effortless tenor of Ryan’s vocals but the song sticks with me. Or maybe you’re looking for something more old school new wave? Got just the release here with the latest single from The Empty Hearts. Described by some as a ‘garage rock supergroup’ I’d probably characterize them as a bit more smooth than that. Their latest “Coat Tailer” offers up the polished sheen of Romantics-style guitars with some cool Rubber Soul-ish background vocals. B-side “Run and Hide” is no slouch either with its mellow jangle and slight country vibe. Can’t wait for the full album follow up to these teasers. The Empty Hearts – Coat Tailer
Ezra Furman is undeniably one of most exciting artists to emerge over the past decade. Fabulously original, combining a punk-like sentiment with a solid mastery of 1950s and 1960s songwriting styles. He’s like a gender-fluid John Lennon – angry, tuneful, with a whole lot of something to say. His latest record 12 Nudes cranks the punk and snarl on most cuts but “In America” rides its wondrous ragged delivery over some killer hooks. I’d vote for this guy. Carrying on in a punky vein, Cleveland’s Signals Midwest take their sound in a more melodic direction with their latest EP Pin, particularly on the first single, “Your New Old Apartment.” The song goes in a number of directions with surprising musical adornments and ace vocal support from Sincere Engineer (aka Deanna Belos). Love the echo-y background vocal ‘oh oh ohs’ that show up late!
Imagine Ryan Hamilton and the Harlequin Ghosts, The Empty Hearts, Ezra Furman, and Signals Midwest all just waiting eagerly for responses to their songs like kids waiting by the tree at Xmas. Let’s end the wait and get on over to their web locales.
Slouching music listening guy photo courtesy Larry Gordon.