There was a group of kids in high school who were into all the punk and early post-punk material. I could dig some of the sentiments but just couldn’t hear the tunes. That’s why I steered more to the new wave side of the street: Elvis Costello over the Damned, the Jam over Sex Pistols, and the mid-to-late period Clash over the early Clash. But if we see punk as more a sentiment than a genre, then we can always find a number of acts punking up the perimeters of poprock. Today we explore that punky poprock sentiment.
We begin – where else? – Austin, Texas. The Republican voting, open-carry gun-toting, millennial-cult-confronting state also breeds a damn fine indie music scene. Jonly Bonly exemplify that tradition with a cool rush of adrenaline-soaked punky poprock on their debut album, Put Together. I love the kick off to “I Don’t Mind” – so 1960s garage rock – and then the catchy lead guitar line that threads its way throughout the song. “Never Thought I’d Die” has a nice hook and an interesting mix of guitar sound, as does “Long Distance.” All three songs are strong on melody.
The Lowboys take us somewhere in Virginia, the band being mostly the work of Joseph Hurlock, described on Facebook as a “song guy from VA.” The performances here all have a wonderfully chaotic feel to them. “Defense Mechanism” is a song that often seems to be hanging on to its structure by a thread, given the endearingly shambolic vocal, but the basic hook survives and the chorus hints at a more straight up poprock potential. Don’t miss the eccentric solo. “Don’t Fail Me Now” is another good song that meanders out of the gate but somehow really comes together in the chorus.
Last up is Volcano, I’m Still Excited, an Austin-meets-Brooklyn combo that vocally reminds me of Everything Everything on their only single, “In Green.” The song is a work of subtle discordant genius and clocks in at just over two minutes. As quickly becomes apparent in listening through their self-titled debut (and only) album, these guys have the musical chops but they make their cuts in the most unexpected places.
I guess I lived in a 1960s bubble. Growing up with my parents’ record collection it seemed that if the music was catchy and the performance was strong then it would be hit. But I think it was the stalling of Marshall Crenshaw’s career after Field Day that woke me up to fact that not all great music gets to be widely popular. There is an inescapable randomness to it all. You don’t get two more clear examples of the fickleness of the fame god than Soul Engines and The Someloves. Today’s tracks are red-hot bona-fide should-be hits.
The Soul Engines hail from the Jersey shore and apparently put out a few albums, though only 2002’s Closer Still is widely available. If their other records are even half as good as that one, the world is missing out on some pretty incredible music. The whole album is a pretty solid genre-crossing effort, a perfect melding of old rock and roll, Everly Brothers’ style country harmonies, and upfront melody. But two songs stand out as extraordinary efforts: “It’s Just Another Day” and “Tomorrow’s Girl.” I can’t stop hitting replay on these two tunes. “It’s Just Another Day” bursts open with a rapid fire smatter of jangly lead guitar that eases into the song with a nice organ backdrop. The guitars, organ and vocals play off each other with a sound reminiscent of a lot of western-style 1980s poprock like True West, Rank and File, and Canada’s Blue Rodeo. “Tomorrow’s Girl” kicks off with some great drumming that never lets the energy dissipate. It’s a tune with great swing and harmony vocals: the whole arrangement of the song is perfect, there just isn’t a note out of place. These songs would be in heavy rotation on Poprock Record radio!
It’s Just Another DayTomorrow’s Girl
The Someloves are yet another example of the seemingly endless poprock talent pool that is Australia. Formed in Perth in the mid-1980s, the band released a handful of singles and just one album, 1990’s Something or Other. In this case, the lack of success is a bit easier to understand as one half of the band’s creative duo simply refused to tour in support of their recordings, killing their record deal. Still, there have been non-touring success stories in rock and roll and given how drop dead amazing their lone album is, the lack of accolades and gold records remains surprising. I mean, check out the killer roll out of “Know You Now.” It’s all ringing guitars and The Three O’Clock-style breathy vocals that builds to an catchy chorus and then back to more ringing chords. It’s an intense three minutes and 49 seconds of poprock. “Sunshine’s Glove” works a similar formula but ups the melody enrichment, allowing the ringing guitars to echo the hooks. Pretty addictive stuff as a kind of double A-side single. The good news here is that unlike the Soul Engines, a fabulous double CD greatest hits retrospective is available for The Someloves: 2006’s Don’t Talk About Us.Know You NowSunshine’s Glove
Hey, it’s never too late to make these guys the stars they deserved to be. Check out the recordings they have available on iTunes and with other sellers. Contacting bands that don’t exist anymore is a bit more problematic but not impossible. The songwriters from the Soul Engines have a number of new projects on the go and can be contacted on their Jenny Pilot’s and The Susan Rumors sites. Don Mariani from The Someloves has solo recordings and work with The Stems and DM3 available and can be reached at his website and on Facebook.
Speaking of Facebook, I discovered these two acts via some great Facebook music groups: I Love Power Pop and Power Pop Rock. There is so much to know – it’s great to have help.
To call someone a journeyman is no slight. It means they are skilled and have done their time in the trenches. A journeyman delivers in a solid and dependable way, even if they don’t get all the glory. Fame and success is – above and beyond a certain level of talent – fickle, arbitrary, and often fleeting. Our three journeyman poprockers have kept soldiering on in their careers, dependably putting out great songs, with less than their fair share of fanfare.
I have to begin with Dan Israel, our poster boy journeyman. Slogging it out in clubs with various bands stretching back to the 1980s, Israel went solo in 2000 and has since released ten albums, all mining a solid melodic rock and roll sound, while holding down a regular day job. Watch the video documentary below about Israel and his day job as a statute revisor for the Minnesota Legislature to get a sense of his double life. It adds a welcome dose of reality to how doing music as a job really works, or doesn’t, as the case may be. While movies showcase bands being discovered and suddenly spending all their time doing music, the reality is that most aspiring artists have to pay the bills doing something other than the music they love.
Musically, Israel’s work falls into that broad Americana of poprock: a bit of folk, a bit of Bruce Springsteen, a bit of Creedence or Tom Petty. Check out the great organ and background vocals on “Stranger Things” that appeared on his comprehensive and cleverly titled Danthology. I love the simple acoustic but hooky arrangement of “Last Words” from his debut solo album, the self-deprecatively entitled Dan Who. Interestingly, one of his strongest efforts for me was the recent 2015 album Dan, with its killer swinging single, “Be With Me” and “You Don’t Love Me Anymore.”
I’m not sure if Joel Boyea is a journeyman, but I think he is. For a guy with record out, this artist leaves a very light imprint on the ole internet. Still, a bit of digging turned up a few facts. His 2012 album Please Don’t Eat the Daisies gathered together 19 of his demos recorded over a twenty-year period, and that alone would indicate a guy plugging away at his craft. Self-described on his Bandcamp page as “a guy who will probably never quit his day job” he did manage to “bust out of his home studio in the summer of 2015” to professionally record a killer record, Here Again, and Lost. The transformation from bedroom demos to a full band recording (supported by sometime members of the Verve Pipe, Andy Reed and Donny Brown) is nothing less than astonishing. Highlights for me include the obvious single, the insistent “Upbeat,” “Breaking Up” with its lovely vocal arrangement, and the poprock gem “You and Your Love.” A shout out for the touching gay-positive ballad, “Outwitted.” He also does a nice cover of Nick Lowe’s “Time Wounds All Heels” in the video below.
Frank Marzano is a force to be reckoned with. Mild mannered math teacher by day, relentless live performer and self promoting recording artist all the rest of the time. Marzano has spent more than three decades trying to break into the music business, playing in bands, and making recordings. His work is an eclectic mix of 1960s influences, particularly 1950s and 1960s poprock and the Beatles. “Hit the Bricks” from his 2012 album The Boy Who Always Got Picked Last showcases his strengths, a catchy tune cast in that innocent 1970s pop remaking of early 1960s songcraft, with great bass and lead guitar. “Huge Rock Star” from the same album could be Marzano’s life story. Indeed, the protagonist is probably also the singer and songwriter, urging himself to keep plugging away despite the lack of much success. Marzano’s production and arrangement of the songs is crisp and refreshingly straightforward while his vocals have an original sound which I find both earnest and often endearing. 2015’s American Proust continued in the same vein, with “Love’s the Only Way Home” a particularly strong track due to its very catchy chorus. He also has a great cover of Lennon and McCartney’s “Bad to Me” on a poprock tribute album.Hit the BricksHuge Rock StarLove’s the Only Way Home
Better late than never must be the maxim of journeymen everywhere when it comes to getting the fan love. Send some now to Dan Israel, Joel Boyea, and Frank Marzano in the usual sort of internet locations.
Before the I started this blog I already had a huge stack of material I’d been gathering for over a year or so – great stuff that deserves a wide audience, songs you might have missed. So today we go back to the vaults to ensure that rock and roll never forgets.
Andy Reed is a member of that immensely talented group, the Verve Pipe. Not only have they put out a load of great albums, including some for children (which is much harder to do well than most people think), the band has spawned of host of great solo projects. Reed’s band An American Underdog has one album, 2011’s Always On the Run, which is chock full of poprock gems like the carefree, hooky “I’ll Miss You Girl” and crunchy “Nothing I Can Do.” Also, check out Reed’s killer solo version of Elvis Costello’s “Crimes of Paris.” He takes just a bit of the edge off the Costello version and ups the pop quotient – lovely!
Like so many talented musicians of his generation, Adam Merrin has made his career by mostly placing his music in TV shows rather than releasing albums under his own name. But the two that have emerged, 2007’s Have One and 2009’s Have Another One, are delightful low key pop excursions. “Our Love is True” opens with a catchy guitar hook before leaning more on keyboards to drive the song while “Fallen for You” builds to a super chorus. “This is How You Are” has a great total sonic ambience, mellow but unrelenting.This is How You AreOur Love is True
Canadian Dave Rave keeps churning out great poprock. From a pretty stunning beginning playing on Teenage Head’s boppy single “Let’s Shake” back in 1980, Rave has branched out with a host of different solo projects over the years. Pick any period and you’ll find some great material. “All of the Love You Can Handle” is from his 2010 album Live with What You Know and what I like here is the strong vocal, just ever so slightly reminiscent of the Moody Blues in their more poprock period. This one will get in your head one night and fail to check out the next morning.
Reviewers often mention Summer Fiction and the Beach Boys in the same breath. Sure I guess its there in the same way that every artist with a wash of breathy background vocals and hints of 1960s melody is another bastard child of Brian Wilson. But I hear something much more original in Summer Fiction’s dialectical synthesis of 1960s influences. For instance, there is mordantly sad quality to the vocal style that contrasts the peppy upbeat harpsichord of “Chandeliers” that is pleasantly jarring. You know this guy is the broody poet type but, like Morrissey before him, he just has to juice the depressing lyrics with far out jangly guitars and hooks. I also love the quiet intensity of “Throw Your Arms Around Me” and the easy swing of “By the Sea” from the 2010 debut album. 2015’s Himalaya ups the jangle factor on tracks like “On and On” and the clearly Smithsian-influenced “Perfume Paper.”
What is it with Sweden these days? For a long time it seemed ABBA was it in terms of musical exports – now a flood of great acts are hitting the beach like a new invading force. The Genuine Fakes have a cute cover of Frozen’s “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” as well as a number of holiday tunes but these songs obscure their more serious material. “I Want to be a Stranger” is a good example, at times low key, at others killing it with strong hooks, great poprock vocals, and a groovy organ and guitars.I Wanna be a Stranger
The Honeydogs have all the markings of a classic rock and roll outfit – think Tom Petty and Heartbreakers or even the Replacements. Adam Levy writes everyman songs that are relate-able. There are too many choices from the catalogue I could make but I really like “Too Close to the Sun” from 2006’s Amygdala: the solid acoustic guitar backing, cool organ, tight vocals. This is poprock magic, a really perfect single. “Losing Transmissions” from 2001’s Here’s Luck is pretty special too in a more rock and roll vein. Check out their recent release Love and Cannibalism for more of same.
Over to the wet coast for Seattle’s Ransom and the Subset. This band’s 2014 album No Time to Lose deserves to be a big hit, the whole thing is solid and eminently enjoyable. Their love of Fountains of Wayne comes through but in a subtle way, for instance on tracks like “Questions” and “When Will I See You.” But the standout track is the amazing “Anna,” a single so perfectly sculpted into shape it screams AM radio hit.
I have Powerpopulist to thank for today’s content. Sometimes you’ve got to hear about it from far away to appreciate the hometown crews!
The Drywall Heels immediately caught my attention with their hilarious ode to suburbia, “Richmond Hill.” Their just released, self-titled EP is all pretty solid with a nice 1960s meets 1980s indie sound on tracks like “You Should Know,” “Questionable,” and “Claudia.” A few months ago the band released the single, “Christine,” which has a slightly more poppy 1960s feel.
Another great suggestion is The Seams, described by most media as an indie supergroup as it draws its members from a variety of other Toronto bands for this project. Again, the 1960s+1980s sound is there, with a more psychedelic reverb on the vocals and some sparkly guitars. The first song on their album Meet the Seams (with its cool cassette insert artwork) is a catchy number with the same name as the band while track two, “Seeds,” has a great poprock swing. Other highlights include “Remembrance Day” and “ADHD.”
I’m looking forward to seeing these bands live! Information about The Drywall Heels and The Seams can be found on their respective Facebook pages.
When artists go solo or come around sporting a new band the results can split three ways. They might come back sounding pretty much like they did when they left, which sometimes turns out well (I guess she really was the band …) or leads to disaster (hm, he really should have stuck it out with the other guys …). But sometimes they return with a markedly different sound, a result that some find disappointing but I often find refreshing and exciting. This post features three different artists defying expectations on their second time around.
Jim Adkins is the lead singer for Jimmy Eat World and you couldn’t get a more different take on him that this solo EP. The title track, “I Will Go,” kicks things off with sprightly clean acoustic guitar rhythm and a lovely swinging melody, later adding horns and electric guitar to what is a solid single. He applies a similar fresh treatment to Beck’s “Don’t Act Like Your Heart Isn’t Hard.” Things get a bit edgier with his interesting take on an Everly Brothers’ b-side, “Give Me a Sweetheart,” featuring a double tracked harmony vocal and a guitar with an ominous rumble. But the EP’s highlight has to be his bleached-out, on-tender-hooks version of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” Adkins deliberately avoids hitting all the familiar notes of Lauper’s mega-hit arrangement, revealing a remarkably flexible tune underneath all Cyndi’s fun flash. I Will Go is a winner: every track on this six song release is value for money.I Will GoGive Me a SweetheartGirls Just Want to Have Fun
Drummers get a bad rap. Other than keeping time, expectations of what they will contribute are often low. They are seldom the singer or songwriter for their respective group. But here Donny Brown defies expectations. As drummer for the grungy nineties Verve Pipe, Brown gradually expanded his influence on the band from just playing his instrument early on to contributing nearly half the songs to their 2001 album Underneath. But nothing could prepare us for Brown’s solo outings where he writes, sings, plays guitar and drums, and goes in a completely different direction than his other gig. Brown has a great soft rock vocal style and the tunes on his first EP, Hess Street, run the gamut from lush spot-on 1970s pop (“Bitter Rival”) to amazing tin pan alley recreations (“Call Me”). A real stand out is the opening track, the McCartney-esque “Lucky Number” with its intriguing melodic twists and Band on the Run lead guitar. His follow up EP, the self-titled Donny Brown, continues in the 1970s vein with tracks like “Life of a Stranger” and “Reach Out” but increases the hook factor on other contributions, echoing just a bit of ELO at times. The marvelous “Now You Can Break My Heart” is a poprock masterpiece that will get in your head and stay there.
Is this the second or third time around for Aimee Mann? Ok, we’re bending the rules here to include The Both, her collaboration with Ted Leo. I can’t help but think that this record sounds like the one she could have recorded with hubby Michael Penn before he banished himself to scoring movies, if their few collaborative singles are anything to go by. But, no matter, this debut is a killer. Of our trio of offerings, it also represents the least departure from the artists’ original formula. Overall, it may sound a bit tougher than Mann’s solo material at times, but the songs are indelibly Mann-esque, with all her clever turns of phrase both lyrically and musically. While there are no weak tracks here I certainly hit replay on “Milwaukee,” “Volunteers of America,” and “Hummingbird.” If you’re a Mann fan, this is a must have. It will also have you checking out Leo’s back catalogue with Ted Leo and the Pharmacists (hint: start with “Bottled in Cork”).MilwaukeeVolunteers of AmericaHummingbird
Talk about missed opportunities – I managed to miss most of these acts when they blew through town. If only I’d paid more attention to the Jim Adkins, Donny Brown and The Both websites. Don’t let that happen to you.
It’s end-of-the-year ‘best of’ list time and we here at Poprock Record wish to join the almost evangelical rush to judgment that accompanies such proceedings, though with a twist. I mean, who am I to say whose records are the best? If I put them up on the blog then you already know I think they are pretty great and worthy of Beatlesque adulation. Still, I do feel like shining an extra light on a few songs that just screamed ‘hit single’ to my 1970s AM radio-trained ears. So instead of a ‘top ten’ list I’ve assembled a list of twelve ‘missing’ hit singles, songs that would easily top the charts in my alternate poprock universe.
Pulling together my twelve apostles of poprock was not an easy task. From the full list of songs featured on the blog in 2016 I singled out the ones actually released in this past calendar year – 59 songs in all! Then reducing that number down to just twelve was painful as there were compelling arguments for keeping any and all of the other 47 as well. But, in the end, cuts were made until just twelve remained. They appear in no particular order and the hotlinks take you to the original posts as they appeared on the blog. These are a dynamite twelve pack, sure proof that melodic rock and roll is far from dead, if somewhat remote from the more conventional charts.
Poprock is primarily a guitar-based genre. Though one definition might define it as the classic rock and roll combo but with an extra accent on melody, that is often accomplished via chiming or ringing electric guitar chords or trebly hooky lead guitar lines. These bands showcase just how guitar drives the poprock sound.
Everything about The Spitfires’ “So Long” says excitement: from the crunchy opening guitar, to the pumping piano that carries the verses, to the heavily accented vocals that echo a bit of the Jam and Billy Bragg. This is a killer performance whose intensity just never lets up. “On My Mind” is another strong track from their debut album, A Thousand Times. The Spitfires call Watford, Hertfordshire home.
Hailing from Australia’s Sunshine Coast, Pop Cult have a indie vibe going with a pair of singles that would have made a fantastic double A-sided 45 back in the day. “Feels Right” has a effective combination of pumping piano, spacey guitar and uber-cool rhythmic lurch while “Gotta Keep Lovin’” is driven by hypnotic background vocals and a solid crashing beat. Both songs exude a Dandy Warhols-like élan, i.e. super catchy and oh so cool.
The Rifles are a monumental talent. Over five albums this east London band has honed sonic influences that include Oasis, the Jam, the Clash and host of other late seventies/early eighties bands into their own distinctive sound. Early records No Love Lost and Great Escape have a load of great songs like “She’s the Only One” and “The Great Escape” but things really take off for me with 2011’s Freedom Run. Check out “Long Walk Back” with its textbook perfect opening riff and shimmering vocals that draw you in while the hooks just won’t let go. Why this song didn’t zoom to the top of the charts is beyond me. The whole record is strong but the acoustic “Everline” is also a standout track. Since then two more albums only confirm this band’s strengths as songwriters and performers. 2014’s None the Wiser rocks with “Minute Mile,” a super single, and the lovely “All I Need,” another breezy tuneful acoustic-ish number. The band’s most recent release is 2016’s Big Life and there is no let up in the quality. If it were up to me, I would release “Wall Around Your Heart” as the potential hitmaker.Minute MileWall Around Your Heart
The heads up on today’s material came from that mercurial blogging genius, Best Indie Songs. Make sure to check out his site as you follow up on the Spitfires, Pop Cult, and the Rifles at their own internet locations.
Some people are feeling pretty low. Now seems like a good time to visit the parallel but contemporary universe of Suzanne Vega. I discovered her debut album in the discard pile of the first (and only) commercial radio station I ever worked at in Smithers, British Columbia. It helped me survive that town. There was something poetic and ominous, alienated and soothing about that record. I spent a lot of late nights living within its sonic confines. A poet’s job is to help us cope with a world gone wrong. I think the Vega song for this moment is “When Heroes Go Down” from 1992’s 99.9F. Right now, the hero is not really any person but that sense of hope that people like to have around. It’s a catchy number, despite its message.
There are other people in the Suzanne Vega universe – really anyone with a poetic sense. Leonard Cohen died the other day and some people on Facebook were like ‘what did he ever really do?’ or ‘tea and oranges are just escapism’. I felt sorry for them. Poetry is just politics that is out of phase, deliberately. It directs our attention to things we might not otherwise see, even though they are often right before us. Look Park’s front man Chris Collingwood understands that and excels at character sketches where the protagonist is unaware of just how much they are telling us, i.e. just how unhappy or unfulfilled they are. As one half of the Fountains of Wayne songwriting team, Collingwood honed his craft over a number of records and it shows on his new vehicle’s self titled debut album, particularly on the exquisitely melancholy “Minor is the Lonely Key.”
Another wonderfully unpredictable act are the Franco-American band Freedom Fry, a duo that clearly take themselves only so seriously. Their 2011 debut EP, Let the Games Begin, runs the gamut of influences from electronica to folk pop. Since then they have continued to take a host of musical detours. 2012’s Outlaws maxi-single has them channeling an outlaw vibe, but in two languages. “Bonnie and Clyde” has a lovely strolling quality, a poetically arranged, style-busting ballad that ends all too typically but gets there in an unconventional manner. How wonderful to just go where the muse takes you. Their new single, “Shaky Ground,” is also great, available in three different styles.
Coming back to Leonard Cohen, there is a lot of buzz about his deathbed release, You Want It Darker. Sure, it seems Leonard Cohen great, in that dark poetic sombre singer-songwriter on the edge of death sort of way. But 2014’s Popular Problems ranks as one Cohen’s best for me, both in terms of performance and material. The sardonic “Almost Like the Blues” should put the rest any ‘this guy ain’t political’ rhetoric while “You Got Me Singing” speaks to the power of connection between two people at any age. Musically, “Did I Ever Love You” is my favourite track, mournful and melodic at the same time – it sounds like the end but really it speaks to impact of time spent together.
Let’s end on where we are going. The only way from down is up. Suzanne Vega suggests we may all be the agents of change, though not through obvious means. In “If I Were a Weapon” she eschews the blunt hammer or gun for a needle ‘always pulling on the thread’ that is ‘always making the same point again’. The point is, the stars will align again, and not just in the Suzanne Vega universe.If I Were a Weapon
In this musical universe, digital lucre is one way to show these poets some love. Visit Suzanne Vega, Look Park, Freedom Fry, and Leonard Cohen online to check out their latest (or in Leonard’s case, last) releases and public appearances.
Who doesn’t like a variety pack? Six different choices for your ever changing musical tastes. First up: Birmingham, Alabama’s Act of Congress slather their ‘newgrass’ sound all over the Beatles’ “Paperback Writer” and make it work. This is not an easy song to cover as it has such a signature Beatles’ vocal and musical sound but the band honours just enough of the original arrangement to make their own contributions really stand out. For instance, they nail the ‘paperback writer’ chorus harmony but then bend it in a new direction. The whole performance is solid, with banjo and fiddle somehow matching the rock swing of the original. So many covers of the Beatles rightly elicit a ‘why bother’ response but this one makes the cut.Paperback Writer
“Computer Crimes” by L.A.’s Right the Stars sounds like a bit of bubbly musical champagne to me. The opening guitar riff burbles along, the drum machine sound sets the pace, while the vocals have an effervescent quality. A nice melodic stroll unencumbered by lyrical complexity. The song oozes ‘just have fun’. By contrast, the Mystery Jets’ “Bubblegum” has a warmer sound, more acoustic, but with a killer 1980s organ riff that rings in just at the end of every verse. The chorus has a wonderful ‘sing along with me’ yearning.Computer Crimes
Melvista is the latest EP from Melbourne’s Wesley Fuller and it is a fantastic homage to and reinvention of 1960s and 1970s poprock. The EP is replete with familiar sounds from those great eras but put in the service of contemporary tunes. Great Gary Glitter drums on “Change Your Mind,” killer girl group drum fills and hooks on “Runaway Renee,” while “The Dancer” seems to be channeling a Katy Perry meets 1970s Suzi Quatro match up. But the clear highlight of the EP is its title track. “Melvista” has that slow, oh-so-cool new wave build up in the verses that melts effortlessly into its hooky chorus – this is hit single ear candy.
Taking things to the rockier side, Wolverhampton UK’s Yak have that smoldering Rolling Stones sexy élan thing going that all British rock and roll revival bands are doing these days. Their new single “Semi-Automatic” launches in early with a strong rock lurch that never gives up, but the organ polish applied just after the verses hooks the listener into a broader melodic atmosphere. Turn this up loud and order up a mosh pit for superior enjoyment.
Philadelphia’s Purling Hiss – you have to love the delightfully childish moniker – have made a journey from a kind of noise rock, a deliberately fuzzy and unclear sound, to one of increasing clarity. “Follow You Around” from 2016’s High Bias is a great single, framed around a super catchy guitar hook and background ‘bop bop’ vocals. The song reminds me of latter day Bob Mould material. The development of band’s sound can really be heard from 2013’s Water on Mars and 2014’s Weirdon, particularly on “Mary Bumble Bee,” “Learning Slowly” and “Where’s Sweetboy.” Again, loud is good here.