My musical cup runneth over. There always seems to be a surplus of great music to write about and only so many dedicated blog hours to get it all in. So straight to business. This instalment of breaking news sees the return of some old favourites and the discovery of some amazing new talents.
Dan Rico is back with Nobody Knows, proving with this dynamic 11 minute EP that he is much more than a one album wonder. The familiar elements are all there – the neo-1970s pastiche of glam and 1950s rock and roll – with a few new twists. Opening track “Love in Vain” gets the party started with its insistent boogie beat but Rico blows the doors off with a killer hook at the 40 second mark that will have you hitting rewind almost immediately. “Nobody Knows” captures that border line 1970s punk-cum-garage rock sound with a nice guitar line. Rounding out the EP is “Rock-a-bye” with its hints of pop psychedelia and the mild melodrama of “Roxy Goddamn.”
Coventry’s The Primitives also have a new EP out, New Thrills, and from the opening riff of “I’ll Trust the Wind” you know you’re about to get just what you came for: catchy melodies, ringing guitars, and Tracy Tracy’s cool but understated pop vocals. All four tracks are the high quality 1960s-inspired poprock fare you’ve come to expect from this combo but check out the distinctive echo-y guitar sound and hooks on “Same Stuff” and lead guitarist Paul Court’s nice vocal turn on the chirpy “Oh Honey Sweet.” I could write and write about how great this band is but, really, it’s all there in the recordings. Just hit play.
On the new discovery front, Richard Turgeon is a modern everyman: successful purveyor of image and communication skills, music business ‘how to’ book writer, novelist, multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter, as well as suburban husband and father. He put together his latest record, Between the Spaces, literally between the spaces of his busy work and home life, ‘mostly on nights and weekends’ as he says on his website. The album kicks off with the very fun “Bigfoot’s an Alien” but really gets into gear for me with pristine poprock of “Bad Seed,” a driving number that reminds me of Matthew Sweet. “I Don’t Need You” opens with a great guitar hook and has a super sing-a-long chorus. The whole album is pretty solid, full of well-crafted tunes but, if pressed, I find myself most partial to the above-mentioned selections as well as “Watch Me Now” and “Frostbites.”
Our last breaking new discovery is Cait Brennan. New to me, it appears, because there is a hell of lot written about her first record and unusual career path on the ole internet (thanks to I Don’t Hear a Single for the tip). And the hype is dead on – Brennan is a major talent in both the singing and songwriting department. “Underworld” from her debut album, Debutante, demonstrates this perfectly: the song oozes classic, soon-to-be-covered-by-Rod-Stewart-and-Tony-Bennett kinda good. Her new record is equally impressive, though perhaps more in the poprock vein this time around, much to the delight of this particular blog. “He Knows Too Much” is a wonderful single, from its breathy opening vocal line, to its clever lyrics, to the drop dead perfect musical arrangement. Brennan’s vocals – both the lead and backing – nail all the hooks, while being just faintly reminiscent of Neil Finn’s vocal timbre and phrasing. Another highlight is the sardonic “Benedict Cumberbach” with its Beatlesque roll out and Split Enz-like manic chorus. But this is just scratching the surface of what is here. This record is sure to be on a lot of ‘Best of 2017’ lists come year’s end. He Knows Too MuchUnderworld