Balance the Light, Bird Dog, Dropkick, Hollywood, Honduras, Out od Love Again, Quiet Corners and Empty Spaces, Squirrel vs. Snake, The Jayhawks, The Ocean and the Sea, The Posies
We interrupt our regularly scheduled blog postings to bring you these breaking recent releases that run the gamut of indie/alt rock, alt country, powerpop and nouveau folk.
Honduras easily get marked off as garage rock punky. Could be the guitars on a few tracks exude that but to my ears there is lot more range to this band than such a label might suggest. Early single “Ace” has a killer clean, hypnotic intro riff that is too smooth to be punk while more recent album tracks like “Off White” show off a band with great instrumental chops. “Hollywood,” their latest single, builds nicely from interesting interplay amongst the guitars into a great tuneful alt-rock sound and song.
Bird Dog take us into a mournful, slightly-discordant harmony vocals direction with “The Ocean and the Sea.” It begins all folky but rocks out just past the middle into the end. The song is catchy but it is the vocal harmonies, reminiscent of Jack and Eliza or the Fleet Foxes, that burn it into your brain.
The Jayhawks are back with a new album and tour. From the band that has produced such standout tracks as “Save It For a Rainy Day,” “Over My Shoulder,” and “Real Light” there appears to be more gas left in the tank. The new single, “Quiet Corners and Empty Spaces,” has all the magic qualities the Jayhawks are known for: sparkling acoustic guitars, smooth harmony vocals, and a devastatingly hooky chorus.
Scotland’s Dropkick have released a lot of material over the past decade, mining an acoustically grounded poprock sound akin to Teenage Fanclub. Six years back they released a fantastic holiday EP of original tunes. Now they’re back with a new album, Balance the Light, which features some of their strongest material. “Out of Love Again” feints with an acoustic opening, only to lurch quickly into poprock mode with great swirling guitars, ‘ooh’ and ‘ah’ background vocals, and plenty of hooks.
Rounding things out is the fantastic new single from The Posies, “Squirrel vs. Snake.” A lush opening gives way to acoustic guitars and vocal phrasing that reminds me of Squeeze in their heyday, only to shift again in the chorus to a more shimmery powerpop sound. And the song even has something to say.
Honduras will be bringing their guitar sound to Toronto’s Adelaide Hall May 4th, while the Jayhawks appear at the Horseshoe Tavern June 11. More information about the touring and recording exploits of Honduras, Bird Dog, The Jayhawks, Dropkick and The Posies can be found on their webpages and Facebook accounts.