Montreal's Let Us Out is an exciting band who's short and to the point songs are fueled by powerful vocals and a distorted power chord guitar attack. Opening track "Drunken Eyes" combines a primal punk rock energy with atmospheric pop sounds that channel the likes of The Darling Buds and The Primitives. "Poison Ivy" starts with a Dead Boys punk rock n roll feel that also reminds me of early Blondie while the bass guitar in "Things I Shouldn't Say" adds a bit of Joy Division flavor to the mix alongside raunchy guitars an uptempo beat and inviting vocals. "Voices" may be the most promising track of the four as it combines all of the best elements of the bands sound crafting an enigmatic mix of post punk, alternative rock and indie pop. A stellar release from an excellent new band that leaves me wanting more.
Mantra Phase "Mirror Tapes" L.P. (mantraphase.bandcamp.com)
I absolutely love this debut release from Texas based experimental, dream pop unit Mantra Phase. The opening chords of "You Form My Husk" set a pleasurable mood that combines a lo-fi charm and jovial vibe backed by a swirling whirlwind of seductive sound. The droning fuzzed out guitar tones and haunting noises on "Power Grief" come off like a lost track from Sonic Youth's "Confusion Is Sex" while "Crucial" has a soothing presence that's vibrantly psychedelic. The bare bones drum machine beat and matter of fact vocals on "Otherside" quickly give way to a massive wave of intriguing noise that glides into a haunting hypnotic guitar riff. "A Few Good Dogs Lost Their Way" is clearly one of the records stand out tracks as it's random wash of keyboards and minimal vocals set the scene of a beautifully constructed landscape. The Lou Reed like "Gone" emits an essence of shimmering darkness with it's marching beat and muscular rhythm and the challenging "Jet Black" really pushes the envelope further into dream land building highly textured layers of sound and a siren like rhythmic force. The album closes with the cryptic tones of "Pecking At The Blood". It's spine chilling demeanor comes off like a piece of lost psychedelic cinema. An outstanding accomplishment of experimental musical bliss from an artist that's truly on the rise.
The high energy sounds of Hello I'm Sorry are also highly contagious. Their latest album "Benevolence" is packed with lo-fi blasts of guitar sure to set you into a rock n roll frenzy. From the captivating sounds of the opening notes of "Be OK" to the dreamy flow of "Honest Glo" it's damn near impossible not to loose yourself in the hook fueled world this band has created. Stand out track "Tall Lanky Sad Guy" is just down right amazing. It's climbing melodies and layers of jangling guitars are sure to uplift your spirits like that unexpected meet up you have with an old friend on a random Summer day. "Home" keeps things at a high energy pace but adds a moody twist. Things slow down on "Break (Tribute To Ease)" with it's drawn out chords and gritty production that echoes the spirits of Guided By Voices and Pavement. The distorted bass line of "Sleep By The Phone" gives an added push to this charming three chord rocker before winding things down with the spaced out folk ballad "Coral Blue". Overall an excellent collection of well put together free spirited rock n roll.
Huff This! "Cover The Roses" Single (huffthis.bandcamp.com) (alisonclancy.com)
"Cover The Roses", the latest single from the Alison Clancy led project Huff This! is an alluring mind bender highlighted by stimulating keyboards, Erica Mancini's driving beat and Clancy's beautiful vocals. There is an evocative presence throughout the track that serves as a guide through dream like territories that are both colorful and dark. Producer Owen O'Mahony also contributes some stellar guitar sounds that move with petrifying appeal while the additional vocals and keys from Allison Jones put everything over the top making this one of the standout singles of the year.
Classic surf sounds is what you get on this five song E.P. from Melbourne's LaneWaves. "Clean Break" and "Savage Detective" are full of jangling, crisp guitars and infectious beats accompanied by a fitting laid back vocal style. "Budgy Smuggler" is more intricate with layers of full flowing chords and reverb filled walk downs that echo the spirit of classic surf bands like The Ventures and The Trashmen. "Trying Not To Loose My Head" and "The Beast" round out this promising E.P. that's sure to satisfy your need for a blast of high energy surf injected rock n roll.
The Waking Life "American Darling" LP (wakinglifenc.bandcamp.com)
Hailing from Wilmington North Carolina, The Waking Life make stunningly beautiful soundscapes full of sonic twists and turns. "Big Sky Daydream" comes off like an orchestra of primitive computers who are all trying to speak to each other in some type of ancient dialect.The delicate tones of "Meadow" translate like the first rays of sun on an early Sunday morning. Things get a bit more abrasive during the opening sounds of "In Orbit" before a wash of soothing tones and flourishing textures provide a soundtrack fitting for what you might find swirling around the basement of a mystical mansion. "Non-Place" makes me think what it be like if the dinosaurs came back to life and freely roamed the earth once again. It's got a huge sound to it that's both organic, mechanical and psychologically complex while the peaceful sounds of "The Farm" ring out like an ensemble of ghosts singing in harmony. The album closes with some ominous piano playing and what sounds like a combination of a moving city and animals frolicking in a field. It's almost jazz like and I find it a fitting ending to this epic collection of highly expressive experimental works. I would also recommend this album be enjoyed in a setting where you can listen to it from start to finish without interruption. Headphones are highly encouraged.