Sidewalk Dave- Hard On Romance
Sidewalk Dave is a good guy. I've known him for a while through a mutual friend who works with Dave at Miya's Sushi, a sushi restaurant so good I will not try to do it justice in such a small amount of space. I have seen Dave perform a few times now, and, as I documented in my first CMJ post, he's switched his style up from folk to rock & roll in the time I've known him, which I consider to be quite a good move. According to his website's bio, Dave was kicked out of his 7th-grade band for improvising during shows for their parents, and broke up his college "pretentious prog-rock band" after he was arrested for possession of LSD. Now he's doing what he wants, making music that expresses who he is, rather than trying to please anyone. From talking to Dave, I've gotten a sense that he's in this for the love of the music. And he's making some excellent music here.
Try #s 2 + 8 ("Something About Me", "Soft Portal")
Sky Ferreira- Ghost
We also got to see Sky Ferreira at CMJ, though in her case, I just barely got to catch a glimmer of her piercing blonde hair, as her set at Piano's was packed to capacity. Soon after CMJ, Pitchfork said of Ferreira: It's official: she's the year's next big latent potential. " Also in that Pitchfork article: mention of her childhood friendship with Michael Jackson and of a tweet by Katy Perry of the then-17 Ferreira holding a bottle of vodka, along with the quote:"I like em right before they’re famous… Fresh meeeat." For a girl with that kind of backstory, Ferreira, now 20, seems surprisingly grounded and poised to blow up on her own terms, not as some pre-fabricated pop star. Her outstanding single off this EP, "Everything Is Embarrassing" sounds like the assured work of a veteran singer/songwriter who knows how to make a great pop song. In fact, if I were to compare her to anyone, it would be veteran Swedish pop goddess, Robyn, or my new favorite Swedish pop combo Niki and the Dove. This is catchy pop with soul, far from the corporate garbage you might hear on the right side of your dial.
Try #s 1 + 5 ("Sad Dream" + "Everything Is Embarrassing")
Check out Fletcher C. Johnson, Natural Child, King Tuff, and The Barbaras after the jump...
Fletcher C. Johnson- Salutations
This is one of 25 cassettes that Burger Records sent to our station. Burger is a very cool record label that releases garage, psych, punk, and generally weird albums, many of which are cassette-only. I have yet to be disappointed by anything I've heard from the label, and Salutations is no exception. Johnson is a member of King Tuff's group, and, as much as I like this year's King Tuff, this one might actually be better. Like Tuff, Johnson has a great ear for catchy pop melodies, but will also speed things up on garage-y tunes like "Wasted Boys."
Try #s 2,3,8,10 ("Wasted Boys", "Send Me Your Love", "Happy Birthday", "Radio High")
Natural Child- For the Love of the Game
Natural Child is my favorite of the Burger bands. Burger provides some often-hilarious genre descriptions on their cassettes. The best is For the Love of the Game's: "Whiskey-soaked Doobie-smoked Boogie rock." That's right on the money. Natural Child are a band from Nashville who play the hell out of 70s-style rock & roll and don't give a damn about doing nothing else. This is the sound of a great band having a great time.
Try #s 2 + 3 ("She Got a Mind" + "Baby")
King Tuff- "Screaming Skull" b/w "Love Potion"
As mentioned above, King Tuff knows how to make some catchy, catchy garage-pop. He sent this one in on vinyl, along with a note that says "WESU Rocks!" Well, just check out the album art for visual proof that King Tuff, too, rocks. "Screaming Skull" is also a very fun song.
Try #1 ("Screaming Skull")
The Barbaras- 2006-2008
If you, like me, are a sucker for exuberant, fun, catchy garage-pop, then this has been a good couple of weeks. Here's a series of long-rumored-to-be-lost recordings by members of Jay Reatard's old backing band. If you've listened to that man's (RIP) oeuvre, you know that his band made some astoundingly awesome, undeniably foot-stomping rock & roll. This compilation matches that quality. Reatard produced these songs, but after two of the band members quit his band, he claimed to have destroyed their songs in retaliation. Thankfully for us, he was bluffing.
Try #s 1 + 5 ("Day At The Shrine" + "Superball")