Spring Tigers -
Learning that upcoming pop-rock band Spring Tigers hail from Athens, Georgia, I was initially a bit confused. Though there's no shortage of U.S. bands seeking to mimic Brit-pop artists even down to their charming accents, Spring Tigers really seemed distinctly and genuinely British. The mystery was solved when I found that singer/songwriter/guitarist Kris Barratt is - in fact - the real deal, though he's spent some time now in the States, where he met the rest of the band that would become Spring Tigers. The band's self-titled debut EP (or mini-LP, as the band calls it) - filled with big vocal hooks, buoyant guitars, and restless keys - has become a new favorite of mine over the past couple weeks. Tracks like "Just Suggesting," with its joyous energy and extremely infectious refrain, and the bouncy 80s-pop rocker "Beep Beep" make this first effort one that is consistently compelling and fun - boding excellent things for this group's future. Definitely check out some links below - I highly recommend these exciting newcomers.
Just Suggesting (MP3)
New Improved Formula (MP3)
CFCF is one Michael Silver, a twenty-something Canadian electronica artist who has built some impressive hype around his full-length debut album, Continent, which was just released today. Silver has already made something of a name for himself with a contest-wining remix of Crystal Castles' "Air War" as well as official remixes for bands like HEALTH and The Presets. Fortunately, his new album makes good on the promise shown in his earlier material, offering a stylistically diverse set of tunes that borrows from myriad influences yet remains remarkably cohesive. Songs like the imaginative, club-ready Fleetwood Mac cover "Big Love" and the decidedly 80s synth-pop tune "Invitation to Love" showcase Silver's impressive compositional abilities, and while he rarely features himself on vocals, he mentioned to Pitchfork recently that he's reaching out to several artists for more vocal-centric work in the future, which should be amazing. Continent is sometimes contemplative ("You Hear Colours"), frequently danceable ("Monolith") and always captivating. If you haven't yet, you'll be hearing much more about and from CFCF very soon.
Bryan Scary and the Shredding Tears-
Bryan Scary recorded his first album, The Shredding Tears, almost entirely by himself, but soon formed a full band to work on his second effort, Flight of the Knife, a strange concept album centered around the mission of a fearless airship pilot. Still, even with the release of a new EP - Mad Valentines - Scary and company remain mostly (and criminally) undiscovered. And that's a real shame given the quality of the music on the new record, which mixes glam-rock, psychedelia, and classic pop into a delightfully odd and genuinely fun blend. There's plenty of variation within the six tracks of the EP - opener and first single "Andromeda's Eyes" features hyperactive piano and spastic guitar lines under Scary's earnest tenor voice, while "(It's A) Gambler's Whirl" takes a more deliberate, funkier approach and "Maria Saint Claire" is a Beatlesque pop tune. And everything works well enough that Mad Valentines serves as a good introduction to the band if you haven't heard them before, or a welcome return if you're already a fan.
Andromeda's Eyes (Zipped MP3)