Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Three for Wednesday: Bridges & Blinking Lights, Polar Bear, Mighty Tiger

Bridges & Blinking Lights -

Denton, Texas rock outfit Bridges & Blinding Lights are a difficult bunch to pin down stylistically, but of course that's part of what makes them fun. I'd say "Southern shoegaze indie rock," but there's such a wealth of influences at play here it's impossible to find the perfect descriptor. So while comparisons escape me, I'll just say that you should check out the band's sophomore effort, Heroes, Guns & Snakes as soon as possible. Behind raspy-voiced singer/songwriter Jake Wilganowski, the quartet have created a more than solid rock 'n' roll record that blends pop sensibility with gritty style for strange and compelling results - like the riff-tastic opener "Undercover," the country-tinged title track, and the smoothly rolling "Great Unknown." The musicianship throughout the album is top notch, and with way the entire thing works so cohesively is notable as well, making Heroes, Guns & Snakes one of my favorite "unheard of" records I've heard this year. Get acquainted with these guys, you'll thank me for it.

Download one of my favorites, "Undercover"


Polar Bear -

To be honest, I don't know enough about jazz music to write about it intelligently, but I can certainly recommend to you English jazz quintet Polar Bear and their new album, Peepers. Polar Bear is led by percussionist Sebastian Rochford, and includes saxophonists Pete Wareham and Mark Lockheart, double bassist Tom Herbert and guitarist Leafcutter John. Some of those names may be familiar to you, though regardless of what you know about the musicians involved, the intriguing blend of traditional and free jazz elements on songs like the clattering "Drunken Pharaoh" and the more subtle, slinky "Want to Believe Anything" will likely excite any adventurous listener. It's definitely not easy going, but with each listen Peepers reveals further detail, and the immense talent of these musicians makes this a thoroughly fascinating set of tunes. Recommended for modern jazz fans or anyone looking for something unique and left of center.

Listen/Download the track "Peepers"


Mighty Tiger -

Mighty Tiger, currently hailing from Seattle, is the latest in a long line of attention-grabbing indie rock bands operating out of the Northwest. Their debut full-length, Western Theater, was recently released and is an enjoyably varied indie rock record, one that showcases the band's many talents and ideas with songs ranging from the melodic piano-pop tune "33 1/3" to the Oriental-sounding ballad "Chibi Girl" to the winding rocker "The Most American Thing in America." Though the group brings to mind a number of their alt-rock contemporaries, they also seek to establish their own personality and style throughout their first record, succeeding often enough that Western Theater feels fresh and is consistently enjoyable for its 52 minutes. With plentiful harmonies, catchy riffs and intelligently constructed tunes, Mighty Tiger is one to keep an eye on - I imagine they'll continue to impress long after this solid debut.

Download "33 1/3"