It’s about time we got back into this, with the summer dwindling away on us. Here are the tops of the pops when it comes to the sessions that we posted over at Daytrotter this week. Enjoy the hell out of them.
The most pleasant thing that I walked into at SXSW this past March was a Sound Dessert showcase at a killer new bar on the east side called Stay Gold. The lineup was loaded with great bands and then there was a mystery guest who came out, sat down at his keyboard and mumbling in such a way between songs that the entire stunning set went by and the only way we found out who we were hearing was when he said he’d recently been on tour with James Vincent McMorrow. We looked James’ dates up and finally realized that we were seeing Kevin Garrett. His EP is the record I’ve listened to most since March. There’s an element of Justin Vernon in these love songs, but there are plenty of ingenious bits to these gorgeous pieces to show that there’s an original voice here. Listen to Kevin Garrett’s session here.
Every musician who has ever existed has a California song, whether it’s explicit or whether it’s implied in different ways. It’s that land of friendly scenery, promise and natural vitamin C that makes everyone think of it as a glorious fountain of youth and success. There’s a burnt in longing for that place—even if one’s never been there—and there’s an unavoidable emptiness when one’s been torn from it or been gone from it for longer than would be ideal. It holds sway and serve, seducing minds and eyes for lifetimes, it seems, a preoccupation that just continues resounding and mesmerizing, luring people to the salty surf, the silver screen’s foothills and to a place where there’s bottomless urgency and a romantic notion of the good life that doesn’t die down. Colin Hay has lived in California for a number of years now, while still keeping a home back in his homeland of Australia, but he’s found that he’s been swept into all of these feelings of unbridled charm of the place where the wine’s thick like a fog and the waters are chilled appropriately with lust. Hay seems to dig into such sentiments that cannot be touched by hands. He paints landscapes of such beauty, making them sound instantly nostalgic and wonderfully melancholic. He makes happiness into something like sadness that you still want to be around, that you still want to experience. Check out Colin Hay’s newest session here.
Whether I want to or not, with young kids, I’m forced into listening to Top 40 radio stations and knowing way more than I think I should about what “the kids are listening to.” Some of what gets pushed to radio is decent enough. Most of it is not. It’s just an opinion, sure, and not an original one at that. But, what listening to the radio makes you understand is exactly what could be on the radio, what could be the next HAIM or Tove Lo. I heard it recently with Ryn Weaver. It was so obvious. And Chelsea Lankes is another of those no-brainers. She seems destined to hit hard in that way that we could champion. If “Secret” or “Too Young To Fall In Long” were ever to pop onto my radio, I’d be A-OK with that. She’s got something special going on. Check out Chelsea Lankes’ session here.
A Minnesota band that comes at you like a force live, these guys have a way of putting the spirit of the small town, the bonfires, the cheap beer, and closing down the bar five nights out of the week into everything they do. Their songs are anthems for the bearded and the penny dry. They are anthems for the lowdown fellows and their big dreams. They are anthems for the stuck and the churning. When you get to the other side of any of these songs, you’re feeling buzzed but strangely steadier than you were when you went in. Check out The 4onthefloor’s session here.
They sing, “Flesh is flesh and blood is life,” on this session and the thoughts of bodies and people and what makes them pump, what makes them work is all over these Arcade Fire-sounding songs. Listen to Sundara Karma’s session here.
With a cutting and heartbreakingly honest voice, Long makes us feel like he’s dragging us into a bunch of forsaken lives that we’ll never get off our skin. The storytelling here is mighty strong. Check out Bobby Long’s second Daytrotter session here.
Of Sage Francis’ Strange Famous crew, B. Dolan takes us here to a land of desert-leaning agitation. It’s a place where the winds are kicking up and the sand is flying, ticking off the skin and grinding people down, wearing on them. At some point—at the point where Dolan chimes in—they will either fight for themselves or they will keep getting pelted. Dolan never takes anything sitting down and these swift kicks to the gut are evidence of this and his sharp, acidy tongue. Listen to B. Dolan’s session here.
It’s been a few weeks since I gave out any recommendations. I’ve just been storing them up. This is what I’ve found that I’ve really liked over the last few weeks: FANS, Blue Heater, Fleurie, Dilly Dally, SLUG, Champagne Charlie, ALMA, Pleasure Beach, Phill Reynolds, Zach Schmidt, Poema, King Cardinal, Viola Beach, Rev Gusto, Bearcoon, LOREN, Sweet Baboo, Den-Mate, Twain, AJ Woods, Wildewood, KAPTAN, Midriffs, Bones & Beeker, Gwenno, Tall Heights, Janne Schra, Pertini, Graveyard Club, Sterling Fox, Baby Strange, Cape Snow, Becca Mancari, The High Divers, Radio Birds, Wild Fur, Mike Flanging, SVRCINA, Jean Co., Monday Mourners, Phil Beaudreau, Jensen Memos, Miya Folick, Nerina Pallot, Milk & Bone, Bassh, Donovan Wolfington, and Lost Dog Street Band. Now get out there and have yourself a week!