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Radio 1190 KVCU
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Out of nowhere in 2014, small Montreal-based post-punk group Ought released their debut album More Than Any Other Day to widespread acclaim from critics and music lovers alike. Though the album pulls influence from Talking Heads and The Feelies, the sharp guitars and frantic sing-talk vocals make the record incredibly unique in a sea of modern post-punk acts. After a slew of well-received shows and festivals performances the quartet has released their highly anticipated sophomore release Sun Coming Down. The opening track "Men for Miles" is a high-energy travel through keys and guitars driven by repetitious and riving drums. Like most of the album, the lead singer chooses small lyrical mantras that he repeats over and over to the point where the phrase changes meaning. Most notably in "Beautiful Blue Sky" the lead vocalist repeats and jumbles together the prases "Fancy Seeing you Here" "Beautiful Weather Today" "How's the Church" and "How's the Family" to where they just become an anxious mess of broken words.
Unlike their first record, the spaces of silence are filled with noise and words, which creates a higher sense of claustrophobia and anxiety throughout the span of the album. The record ebbs and flows between tense noisey rockers to eerie slow jams that oddly build until they burst into cacophonies of nervous energy. Each track focuses on different subjects that deal with the struggles of modern life, which explains the anxiety and frustration that the band conveys in their music. In the truest sense of the phrase, Ought pulls influences from the past and present but with their own unique take on post-punk. Sun Coming Down shows a very young band growing in their sound and developing a voice and style that is unmatched by any modern band.
Off the heels of a long stint as Mac Demrco's guitarist, Peter Sagar has been creating his own style of off-kilter pop as Homeshake. Unlike Demarco, Sagar focuses on a sexy, funky and syrupy style of indie pop that's halfway influenced by soft rock and dream pop alike. After a mildly successful debut, Homeshake has returned with an even more dark and smooth sophomore release entitled Midnight Snack. As the title implies, the sound is nocturnal and soft equipped with watery guitars and delicate, lo-fi drum machines. Stand out track "He's Heating Up!" sports squiggly guitar leads that wrap around the beat and vocals, which make for a sublime listening experience. Other tracks focus more of synthesizers that sound strangely similar to "Passing Out the Pieces" by Mac Demarco but not as compelling. Sadly, as a result, Homeshake is just too similar to his previous band to sound unique. Though he does have an ear for pop melody and can create an interesting atmosphere, but sounds too run of the mill to make something truly profound.
Out of Los Angeles, estranged members of the touring bands of Ariel Pink and MacDemarco have joined druggy forces on a new project called Mild High Club. Much like Ariel Pink or Temples, the group of musicians sounds close to a modern, stoned reinterpretation of the early days of Todd Rundgren. On their new album Timeline the group takes a lighthearted and carefree take on psych pop that feels woozy, hazy and very strange. The lead single "Windowpane" features sparkling keys and airy flutes that sound like it's 1963 again. Along this strange journey the group also explores folkier sides of psychedelic music on "Elegy" that would fit perfectly on any Incredible String Band record. The record as a whole stays at a pretty low level of energy throughout and unlike most psych bands, doesn't venture into louder and noisier territory. Sadly, though the lo-fi edge and personality of the record is totally solid, there's not much underneath the surface that Mild High Club can offer. Thank being said, Timeline is a solid and strange trip that would be a great guide for your next trip.