Queens of the Stone Age – “Emotion Sickness”
There was an era of me running this site when it seemed that half of the local scene, I was hanging around was falling over themselves regarding Queens of the Stone Age. This was during the …Like Clockwork era which was 10 years ago (yikes!). Gosh, “My God Is the Sun” was a banger though. In any case, “Emotion Sickness is the lead single for the band’s forthcoming record In Times New Roman…, out June 16th. This song isn’t as instantly memorable of some of the band’s more well-known hits, but nothing heard here is a surprise. It’s summery stoner rock. Straightforward. Jamworthy. To the point. Crack open your fav brew and zone out to this in the hot midday sun at your next BBQ. This is the right amount of rock to almost piss off your neighbors, but not quite. [featured photo by Andreas Neumann]
blucone – “Reconvene (feat. Ebri Yahloe)”
Should I call blucone alternative R&B or alternative pop? I’m not really sure but I do know that “Reconvene” is a certified smooth as velvet jam. Its relatively short length feels like a resume for what they are capable of, harkening to the old show business adage of “leave ’em wanting more.” Ebri Yahloe’s verse is conversational with just the right amount of pensive cadence and tone – without feeling contrived. The song seems to end a bit prematurely after that verse, begging a repeat listen – which seems to be by design. Nice.
Melodrama Club – “Tennis Games”
I’m always on the hunt for more bands to scratch that itch that Mutemath left when they went on indefinite hiatus. Fortunately, not too far away from me there exists a certain Joe Amadio who enjoys creating in that vein. His latest creative outlet is Melodrama Club, a project that explores ideas that danceable, quirky, and perhaps vaguely unsettling, if their debut single “Tennis Games” is any indication. This is the sort of track that would translate extremely well performed in an immersive gallery setting such as Otherworld or Meow Wolf.
Safari Room – “The Great Outdoors”
A while back I compared Safari Room to Local Natives. Here, I stand by that comparison but the band is taking a heavier, more emotive approach in their newest single “The Great Outdoors.” Frankly, this isn’t a sound that I expected but there’s odd sense of catharsis therein. The band would just as soon fit on a bill with acts like Title Fight or Turnover as they would with the aforementioned Local Natives or The Head and the Heart. “The Great Outdoors” demands the listener to play it loudly. This isn’t the quirky indie rock tune you were expecting.
Teenage Wrist – “Diorama”
Teenage Wrist have risen to be a sleeper alt act in recent years, blending shoegaze, emo and straightforward alt rock influences that make them a hit with both the radio rock and DIY crowds. “Diorama” is a more measured, quiet output from the band. If there ever was a textbook example of acoustic shoegaze, this would be it. “This can never be undone!” is a particularly poignant lyric that will jump out at even a passive listener.
Kim Beyer – “I’m Not Like This”
In alt pop artist Kim Beyer’s recent promos, she’s been warning, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, that “pearls will be clutched” upon the release of this song. Well, calm down Karens – you’ll be able to listen to this unscathed. Or at least you should, anyway. Here, Beyer channels her inner sensuality and her reckoning with it as she ponders what it means to embrace desires that virtually every one of us has. Let’s quit being awkward about it, yeah? And have some fun along the way. That seems to be message here. Who says you can’t heal from old traumas on the dance floor? In any case, Beyer seems to be coming into her own with her authentic, approachable electropop sound.
Public Transit – “Angels at the Gates”
This new indie folk artist mentions in his bio that he lives in the “intersection of faith and lament.” The self-ascribed Fleet Foxes and Sufjan Stevens influences are definitely present here. The song seems to exist in a liminal space between peace and tension. Angels at the Gates is a three-minute mission statement communicating this artist’s intent to exist in an at times uncomfortable paradox, but bring catharsis along the way.
Lone Wild – “Searching For Distraction”
The latest single from Nashville based alt pop rock artist begins with attitude and settles into a somewhat psychedelic groove that would feel at home on more recent Tame Impala record. In the hook, Ashkan Karimi channels his inner Paul Meany, hitting some falsettos in minor keys. As in every Lone Wild song, Karimi’s vocals are assertive without being overpowering. The understated chorus backing into thunderous verses is a compelling effect. Expect a lot more to come from Lone Wild this year and check out his set at Audiofeed Festival on July 2 supporting Joy Electric, Death Therapy and more on the Tuned Up stage.
Cedars Brothers – “Zero G”
Atmospheric meets organic in this latest single from the folktronica duo. This has an easy listening summer vibe and the closer you listen the more you realize is going on. Josh Burton’s vocals ebb and flow in a conversational manner. The band really shines when they delve into their dreamy tendencies, but they embrace their inner hippie well here, too. The song starts with a bang and ends rather quietly, almost as if they want to make sure you’re paying attention before lulling you into a happy go lucky trance.
AJ Eustace – “Midnight”
Right away, Columbus based indie rock artist AJ Eustace take a down to earth, warm approach to songwriting with “Midnight.” The sense here is one of approachability and easy listening with an ever so slight hint of attitude. AJ is a name that floated across our radar after writing about dark pop artist Sarah Cowan, for whom he plays guitar. Here, we hear another side of him and also an alternative method for channeling angst. In his bio he calls out classic and art rock influences. So, he’s definitely an old soul.
Jack Lutz – “Halos”
Jack Lutz, formerly of previous Ohio Band to Watch The Rapid Jags, recently released his debut solo single – an indie pop jaunt fit for fans of Briston Maroney, Dayglow, or Ritt Momney. The airy single is fit for spring and if Jack plays his cards right folks will be adding it to their summer playlists. The guitarwork is here is a bit more reserved, reserving a handful of flourishes for key moments. Lutz’ identity is still somewhat undefined (or unknown) but this song is a pleasant start.