May 22, 2008

Today's Hotness: Bridges And Powerlines, Darker My Love

Bridges And Powerlines
>> [PHOTO: Ana Blohm] One record we've been enjoying no small amount recently was sent to us by the fellows in Bridges And Powerlines. The set is called Ghost Types and it is filled with big, melodic rockers. Point of interest: Keyboardist and singer Andrew Wood sounds inescapably like Robert Pollard in places, but that, of course, is a plus. Musically the three-year-old foursome leans heavier on synth in places than GBV ever has, but Bridges And Powerlines is no synth-rock act. Instead, the band crafts strident numbers with balanced arrangements that allow push and pull between guitar, bass and synth, with urgent vocal harmonies embellishing the entire proceedings. And there's still room for some quirk, like the stumbling, "Caterpillar"-esque piano in the verse of "Half A Cent" (or did we just hallucinate that?). Album closer "The Last Equation" simply smokes. Another favorite, "Middle Child," swoops in and out on fuzzy synth slithers and then drops nicely into a rocking gear with a descending vocal hook that sounds lifted from the old, good R.E.M. The band has graciously allowed us to post that track, so grab it below and have a listen. Ghost Types was issued April 22 on Citybird.

Bridges And Tunnels -- "Middle Child" -- Ghost Types
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[buy Ghost Types from Insound right here]

>> We've been waiting so long -- so very long -- to hear the follow-up to Darker My Love's self-titled set that we'll take anything at this point. While it may not be true, we feel like we hear from a publicist every few months promising that the thing is coming out, yet still there is nothing. Given the precarious position the record business has found itself in this decade, perhaps it should be no surprise that we finally are hearing something from the L.A.-based nu-gaze rockers via a sneaker company promotion. PF Flyers has partnered with Dangerbird Records to promote "the archival release of the 1956 Bob Cousy All-American," and as part of the promotion four bands including Darker My Love have recorded a version of a song originally released in 1956. DML's tune is a slow, reverby take on Sanford Clark's rockabilly hit "The Fool," and it is totally righteous in a sorta Mogwai (i.e. stoned), sorta Spiritualized (i.e. reverent) kinda way. We're posting "The Fool" below; three additional tracks from other Dangerbird acts can be had right here. And for the record, we reviewed Darker My Love's self-titled set here in 2006.

Darker My Love -- "The Fool" -- PF Flyers Modern 56 Promotion
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[more free rock and roll music right here]

>> Former Small Factory/Godrays fronter Alex Kemp has just posted a new track to his MySpace dojo right here. "From Someone Who Knows" has a jazzy piano lead and omniscient strings riding the mix, but at its core there's Mr. Kemp strumming a guitar and, if you want, you can sort of hear a Small Factory song hiding in there. But the thing is, this arrangement is really good. It feels nice and full like a plastic bag holding cool water. It's been a while since we checked in on Mr. Kemp's goings on, so there are a few other tunes posted at MySpace that were new to us. One we've heard before, "Misery Of Others," is available for download, so we're posting it below. The sum total of all this new music gives us hope that this guy will finally get a record out. As we reported here many moons ago when we wrote under someone else's shingle, Kemp had been playing with Chicago synth-poppers Assassins.

Alex Kemp -- "Misery Of Others" -- MySpace download
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