July 21, 2012
Today's Hotness: Youth Pictures Of Florence Henderson, Sun Airway, Michael Quinn
>> We only discovered it about 12 hours ago (as of this writing Friday night), but we're already on our seventh listen to the massive forthcoming 10" EP from Norway's towering post-rock heroes, Youth Pictures Of Florence Henderson. The Oslo-based septet's new collection Small Changes We Hardly Notice, exclusively premiered at Alternative Press here Friday, touts four spine-tingling numbers that deftly synthesize orchestral post-rock sounds with desperate and beautiful, classic midwestern-styled emo. Earnest and intense opener "All I Remember Is Punk Rock" pairs punchy rhythm tracks with shimmering guitars and reverbed horns and strings, but it is the powerfully evocative vocals that will unleash cascades of goosebumps across the listener's skin as gears shift, crescendos blossom, cymbals tear across the top of the mix, horns call like far-off sirens. It's mind-blowing; it's what you wish Built To Spill or Modest Mouse sounded like in this millenium, instead of what they've been doing (you know you do). We last heard from Youth Pictures Of Florence Henderson way back in 2010, when the collective issued a self-titled sophomore set that we wrote about right here. Small Changes We Hardly Notice is being released domestically by Count Your Lucky Star Records, which is taking pre-orders for an August release right here. The Count Your Lucky Stars release is in a limited edition of 500 discs, 150 black and 350 electric blue, that come packaged with a download code. We found an embed of the opening track at Soundcloud (which we hope is legitimately posted there, guys), so do yourself a favor and stream "All I Remember Is Punk Rock" below, and then click over to Count Your Lucky Stars to pre-order the full-release.
>> Long-time readers will recall that we thoroughly enjoyed Pennslvania's scruffy, under-appreciated The A-Sides, a combo that burst out of Scranton in 2005 with a peppy, mod-sprung sound hard to resist. After two full-lengths (the second released by Vagrant), the band splintered and principal members Jon Barthmus and Patrick Marsceill formed futurepop concern Sun Airway, a band also familiar to these electronic pages. We are pleased by recent news that that musical concern will issue Oct. 2 a second full-length of its own titled Soft Fall. The set, which we expect will be packed with gentle electropop boasting big, radio-ready hooks and gauzy atmosphere, will be released by Dead Oceans and a preview track, "Close," surfaced 10 days ago; it has already garnered some 25,000 streams on SoundCloud, and we've embedded the dreamer below. It commences with a revved-up snare drum and faraway but insistent staccato guitar riff before Barthmus layers in syrupy vocals; the sum total could almost be mistaken for some sort of Top 40, Hollywood stadium production. However, a liberal application of plush synths and other tasteful trappings steer "Close" firmly toward the happily emotive, Ecstasy-approved vibes of later New Order, circa their 2001 comeback Get Ready. Sun Airway don't forget their previous '60s influences, either, allowing "Close" to lapse into flashes of psychedelia via some backward guitar noodling and soft cooing. It all makes us eager to hear the entirety of Soft Fall, which you can pre-order from Dead Oceans right here. -- Edward Charlton
>> When we last heard from Michael Quinn he was doing his rootsy indie rock thing in Scranton (that's two blurbs referencing Scranton in a row! Amazing!); he released that Steely Dan cover at the beginning of the year and a year ago he issued a full-length Magico. Mr. Quinn recently got in touch to share his new collection Youngs. The set features recordings Quinn made in the last couple years with collaborators including players from his prior bands Okay Paddy -- which released one of our favorite records of 2006 -- and ...And The Moneynotes. Youngs is a varied set that is perhaps more rock-oriented than Quinn's prior work (we swear there is a sort-of perceptible Joe Walsh thing going on here in a couple places); it also touts a stronger focus on groove, from the strangely electro rhythm of "Hippie Girl" to the jab-and-thump of "Roomy." The clear album highlight is the swinging and melodic, mid-tempo album opener "Ring-in." It's an incredibly pleasing romp with ear-catching vocal melodies, a guitar rave-up just past the two-minute mark, and a recurring and odd little melodic reference to James Taylor's "Your Smiling Face." Youngs is intended in a sense to clear the decks, as Quinn recently relocated to California and is currently in the process of formulating a new band with which to seek auditory nirvana. The album was released via Bandcamp July 2; stream "Ring-in" via the embed below and then click over to grab the entire set.