It’s time for another delicious tune round up and this time… we’re serving deep cuts. Over the past few years, we’ve struggled to find a lot of full albums to really love as a whole. But, this year has been different. This Blue Tape Special is a magical dish of tracks from our favorite albums of the year thus far. Varying in genre and tone, these lesser known tracks are (in our opinion) the shining gems of their collection. If you like these, then we’d encourage you to dive into the rest of the albums as well.
Former sulky bedroom folk pop purveyors turned soured, articulate rockers, Melbourne’s Tiny Little Houses made an album of angsty anthems that still yearn just as much as their last two EPs. But now, the music is louder and more direct. “Short Hair” is a song for the outsiders and the “squares” who still like to have fun. The duality of the subdued verses in contrast with the blasting chorus makes the song an exciting, relatable ride. Frontman Caleb Karvountzis always has a lot to say but the visual snapshots that come from the lyrics in this one are particularly vivid.
Live in Philly: Maybe soon…?
This whole album is just incredible. Each song is as delicately heartbreaking as the one before. But, the pinnacle of the Portland singer-songwriter’s debut album is song number two: “The Bug Collector.” A distant ballad that progresses gently, the song is an imaginative tale of insect ridden terror. As listeners, we get an outside look at the pesky bugs and the textures and unexpected instruments that make them come to life among the plucked melody. All of the layers are given ample space to expand over time until this unsettling tale reaches a full sense of serenity.
Live in Philly: She’ll be back soon.
For many fans here in Philly especially, Hop Along albums mean a lot. This particular album has connected our local community in palpable excitement and adoration once again. On stage at WXPN’s Free At Noon concert two Friday’s ago, Francis Quinlan let the audience know that it had been 14 years since she started this project. You can hear all 14 years of experience come together in a new version of the band’s sound with the most polish and finesse yet. “Somewhere a Judge” is a great example of the new way that Quinlan has coated her close examination of inner turmoil and worldly injustice in upbeat pop with a hint of grit. It’s worth taking a look at the lyrics just to see how seamlessly she can weave darkness into sonic glow. And yet somehow, the song has an eternally sunny bounce with a clever little guitar riff trickling amongst it all.
Live in Philly: May 19th at Union Transfer but its (understandably) sold out.
Caroline Rose loves a good bit of satire. Her fresh, poppy sound on this new album is the ideal vehicle for her commentary on her own life and that of those around her. “Cry!” is song sung back to herself but also to every girl. It flirts with the line of not being afraid to cry and also being afraid to succumb to the stereotype of the weak, little girl. The coordinated slap of the synth and bassline give this tune the backbone that it needs before sailing into a chorus that would probably be scream sung if this wasn’t a pop song. You can really feel the tears and the beat in your feet at the same time.
Live in Philly: May 24th at Union Transfer opening for Maggie Rogers
Before this album, we hadn’t heard from Brooklyn’s Acid Dad in awhile. A searing, psychedelic garage rock band we love to love, Acid Dad have really matured to spread out their raucous sound smoothly across their debut album. “Mr. Major” shines with a dusty sort of warmth that has only punches of their full power. Listening to that guitar slowly and unsteadily wind up is addicting and as intoxicating as the rise in energy of the track itself.
Live in Philly: Just missed their Philly show this weekend but they’ll be back!