Jon Lindsay “Summer Wilderness Program”
Portland musician Lindsay now makes his home in North Carolina and gives us a unique pop vision with his latest Summer Wilderness Program. Opening with “Oceans More” – it has guitar and synth chord shifts along the lines of Apples in Stereo and 10cc. Exciting hooks seem to come easy to Jon with the angular melody in “Tiny Violins” and the accessible “Margot” shines with its catchy lyrics and simple guitar strums.
“King Of The Offseason” a nod to the beach in a sing-song daydream. The momentum is cut off at the LP mid point with “Where Love Goes To Die” with heavy synth bass and lagging rhythm. Like The Black Keyes meets Field Music, the next big stroke of genius is “Princess Street” and perfect mix of storyline and sweet harmonies. I have to be honest, this one is a real grower and requires a few listens to stick. But stick it does and that makes it a indie gem you shouldn’t miss.
Kjarr is a new psychedelic pop project by Kjartan F. Ólafsson, formerly songwriter and producer with acclaimed Icelandic group, Ampop and currently keyboard player with Icelandic rockers, Leaves. This is pop on a grand orchestral scale with a huge range of influences from Abba and Eno, The Beach Boys to ELO, so it’s a very eclectic mix. The opener is in native Icelanic, “Beðið eftir sumrinu” rings forth like a Wondermints or Paul Steel epic pop track. This got my attention, and I didn’t expect the vaudeville piano and blues horn of “Lottery,” like a Ray Davies dirge with Broadway gloss.
It’s all a pleasant surprise, and the low key space ballad “The Shelf” is stuffed full with horns, orchestral echo, and reminded me of Smash Mouth’s “Waste.” The ambitious compositions don’t always work, on “Quantum Leap” its got swelling harmonies with bells and whistles but it’s missing a memorable hook. “Confide In You” does a much better job, with it’s Beatlesque guitar break and anthemic chorus. Fans of the above influences will definitely want to get this as it hits more often than it misses. Highly Recommended.