Cotton Mather “Young Life” EP
Following Cotton Mather’s Wild Kingdom album from April, bandleader Robert Harrison’s ambitious goal of his “Songs From The I Ching” project is near the halfway point. The project includes writing 64 tracks, one for each hexagram of the I Ching, the ancient text which he refers to as an “extraordinary book about ordinary life”
Young Life E.P. adds six more originals to the project and its sadness is apparent as these are the final recordings with the band’s late bassist, George Reiff, who’d been with them since the Kontiki days.“Mighty Girl” is a standout with a jangling riffs and poignant chorus. “Dutch Light” continues the somber tone, with the sole rocking songs here “Eleanor Plunge” and “Shepherds Purse.” Harrison’s music is consistently excellent and highly recommended.
Orouni “Somewhere In Dreamland” EP
French band Orouni isn’t power pop, but it is a lot of fun to listen to. I enjoyed “Makeshift Fans” from their 2014 album Grand Tour. This EP was a little more mainstream reinterpretation with French-British artist Emma Broughton (Bon Iver, Lisa Hannigan) providing the lead vocals. The distinct percussion is what stands out, “Speedball” is a quick bouncy tune, and “Unca Pugilator” has catchy synth chorus with Emma’s light as air vocals. This short EP is definitely worth exploring.
You’re Among Friends “One Day You’ll Look Back” EP
This Cleveland rock band has been described as “bluesy power pop,” but it sounds to me a little bit like a really loose version of Steely Dan, the jazzy “I’m Happier Now” and funky wah-wah chords on “Back To Work Tomorrow” are worth exploring. The production is a little muddy, but the band does a good job in composing each song. And you can explore the band’s entire output on Bandcamp and you can name-your-price.