EP Reviews: Loop Line, Suntrodden and Animal Daydream

Loop Line

Loop Line “Wakes” EP

We covered Loop Line’s debut not so long ago, now Luke and Paul return with another catchy EP. “Nothing About You” features blistering guitar spurts with echoing harmonies which fans of Weezer would appreciate. Next we get the pensive rhythm of “Grin” where the two vocals and instruments (guitar and keys) collaborate uneasily. “Parts Unknown” has a lovely fuzz guitar sound and Beach Boys-like backing vocals, but the lead melody doesn’t quite standout. “Dusty Keys” fares much better, and overall this is worth checking out. Get a “name-your-price” download at Bandcamp.

Amazon

The Expected

Suntrodden “Suntrodden I ” EP

Atlanta native Erik Stephansson (aka Suntrodden) delivers minimalist pop of  with a light vocal that recalls Elliot Smith or Beach House. “Sunrise To Sunset” uses simple guitar chords, shakers and tambourines to build the warm atmosphere. “Float Away” is a wistful ballad about the loss of control, but hope emerges in “It’s Never Over” a gentle lullaby for Erik’s infant son. The relaxed sounds feel like the calm before a storm brews — and the music has that sense of anticipation. Experience it.

Amazon

The Expected

Animal Daydream “Citrus” EP

Animal Daydream is Daniel Fridlund Brandt and Alexander Wahl, a soft rock duo from Gothenburg Sweden. The highly addictive West Coast style of the jangling guitars on the title track are very much like a hybrid of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Teenage Fanclub. “Sun (Turn Around)” has a magical pop-pysche chorus with its cascading bass line and “All That You Can Give” has rich thick harmonies and a deep percussive sound that recalls The Association. “In My Room” gets a little more into spacey folk rock, but overall this is a band to keep your eye on. Highly Recommended.

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Tuesday Freebies: Hector and The Leaves, Matt Duncan, Vista Blue

Hector and The Leaves – Some nice mellow tunes from Tom Hector, and he really does wonders with Matt Williams (The Brigadier) production help. Check out the sweet harmonies on “Loved By You” and “Good Times.” Classic influences here from The Beach Boys to The Beatles. Highly Reccomended!

Matt Duncan came out with this last September and I finally got around to checking it out. If you like 70’s styled pop along the lines of Bread or Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds you should give it chance. Gotta love that soft rock vibe on “Tell You What I Know” and “Waking Up.”

Unlike a forgotten fruitcake, you’re sometimes happily surprised to find a holiday gift you didn’t unwrap in December. Vista Blue is a band that combines 60s surf strums, guitar fuzz chords and singalong melodies that recall the Beach Boys, Ramones, and Weezer. They’ve got four Baseball themed EPs and each one is a FREE download. Check it out!

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Torbjorn Petersson and Paul Melancon

Torbjorn Petersson

Torbjorn Petersson “Kool as a Kat”

A series of song fragments sprinkled in with some genuine great tunes, Petersson shines on the shimmering melody of “Lisa Love.” And the layered “Shades of You” has a bit of a Traveling Wilburys vibe with Torbjorn’s understated vocal (which reminds me a little of Pete Shelley.) Although the song sketches are short, they are distractions here, so thankfully most of music that turns out to be full songs are really good.

This was all a project where Torbjorn was challenged to write and record an album in only one month. I’d say it was a success. More highlights include “I’m Telling You Now, ” the McCartneyesque “The Trouble With Love” and the epic closer “What If I Was Wrong.” As another huge bonus, this album is FREE download, so pick it up now!

Bandcamp only

Torbjorn Petersson

Torbjorn Petersson “Summerbound” EP

The following month, Torbjorn produced this follow-up EP and no surprise its just as good as the music made earlier. “Absent Minded Me” has an easy going melody and the catchy “What In The World” has shades of Jeff Lynne that make it a big highlight here. The backing “ba-ba-ba” vocals are also in “Love Went To Paris” a light romance story, and the fast paced message about the power of music are in “Two Minutes of Your Time.” No filler here and Highly Recommended!

Bandcamp only

Paul Melancon

Paul Melancon “Super Rocket X​-​1” EP

Its been a long time since I’ve heard from Atlanta musician Paul Melancon. Well he shakes off the rust and is working on his third solo LP. This EP is just a taste of Melancon’s magic — and its only 2 bucks. “Super Rocket X-1” boast a wicked guitar opening riff that repeats in the chorus that seems influenced by the following artists he covers here. A faithful cover of Pink Floyd’s “Time” and Radiohead’s “Airbag” follow. Also impressive is the Bowie cover “Rock n’ Roll Suicide,” sure I’d prefer more originals here, but now that I’ve heard some I’m on the look out for more. Stay tuned.

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Donny Brown and Icecream Skyscraper

Donny Brown

Donny Brown “Donny Brown” EP

Last year Donny’s talent floored me on his debut EP Hester Street, as his romantic ballads were great examples of songwriting. On his self-titled follow up, the asian strings of “14 Days” keep the pleasant melody from getting dull and “Now You Can Break My Heart” is another good mid-tempo sing along melody.

Then the standouts “Life of A Stranger” and “Just A Friend” take this EP above and beyond the average. The latter is a brilliant ballad about how a friendly kiss only lit sparks for the receiver and not the giver. Catch the slide guitar break midway through this instant classic. “Losing A Part of Your Soul” is another gem with its catchy chorus. “Reach Out” is a lightweight ending here, but this is still a very highly recommended EP.

Amazon | Kool Kat Musik


Icecream Skyscraper

Icecream Skyscraper “Mercury In Lemonade”

Icecream Skyscraper is the unique collaboration between two power pop icons; guitarist Huw Gower (The Records) and vocalist Michael Mazzarella (The Rooks). The results are surprising, more progressive rock than pop on the opener “Problem.” One of the better songs here is the beautifully layered “Groove Back” with its piano/guitar interplay.

Mazzarella’s distinctive vocal vibrato turn the 7 minute psych-pop “Turmoil” into another treat. However most of the music settles into a mellow space as “Nineteen in 71” and “Mayday” seem like improvisational meanderings. Gower’s guitar will occasionally overpower the melodies, but sometimes it’s just perfect — like on “(Don’t Shoot) The Messenger.” Ending with a fun cover of Donovan’s “Sunshine Superman,” this is an album for the adventurous listener looking for a slow grower instead of immediate gratification.

CD Baby | Amazon | Kool Kat Musik

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The Db’s and Friends Christmas and The Genuine Fakes!

The Db's Christmas

The Db’s & Friends “Christmas Time Again”

When the Christmas Time EP appeared in 1986, it was a joyous occasion. It shouldn’t be surprising that it’s endeared and has been expanded for generations to come! The dB’s & Friends’ Christmas Time Again! enters its third decade of holiday fun with an incredible mix of what’s been previously cherished and adds new tidings of comfort and joy. Chris Stamey (Sneakers, The dB’s) has revised this gift of seasonal music for under your tree and into your ears. Classic tracks from Stamey, The dB’s, Whiskeytown (with Ryan Adams), and Alex Chilton are joined by new performances by Yo La Tengo & Jeff Tweedy, Marshall Crenshaw, Robyn Hitchcock, and Big Star’s Third (featuring Mike Mills of R.E.M. taking lead vocals on Big Star’s “Jesus Christ”), among many others. It’s not just Christmas time, it’s Christmas Time Again!

Amazon

Ho ho ho! Are you in the Christmas spirit yet? Maybe the Genuine Fakes can help you build a snowman with the popular theme from Disney’s Frozen! As the b-side, they’ve included last year’s “You Always Come Back Home (for X-mas)”, which was previously only available on the CD A Kool Kat Kristmas Volume Two. Get these singles now on iTunes

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