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.

Amazon

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Weekend Freebies: Nato Coles and Static In Verona

Both these albums are available for a “Name-your-own-price” and fit proudly in my collection. You could also give the artists a little money and get these great power pop/rock LPs, perfect for a snowbound weekend!

Nato Coles

Nato Coles “Promises To Deliver”

Nato Coles LP isn’t new, but to me it was and I was super impressed by the talent of the man and his Blue Diamond Band. If Meatloaf played power pop it would sound just like the opener “See Some Lights.” Coles songs are anthems to the unsung – like the catchy “Julie (Hang Out A Little Longer)” is a blue collar rocker on par with Springsteen or Bob Seger.

Elements of country guitar and barroom rock are the primary style and done very well, from the driving odes to his van “Econoline” and the road in “Rudes and Cheaps.” Another standout is “The True Blue Rocker” a catchy anthem reminiscent of the Allman Brothers “Ramblin’ Man.” No filler here and absolutely highly recommended rock and roll.

Bandcamp | Amazon


Static In Verona

Static In Verona “Odd Anthem”

Chicago band Static in Verona (aka Rob Merz) has certainly changed over the years, and Odd Anthem is a solid addition to their catalog, but now they bring the high gloss synths to their indie pop productions. This doesn’t always make things better, as it tends to drown the magic of the harmonies in white noise. “Heavy Hands” is an excellent catchy song that could’ve used a lighter touch.

Some songs have a Coldplay-type of feel like “Future Ghosts” and “Shudder to Think,” with dramatic flourish in each chorus. It does have some successful experiments like “Wait, Wait” and “Then A Hush” with its unique percussive structure. “Forgetful” is my favorite song, with its upbeat chorus and successful blend of synths and bass guitar. I would’ve loved to hear the demos for this album. Some have added this LP to best-of lists, so its definitely worth repeat listens.

Bandcamp | Amazon

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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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Jingle Jangle Pop, Shake Some Action, Dropkick

Jingle Jangle Pop

“Jingle Jangle Pop”

Holiday music from the guitar & pen of Andy Goldberg (the driving force behind The Honeymoon Stallions, The Goldbergs & The Sun Kings). This 5 song EP compiles holiday songs from each of the bands mentioned, all remixed by Paul Umbach. Some of these song have been “missing” for many years, so it’s great to have them back for the holiday season.

CD Baby


Shake Some Action

Shake Some Action “Christmas in The Sun”

One of my favorites, Shake Some Action delivers a great holiday single for FREE download. But I would like you to pay for it. All proceeds from the sale of this single go to the Toys For Tots Foundation, a top rated charity that provides toys, books and other gifts to less fortunate children. Bandcamp only.

Dropkick

Dropkick “25th December” EP

British band Dropkick certainly has been very active this year, and this goody is a small collection of holiday themed songs for FREE download. Love the jangling melody of “When Santa Comes Round” — you will too. Bandcamp only.

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