Over the course of fifteen years and almost as many albums, Damien Jurado has proven to be a master at crafting intimate folk confessionals and stark tales of troubled, restless souls. With a muse as restless the characters who inhabit his songs, Jurado often explores new ways of telling his tales, and nowhere is this more apparent than on “Nothing is the News,” the advance single from forthcoming lp Maraqopa. With collaborator/producer Richard Swift, who worked with Jurado on 2010’s Saint Bartlett, once again on hand, “Nothing…” sees Jurado venturing into jazz-inflected, psychedelic freak out territory, and it bodes well for what the new album might have in store.
With all this going on about power pop los grillos has been doing lately, it’d be no small crime to fail to mention one of the best of the best of the scene, Dwight Twilley. Twilley emerged in 1975 as the Dwight Twilley Band, also featuring musical partner Phil Seymour, with the single “I’m On Fire,” which quickly became a top 20 hit. The band followed this success with its debut lp, Sincerely, and follow-up lp, 1977’s Twilley Don’t Mind. Though both albums were critically acclaimed, the band failed to sustain the commercial success of its debut single, and Seymour left in ’78. Twilley pushed on as a solo artist, penning numerous power pop gems and quietly building a sort of cult following. And though he still has yet to match the commercial success of “I’m On Fire,” to this day Twilley continues to enjoy critical acclaim for albums such as 2010’s Green Blimp, called “blissful, emotive pop” by NPR, and most recently, this year’s Soundtrack, an album that No Depression says “combines the idealism of a teenager with the unshakable belief of a battle-scarred veteran, tracing a remarkably straight artistic line from his mid-20s to [Twilley’s] current work.”
To read more about Dwight Twilley, and to buy his most recent albums, check out his site here.
And be sure look for his impressive back catalog on vinyl at your favorite local record store.
Polish composer and musician Michal Jacaszek brings together classical instrumentation and electronic textures to create soundscapes that are distinctly modern in construction yet timeless in emotion. Jacaszek’s latest lp, Glimmer, plays like the aural equivalent of a cracked, ancient, black and white photograph that captures the harsh grey tones and desolate beauty of a stark, skeletal landscape. “I built a kind of curtain out of dirts and fuzzes, and used pure sound of clarinet and harpsichord playing beautiful melodies as a contrast to its harshness,” says Jacaszek of his attempt to “create some fragile beauty glimmering behind the veil of reality.”
In a pretty hilarious essay about his brother, Paul, author David Sedaris describes how his brother, who refers to himself as ‘The Rooster,’ copes with hard times with the help of what he calls a “Fuck-It Bucket”–a plastic pail filled with jawbreakers and bite-sized candy bars. According to the Rooster, “When shit brings you down, just say, ‘Fuck it’ and eat yourself some motherfucking candy.”
Given the more or less troubled state of the union, and the world in general, the Rooster just might be on to something, and applying his coping mechanism to recent trends in the garage rock scene could explain the number of punks currently playing power pop–a style of music that, with its quick-fix melodies and sugar-rush highs, is pretty much the candy of rock ‘n’ roll. Which makes a good power pop record one helluva good fuck-it bucket, and bands like Denton’s Bad Sports (and especially “Teenage Girls,” a song that repeat buttons were made for), Canada’s The Steve Adamyk Band, and Chicago’s Smith Westerns, to name just a few, have been saying “fuck it” with the best of ’em.
Add to that list Marvelous Darlings, the power pop side project of Fucked Up‘s Ben Cook. The band’s debut lp, a collection of 7″ singles appropriately titled Single Life, rocks like a high school kegger in a disco-ball basement loaded with kids just lookin’ to hook up. Opening cut “I Don’t Wanna Go To The Party” announces the band’s intentions with a driving melody that plays like Big Star or Cheap Trick channeling The Ramones, and things don’t let up from there. Hell, there’s even a little Billy Squier–a los grillos all-time favorite fuck-it bucket rocker–laced through Marvelous Darlings’ unabashed power pop trip. So don’t say no to this one–dig it!
Lost in the Desert — Part Deux from Montreal’s Demon’s Claws follows 2010’s In The Red release, The Defrosting Of…, with an odds, sods, and rarities collection of low-down, loose and dirty garage punk. Delivered with the band’s Stones-ian flair for country blues and laced with psychedelic elements, the album plays like a night of trading shots with Austin’s Golden Boys and Scotland’s Country Teasers. Bringing together demos, live cuts, and other such outtakes, Lost in the Desert alternates between hard-driving, organ-grinding rock, dusty, twangy country, and rustic, ramshackle folk fit for any occasion that might involve getting lost, desert-wise or otherwise-wise.
Lost in the Desert — Part Deux is out now via Telephone Explosion. Check it out at Midheaven/Revolver here–according to the label, this is one of the only distributors with copies of this limited lp left!
Listen to album tracks “Desert Flowers” and “Lost in the Desert” below…