The Belle Jar- Union Station
Mar 5, 2014
Indie music is going to rely heavily on Mikey Jukebox for setting new standards in the future. Jukebox’s self titled debut LP pumps positive energy through every strike of the drums, every stroke of the guitar and every gulp of air that Mikey provides.
The first track “!Hello Dreamer!” infuses a clap track, gentle synths, and flowing instrumental to make one well orchestrated song. Once Mikey’s voice hits a few low notes, you can only think to compare him to David Bowie.
Don’t be shy to hit repeat the next time you hop in your car and blast the new anthem of our generation “Come On Along.” It is another cog in the not-quite-indie glam-rock revival. With this song in mind, Mikey would be best described as vintage in almost every sense of the word. He wears his beats from the '70s with pride as he pumps up a crowd.
Glam rock’s long-extinguished flame has been rekindled in the form of Mikey Jukebox.
Listen to "Come On Along":
Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, the alternative synth-pop trio Midnight Juggernauts released their second full-length album The Crystal Axis, bringing a bit of darkness to the world of electronica.
The Crystal Axis begins with the trancelike minute-and-a-half instrumental track “Induco,” which blends seamlessly with “Vital Signs,” a trance track with pop vocals that fades into Bloc Party-esque chants and rhythms before returning to pop. The album continues with a mix of catchy dance tracks and slower electronic pieces. The entire album has dark, almost melancholy music under upbeat pop vocals, creating a middle-ground perfect for a club pulsing with people.
Listen to "Vital Signs":
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. is actually two people - Joshua Epstein and Daniel Zott. The Motor City band's name might lead you to think they're just a couple of motor heads, but the music of their debut EP, Horse Power, is nothing you'll hear at a NASCAR race.
Epstein and Zott harmonize like a digital reincarnation of the Beach Boys. Their soft-spoken lyrics float over mellow electronics and guitars. Songs like "Vocal Chords" and "Simple Girl" will have you singing, or maybe even whistling, along.
They take the stage tonight in the Rathskeller. The free show starts at 7 p.m.
And don't miss openers Paul's Grandfather - a folk-pop trio from Fredonia, N.Y.
Soft Circle's Shore Obsessed is the third offering of original music from the duo Ben Vida and Hisham Bharoocha. The album is full of catchy bass lines, synth-laden riffs and plenty of reverb-filled vocals.
Songs like "First Time," and "Don't Know" show off the compositional talents of both members and how each is capable of writing extremely catchy tunes. The unusal thing about Shore Obsessed is that each song offers something new and different to the listener. Each time through, the CD yields something you hadn't heard before, and that's where the dynamics of Soft Circle show through. The band offers something that causes you to come back to it. It's just too much fun to let the music go without taking another listen.
Shore Obsessed is a unique presentation of music, it will lead to many new fans of the group if they're willing to give the album a chance.
Listen to "Treading Water":
Bikini has the kind of D.I.Y. feel that’s infiltrated much of the recent indie world. What separates this group is the polish. That slightly rough-around-the-edges charm is missing from Bikini’s RIP JDS.
On first listen, big synths hook you in and stimulate. Textures build, and melodies wave by easily. The majesty of it all can actually overwhelm. But it’s not bad music. With little background knowledge, it’d be easy to peg this EP as a studio baby—a disc painfully made by two perfectionists slaving over one singular chord change or drum machine tone for hours.
Bikini seems like an electronic group with actual chops. That’s tough to come by.
Check out "American Mourning":
Nowhere Near Poughkeepsie is the debut solo album of seasoned Boston musician, Greg Lyon. After spending several years in several different bands, Lyon decided to take what he had learned about the music industry and writing songs and apply it to a solo album that he could have complete and total creative control over. Recording almost everything in his own rehearsal space, Lyon has created an album that is entirely his own style, and it’s an album to be proud of.
Nowhere Near Poughkeepsie is an album of blended musical genres. A hint of old-school ‘60s pop and a dash of folk-rock are added to the general melting pot of indie-rock, creating songs that sound simple on the surface, but are much more complex once you start digging into the album. Greg Lyon’s mission was to create an album that speaks to his own musical tastes and relates to the events of his own life, and in the process he’s created an album that speaks and relates to each and everyone of us as well.
Listen to the title track, "Nowhere Near Poughkeepsie":
Girls has always been a bunch of sappy, lovelorn beach bums. Their 2009 full-length debut, Album, showcased the band’s ability to craft succinct pop jingles, sprawling emotional outbursts and fuzz-dipped goldenrod in the span of 12 songs. A year later, Girls is still doing the same thing—moping around with crisp arpeggios and whisper-chimed vocals.
Singer Christopher Owens’ troubled upbringing in the Children of God cult has become an essential ingredient in the band’s backstory. Owens feels, and feels deeply; he wants to be happy but he knows why he sometimes isn’t. The music builds on Owens’ sentiments, rising behind him with a euphony of slide guitars and tickled ivories.
“I just want to get high, but everyone keeps bringing me down,” he sings on the title track. And that’s how the record goes—ebbs and flows of emotion mingled with sappy love-pop. “Oh So Protective One” chimes like a ‘50s school-dance pop standard, complete with a horn section. “Substance” is a self-explanatory ode to a certain mood-altering chemical agent, washed over by sun-drenched California surf guitar waves.
Important to note is that Girls are about the self. Know yourself—know how you live, know how you love—and know your limits. “You can do anything, yeah, you can rock and roll,” Owens whisper-sings on the penultimate track before adding “…out of control.” If this bunch of mid-tempo sludge-pop is any indication, Girls aren’t exactly trying to rock out. But that’s alright—they know how to be sweet and charming about it.
Listen to "Heartbreaker":
Orange Juice was a Scottish post-punk band. They originally formed in 1976 as Nu-Sonics and later became Orange Juice in 1979. Orange Juice is best known for their hit single “Rip It Up,” which reached #8 in the U.K. singles chart in February 1983. Their musical style was one that combined post-punk guitars with disco and funk rhythms similar to the Clash and Gang of Four. During the bands short-lived career between 1979 and 1984, they released four albums. Their first, You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever, began the slippery slope of internal strife within the band that caused the lineup to change extensively and eventually led to the bands demise.
The box set, Coals to New Castle, provides an extensive look at the band's career and is a great introduction for those who are new to the band. "Rip It Up" starts out with disco rhythm synthesizer then moves into its post punk guitar rhythms, followed by a steady free-flowing disco beat. Singer Edwyn Collins’ vocals are a mix between Mick Jones’ of the Clash and Morrissey, while his lyrics are very campy but fit together with the intricate musical style. "Blue Boy" on the other hand is straight post-punk from the band's musical archive.
"Scaremonger" is a powerful post-punk ballad that features disco and funk rhythms. The song tells of a failed marriage and features the repetitive phrase of “It didn't always be that way.” The musical style is similar to the Clash's "Lost in The Supermarket."
For whatever it’s worth, Coals to Newcastle is a very impressive box set that encompasses the band's career by giving long-time listeners new bonus material to complete their Orange Juice library and provides the essentials for new listeners to become acclimated with a band that has been long forgotten. What makes Orange Juice a great band is that these songs still feel as though they are brand new and will continue to remain brand new.
Check out the classic "Rip It Up":