Friday, December 11, 2015

Under-heard Releases of 2015

~Salad Boys - Metalmania This group of Kiwis slipped under the door of the 015, with a breezy set of carefully constructed guitar pop. With a pop punk drive and post punk vibe, Salad Boys fits comfortably among the canon of New Zealand indie rock. Equal parts The Skeptics and The Chills. Some of the more acoustic songs on here have lush sound that is so often lost on modern acoustic Pop songs, where the strumming is not wittled down like a brittle pencil, but rather built up with layering and chorus pedals. Metalmania is a delightful dream and deserves many more spins. ~Carly Rae Jepsen - Emotion Coming off the heals of a Broadway stint, as well as the release of one of the most infectious pop songs ever written, Carly Rae Jepsen was poised to take the easy way out. Put Max Martin in a room, pen a few lyrics involving emojis and dunzo. Call Me Maybe part 2, making it rain. Instead the Canadian Pop star, went a different route. Channeling 80s new wave and disco, as well as early 90s house, Emotion is the sort of record you might expect from Kyli Minogue or even Robyn, at times. Its as a progressive as it is accessible and keenly focused on production and content. Nearly every song on the album can worm its way into your head, and yet it remains estranged from top 40 list. One could make the argument that I Really Like You is the sequel to Call Me Maybe, and maybe it is, but there are so many other tracks on this album that prove that Jepsen has transcended her breakthrough hit. I Didn't Just Come Here to Dance, Warm Blood, and All That are perfect examples, of a pop artist blending her influences into deeply moving, emotional dance songs. If you had originally written this one off, don't. I urge everyone to return to a record that critics will no doubt point to in 10yrs time. ~Tamaryn - Cranekiss Cloaked in a dark, gothic sexuality, Tamaryn's Cranekiss is the sort of record Robert Smith would have loved to contribute to in the late 80s. Shed is the psychedelic wooziness that penned Tamaryn into the already overcrowded Dream Pop field. Instead she take the full step into pop-hood, with a massive record bursting with glittering synths, jagged guitars lines, and Linn Drum like percussion. With a simpleton's perception one might say, Tamaryn moved from Lush like sound to something in the realm of Siouxsie Sioux, though that comparison falls short of what is actually constructed here. The sounds our lavish and grandiose, yet still dark and yearning. Tamaryn lives more in a world of Kate Bush the way she transforms a croon to whisper, flexing her range in each track. Returning to the production, this record was made in partnership with Shuan Durkan, guitar mastermind behind Weekend, who released one of the best records of 2013, Jinx. Often we hear albums of this nature are purely derivative, aping outdated sounds of the past. Though with one spin of Cranekiss it is obvious that these songs are far more than a blast from the past, but rather a string of modern Pop songs, cast in a Goth-like house. ~Tory Lanez - Say It Tory Lanez is a Canadian rapper/singer who optimizes what it is to be a Hip-Hop artist in 2015. Created by Kanye and perfected by Drake, singing and rapping on the same track is no longer a novel thing, but simply the norm. The staggering presence of Fetty Wap's Trap Queen to the hurtling rise of Ty Dolla $ign, Pop music is currently populated by minimalist R&B. What's different about today's R&B comes in the vocal delivery, often molasses intoned croons are coupled with staccato, ratatating; where the syllables bunch together and drop, like a mouth full of pebbles. Tory Lanez does nothing to disrupt or reinvent the current Pop-mosphere, but he has tapped into its best parts, producing a truly excellent club banging slow jam. Say it opens with the slow slink of an unwaveringly catchy keyboard line, before the meat of the song, a chorus of backup singers chime in with chill inducing, "Ooo Yeah.." What would otherewise be a fairly basic track is doubled down in the hook department, through the use of the backup singers and Lanez's breathy delivery. Not to be missed, this summer song stays warm through the winter.

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