From Denver all the way to Brooklyn and beyond, there's a world of music to find. Here's a small taste.
Air Dubai - All Day (from Be Calm, due November 13)
It's been almost two years since I caught Denver band Air Dubai opening for the Flobots. At the time, I was impressed with their solid hip hop grooves backed by a full band with solid chops. All Day kicks off with shimmery electro pop and a simple beat behind the smooth vocal flow. A touch of guitar fill sneaks in at the edge. The chorus slides into a lightly auto-tuned R&B refrain: "I don't care what they say/ We could do this all day."
All Day doesn't rock it out like their 2010 hit, Lasers. But the R&B hop groove is true to their earlier live sound, too. I'll be checking out Be Calm when it drops next month. Then we'll see what other flavors they offer.
John The Conqueror – Time To Go (from John the Conqueror)
Like a grainy, saturated film image of Otis Redding, John The Conqueror ooze a classic soul vibe. The retro blues beginning on Time To Go is stripped down to the essentials of voice, guitar and light harmonies. Half way through, the rest of the band jumps in. The track opens up and kicks ass. There’s not quite enough Mick Jagger strut to pass it off as a Rolling Stones rocker, but you can hear the band’s aspirations. John The Conqueror may not be quite as polished as the Alabama Shakes, but their raw energy is promising.
Their self-titled album dropped yesterday.
Childhood - Blue Velvet (single releases November 17)
British band Childhood offers their own grainy, saturated film image of the past. Blue Velvet conjures up a the distant memory of a warm summer afternoon winding down into twilight, cocktails on the patio as the stars start to poke out. The flashback production throws a thick layer of echo and lo-fi haze, like a vaselined camera lens. The underlying pop groove sounds like XTC, but the frantic energy has been defused and crossed with a more recent shoe-gazer vibe.The harmonies are sweet and nostalgic.
Childhood is releasing Blue Velvet next month as a 7" single on House Anxiety, backed with Bond Girls.
Bad Powers - Electricity Should Be Free (from Bad Powers)
What's in a name? Noisy aggro punkers Made Out of Babies called it quits earlier this year. Now, they've been reborn as Bad Powers, swapping out singer Julie Christmas for Megan Tweed. Judging from Electricity Should Be Free and New Bruises, the band has shifted their approach to find a more accessible sound. Rather than a sell out, the new tracks seethe with a dark energy that melds post punk and grunge.
Where Made Out of Babies offered cathartic release with inarticulate noise, Bad Powers satisfies like poking a bad tooth to make sure it's still there. Electricity Should Be Free has the tribal drive and vocals of Siouxsie and the Banshees, but the bridge has a dirty guitar grind and twinned bass line like Soundgarden on a down day.
You can hear Electricity Should Be Free along with New Bruises on Brooklyn Vegan.