There is something very alluring when a group of musicians insist on being called a “Pop Band”. While at this point the term “Pop” is almost ambiguous to the point where can mean anything, Mondrian claim to be the “only Parisian POP band”. Saying that this is bold would be an understatement, and it was be a shame if they weren’t able to back it up. Fortunately, Mondrain are actually quite awesome. Pop is a really fitting term for their sound because while they seem to have many influences, all of the groups that they resemble were palatable to the masses. They sound like a cross between The Byrds and Hot Chip. Their newest single, “Pop Shop” is extremely simple, but the simplicity enables it to become a sort of pop bliss. The track begins with simple drums, and then a delightful, full sounding electronic organ comes in. A few other synths enter, but the most charming part of the song is the vocals. They are light sounding, but also unpolished in a wholehearted way. During the chorus there are harmonies that remind me a lot of The Byrds. While I doubt that Mondrain are the only parisian pop band, they certainly appear to be one of the best.
When a friend approaches me saying something to the effect of, “Check out this song I wrote!”, I’m often apprehensive. While it seems like my apprehension is reasonable, I am often very surprised by how talented my friends can be. Denson Shore, a group which is the brainchild of Michael Kim, was one of these pleasant surprises. Both as a guitarist and vocalist, Michael has a really sound sense of melody. “Bayburn Wash” is the project’s newest track, which I personally really enjoy. The first fifty seconds of the song are, for lack of a better description, a dreamy jam that doesn’t feature a single word, and when the vocals come in, it only intensifies the atmospheric energy that the song emits.
The first time The Islander experienced Po Po was at a Signals show a couple of months ago at The Smell. They were the third act on a four act bill (the first two being The Allah Las and The Numerators) of what was one of the best shows I have ever been to. Back then, all seven months ago, Po Po was a sort of noisy punk duo. Their set was was beyond energetic. It was also extremely funny because Jacob Cooper (Ex: Mae Shi, Signals, Bark Bark Bark, and currently Wavves) played drums and added a short drum solo after every song. Their newest track, “Let’s Get Away” could not sounds more different than what was played that night, but it features the same energy and sense of cool. Unlike previous Po Po songs, “Let’s Get Away” is primarily synthesizers and has a fairly high production value. At first it was strange hearing them sound like this, but the group’s new sound is great and easy to get used to. The instrument that opens the song is one of the best sounding synths produced in a while, and the atmospheric backing noise perfectly accents the vocals by giving the song a very spacey vibe. One of the best and most interesting parts of the song is the odd flute instrument that repeats every so often throughout the majority of song because it gives the song an almost religious feeling. After the song ends, you may, and probably will, feel the need to play it on repeat. Over all,Po Po managed to produce one of the best songs of Fall 2010.
Art Is Hard Records is a record label out of Plymouth, UK. Their first release was an compilation album called Brink of the Clouds featuring nine groups from the southwest of England. We recommend this album for many reasons, not the least of which being that it is consistently interesting all the way through, but primarily because the way one purchases the album is through buying a T-shirt and receiving a download code. I personally find this idea really funny, and there is something very inspired about the concept which is something that most labels today seem to be lacking. The label’s second release is the New Years Evil / The Black Tambourines Split 7″, which comes out on vinyl November 29th. The physical copy of the E.P. comes with the record, an original print of a photo by one of the label’s favorite local (to the south of England) artists, a five track digital E.P., and a limited edition zine. The actual 7″ contains two songs, and they are both extremely enjoyable. The first track is “Shame”, by New Years Evil, which reminds the Islander a lot of Mineral. The song features invigorating sincerity, which today is so rare. The track is titled “Tommy” and it’s by The Black Tambourines. It’s a very noisy garage-poppy tune, which despite being pleasantly hard on the ears is actually quite breezy and easy to listen to. This 7″ seems like it will totally be worth picking up, and could quite possibly be very valuable some day.