Adam Taylor Young appears to be just as much a music enthusiast as he is a musician. His music oriented tumblr http://memorymemory.tumblr.com/ is just as inspired as the music he creates, and it isn’t often one gets this level on insight into an artist’s taste and influences. I’ve personally learned about a handful of groups that I’ve spent a lot of times listening to, such as Pajama People and Stoner Showers, who are both deserving of their own respective posts, through his blog and I find myself checking it daily. While Memory is in and of itself worthy of being written about, Young’s music is by far the most compelling of his projects. He combines surfy laid-back guitar hooks with a simultaneously poppy yet dark style of songwriting. Of what I’ve been able to listen to of his vast catalog, “Worse Things” not only is a great introduction to his music but is also a brilliant song. The song is so simple that the few nuances refine and elevate what would otherwise be a pop track something very interesting. The manner in which the drums and organ slowly fade in at slightly different rates in the intro gives the song an initial eerie tone that is retained through the whole song. The guitar compliments this almost sinister vibe by sounding very carefree and thoughtless. The vocal melody, like many groups is clearly influenced by girl groups, but features a single note that occurs in the verse, of which an attempt to describe would be criminal. It has instantly become one of my favorite songs.
Cleveland four-piece FutureDays consists of Jonah, Gregory, Antoine and Gabe. Their music features intertwining guitar parts that are melodically very reminiscent of The Byrds, but much colder. This feature is highlighted in their song, “Tears,” perfectly. The tune’s abrupt start gives what would otherwise be a very relaxed riff an almost hectic vibe that carries through until the vocals start thirty seconds in. The vocals sound like a combination of The Byrds’ Vocalist, Roger McGuinn, but at times has an almost Kurt Vile air of hesitation. While not astonishingly original, the song is pretty and features well balanced and shelved production which seems to be becoming less and less common in guitar driven music.
I know nothing about Guys beyond the fact that they are from Camden, U.K. and that their only song happens to be really interesting. Ladies (Step Aside) establishes its peculiar ora from the modulated vocal chant that starts the song. It is very reminiscent of Animal Collective’s more chaotic album cuts, but without the elegance. The synth part is in complete disarray, but wouldn’t feel out of place in a traditional electronic song. This compliments the slightly off key folky vocals in a manner which can only be described as unthinkably functional. In theory (and by extension in writing) this duality seems really unappealing, but it works. Despite the fact that the synthesizer is sonically as far from natural as a sound can get, Ladies has a very personal and human element that is often missing or intentionally avoided in electronic music. The production reminds me a lot of John Maus, but also feels much more inherently vulnerable. While not immediately palatable, something about this song is very addictive and unavoidably fascinating.
Very reminiscent of early Wavves, DREGS takes advantage lo fi to fashion a hazy and lulled atmosphere. I don’t know much about this group beyond that fact that they are teenagers from Los Angeles, but they have a lot going for them. Their demo, OOooOOoo, is slightly more melodic than songs by most bands who opt for clustered low fidelity recordings, which gives the track an almost entrancing feeling. Lyrically, the chorus is entirely summed up by the song’s title, but due to the aforementioned atmosphere, it seems totally appropriate. Unlike most lo fi, the vocals are very distinguished in the mix,. As lame and overused as this is, OOooOOoo is the kind of song that is suitable summer listening; but in terms of song writing, is about as gratifying as I’ve encountered in the past month.