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.
The Widowers, not to be confused with Widowers (whom I am also a fan of), are a group Baton Rouge, La. They kind of remind me of a hybrid of Los Campesinos and Mastadon. I’m totally aware of the fact that as far as descriptions go, it’s hard to get more peculiar than that, but I don’t really thing anything else would do them justice. They are simultaneously waggish and overtly masculine, which makes for an interesting listen. Their track “Quite the Suitor” has a strong riff that drives the song and a thumping vocal melody that accent each other in a very pleasant way. While good driving songs are a dime a dozen, and often just a justification for saying one likes a song that isn’t particularly good, it’s hard to come across one that you can also appreciate in most environments.
Not comparing TRMRS to the Black Lips would just be weird, so I am getting that out of the way early. They are both rowdy bands who play music that is sort of punk but also sort of powerpoppy. Where this comparison ends is what makes TRMRS worth listening to. Their sound isn’t anything new and in terms of creativity there isn’t much going on, but TRMRS utilizes the fact that the group has two guitarists in a really interesting way. Their song, “Hello Self”, perfectly exemplifies this. As opposed there being a lead part and a rhythm part, the guitar parts intertwine in a captivating dialogue that forms the backbone of the song. TRMRS one of the most fun groups I’ve listened to in a while, and I appreciate how straightforward and simple their sound is.
UPDATE: The Hello Self music video is out now. Check it out!