Spring is here.
Weather is getting balmier, days are getting longer, and around here cherry blossoms are on everyone’s mind, and on most people’s driveways. This is the season of renewal, of new beginnings. So, maybe it’s time to inject some new tunes into our lives in celebration of a season.
With that in mind, here is a selection of musical goodness from many locales and across the pop music spectrum for your consideration. May the sounds you find here be like April showers on the cold stony ground of a winter of discontent – and we had a cold one, didn’t we? As the buds on the trees begin to manifest, get these tunes into your brain through the buds of the ear variety.
“Young and Lazy” by The Matinee
Kicking things off is a Tom Petty-esque tune as produced by Hot Hot Heat’s Steve Bays (the rest of the record was produced by Los Lobos member and legendary sessioner Steve Berlin!), delivered by Vancouver roots and classic rock up-and-comers The Matinee. The song is the opening track as taken from the band’s debut record, We Swore We’d See the Sunrise which you can buy on iTunes. If you’re looking to ride into the sun of a new season, this is a stellar place to start.
“Friends” by Fast Romantics
Fans of the Super Furries take note with this track from Calgary’s Fast Romantics, specializing in a similar art-rock via post punk pop architecture. The song is taken from their recent record Afterlife Blues, their second. For more, check out the official video to their single “Funeral Song“.
“Dreamtrain” by Lily Virginia
Like a moment in the day when you feel the first drops of spring rain, Lily Virginia’s “Dreamtrain” provides a melancholic backdrop for a new season. This song is gauzy, atmospheric, and gossamer-delicate, but with a quiet strength that makes it a heartfelt reflection on lost love. For more information, check out this interactive page that allows you to delve even further into this tune, and what inspired it.
“Last Time You’ll Say Goodbye” by Mortimer Nova
Close-harmonies and expansive arrangement help to characterize this tune by Tampa Florida’s Mortimer Nova, led by head writer and guitarist Michael Vilches. The song is taken from their album Terminal, taking in an orchestral -folk approach that seems to evoke an idealized era of lushly realized pop music.
“Under The Wire” by Running Red Lights
If you prefer your pop by way of Buckingham-Nicks, this tune by Toronto’s Running Red Lights is your springtime excursion to a classic period of rock radio that sings in the 21st century. This song appeared as a sample two-fer, and as a forerunner to their full-length record There’s A Bluebird In My Heart. You can buy the record at iTunes.
“Dream of Delia” by The Citradels
If three-to-four minute pop feels somewhat limiting, how about some neo-psychedelic drone rock for a change of pace? That’s where Melbourne Australia’s The Citradels have carved out a niche, marrying fuzzy psych with a variety of textures that stretch out a bit more, with eerie atmospheres and hypnotic soundscapes. This track is taken from their most recent record, Droned and Rethroned.
“That’s The Way I Wanna Do It” by The Pinecones
What would happen if you took power pop, added some strings, and some Brill Building era Carole King-like melodic instincts? Well, imagine no further with Toronto’s The Pinecones. This song is taken from the band’s succinctly named full-length, Ooh!
“Is This Love” by Life Leone
Life Leone delivers the dry-and-crunchy post punk hooks you crave that culminates in a distinctive California desert-rock sound that he’s crafted into his own musical signature. This song is taken from the new release Comes Crashing In. You can learn more about Life Leone and his music here.
“Honest Living” by Supastition
Rap has a history in social commentary, with personal stories mirroring the stories of whole communities. That tradition lives and breathes on this track by Greenville, North Carolina-based Supastition. This track beams with throwback textures of classic R&B, infused with candour, controlled rage, and ultimate optimism as taken from the Honest Living EP.
“Numbers” by Grand Splendid
Montreal’s Grand Splendid make multi-textural guitar pop that transcends eras, mounted on an anthemic scale yet without the self-aggrandizing bombast. This is the title track from their self-produced mini-album Numbers, a sonic backdrop for those spring days where the sun can be seen as peering through a bank of clouds, on the verge of breaking out.
“ef-fort” by In Snow
For sounds that suggest a narrative but without the lyrics, Birmingham Alabama’s In Snow provide it with interest. This track is taken from their EP of the same name, dealing in atmosphere, tension and release, and subtle instrumental interplay. Fans of Mogwai in particular should press “play” immediately.
“And Still We Move” by Crissi Cochrane
For a feel of classic soul melded with a 21st century indie sensibility, Windsor Ontario-based and Halifax Nova Scotia-born Crissi Cochrane delivers a humid, horn-laden treasure chest of sound. This track is the single as taken from her recently released album Little Sway, a release driven by the beating heart of Detroit soul delivered with subtlety and laid back charm sung in her own voice.
“Rotation” by Ummagma
Electronic soundscapes and dream pop textures are what characterizes the music of Canadian-Ukrainian duo Ummagma. This is a single, a double A-side with another song of theirs – “Live and Let Die” (not the song you’re thinking of!). In addition to their recorded output, the band won the Alternative Eurovision in 2013. But, maybe the biggest feather in their cap is working with Robin Guthrie of Cocteau Twins, who re-mixed a track, which is due soon.
“Ghost of June” by Dylan Starrs
Literally hooking into a dynasty of country music tradition with this song in particular, Texas native and L.A-based singer-songwriter Dylan Starrs plays to that tradition, and yet with a distinctive voice of his own. This song comes from his full-length record The Swill To The Swell.
“The Verge” by Juleah
Neo-psychedelic excursions are the speciality of Austrian musician Julia Hummer AKA Juleah. This is the opening track to a 5-track EP Entangled and Entwined, mixing guitars, with electronics, dreampop, and the blues. For you visually-oriented music fans, here’s the video for the song.
So, there they are; tunes for spring, a soundtrack to the green shoots and brightly-headed flowers bursting up toward a warming sun.
What do you think? What are your favourite tracks? What’s the weather like in your neck of the woods?
Tell me all about it! And happy spring!