Category Archives: Music reviews

Listening to…

Veronica Falls, Bad Feeling.

I wish all ‘60s music could be turned inside out so they sound like this. All the base ingredients of classic pop have been reprioritized for modern minds so that the beats are in your face, the harmonies are somewhere in the middle, and the lead vocals, while prominent, sound like they’re being thought rather than yelped. Bravo, production team! And kudos too to the director of the song’s video, Philippa Bloomfield, who understood that there was an outdoor vibe to be mined from a studio-conscious track which many would stage in more confined spaces.

Veronica Falls’ full-blown debut album is due out three weeks from now, on the Slumberland label. Great things are expected.

Listening to…

Fountains of Wayne, “Someone’s Gonna Break Your Heart” and “Richie and Ruben”

Fountains of Wayne, a band I’ve followed slavishly from their earliest days, has signed to the Yep Roc label and has a full album due later this summer. A single’s been released on iTunes and elsewhere. For better or worse, it’s classic FoW: the matter-of-fact false-confident-sensitive-guy advisory “Someone’s Gonna Break Your Heart and the character study “Richie and Ruben” (about pesky guys with big ideas who blow through their patron’s investments). The production is on the same pure-pop level the band has maintained since “Radiation Vibe” a decade and a half ago. “Someone’s” has the big choral doo-doo-doos while “R&R” has the patented laidback Fountains jangle. Expectations run high for the full album, the band’s first in a few years and one which should find them out of the shadow of their freak video-fueled mainstream hit “Stacy’s Mom.”

Listening to…

Thee Oh Sees, “Castlemania.” San Francisco band currently in the midst of a European tour, where their deft mix of acoustic folk and ‘60s garage will surely be enthusiastically appreciated. Personally, I’m a huge fan of what some call “twee” pop which mixes aggressive playing and whimsically lightweight vocals. I find the hyperproductive Oh Sees rather simplistic compared to gods from the same sphere, The Pastels. But they’re amiable and approachable, and that counts for a lot. When they get loose and psychedelic, it’s like Brian Jonestown Massacre in a good mood, which is a concept I thought I’d never hear. Opening tune “I Need Seed” really is a good intro to the whole disk—raw, raucous, a little rude, and a whole lot of sing-along fun.