By Victoria Wasylak & Rita Savard
Annabel Lee (formerly Sarah Borello) channels a hurricane on her new track “Melting” from the slow, pensive rhythm of the song to ominous lyrics like “If only you could see the trouble you’re in,” the tune builds like a budding thunderstorm and transforms into a chaotic tempest of bottled-up emotions by the end of the track. And that’s only the beginning of her EP “Prey” – you can imagine how ravenous the rest sounds.
In case you missed out on the heyday of mainstream ska (think Sublime and No Doubt), Boston’s own Poor Jeremy is keeping reggae-punk alive with their song “Ignorance in Bliss” from their tongue-in-cheek album It Could Always Be Worst. The frenetic, horn-heavy track is a salute to burying your head in the sand at the harsh realities of life, making it the perfect anthem for twenty-somethings worldwide.
As the latest edition to their self-titled EP, blindspot’s new tune “I Won’t Let Your Heart Break” is a crisp pop-rock ballad about pursuing a lost love. “When you walk on by / Tell me how it feels to be alive” lead songstress Alexa Economou cries, her raw, robust vocals suggesting that she’s been crooning for decades, when in reality, she’s not even 25.
If you’re looking for some motivation to start working out again, pop in Bobby Drinkwater’s solo tune “Culture Shock” for a Four-Loco dose of energy. Because the instrumental number pays homage to 80s-style shredding and hair metal, it begs for action shots of athletes in tracksuits dripping in sweat. The intensity of the kick drum gives the fidgety tune a stuttering heartbeat effect that’ll motivate even the most lethargic couch potato.
Disco is back and Peter Lavender’s new album Sugar — flavored with some sweet ‘60s and ‘70s retro soul and spiked with a little bit of funk and R&B — is going to make sure you feel the groove. Standout track “Time Warp” isn’t the first song with a title to try and defy the forces of nature, but owing to its funky wah wah guitar and insistent horn section, it’s one best for some serious booty shaking.
Okay, so call it one of my nine personalities popping up, but it’s gotta be free to run wild and admit it freakin’ loves all this white rap coming out of Maine. Mid-life crisis? I don’t know how to explain it. But I do know the groovy beats of P. Dank Cypher — an opus featuring the talents of Spose, Lady Essence, Cam Groves, Ock Costeau, and Shane Reis — should have a place on everyone’s summer playlist. And while I’m at it, I’ll recommend Spose’s “Pop Song”, and Lady Essence’s “Take a Jog.” Actually, I just want to hang out and drink whiskey with Essence. Her rhymes are smart and completely catchy. If you know her, please tell her she has an open invitation to a barbecue in Lowell, Mass. anytime she feels like it. Word.
Jenny and The Gents stand out for their beauty and simplicity, keying in on the breezy vocals of lead singer Jenny Riddle. Track “Salisbury Beach” gets the nostalgia machine in motion and is a perfect song for sunny day drives with the windows rolled down. Check out more of their tunes on reverbnation.com and we guarantee you’ll be lost in the melodies for days on end.
After the sun goes down, you can’t beat the dark and psychedelic sounds of Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys. “Slaughterhouse Sweethearts” from the album Ruined Your Childhood sounds like it should be on a David Lynch film, and is the stuff good campfire stories are made of.
This isn’t the first time we’ve talked about Gretchen and The Pickpockets, and given this band’s penchant for jazz and southern inspired rock, it probably won’t be the last. We love track “Swimming in the Sea,” with swirling guitars that build to an epic groove fest that rolls over like ocean waves and conjures a west coast state of mind.
We’d be hard-pressed to think of another hook-driven, hit machine better than Sidewalk Driver. This band is fun with a capital “F” and should be blasting pool-side all summer long. There isn’t a single bad song on their latest release My Face so we’re struggling to mention one. “Karaoke Guy (Monday Night)” is a hoot, but you got to love this band’s unique brand of electric power pop and their ability to embrace their inner weirdos with open arms. Hugs!
We’re still wondering why Waylon Speed was never featured on The Sons of Anarchy soundtrack. “Reminds Me” is groovy southern-fried guitar rock that sounds like it was made for Woodstock. No surprise from these harmony driven, long-haired honky-tonk Vermonters. Yet, there’s no denying that singer Noah Crowther’s vocals have a distinctive quality all their own.
If you’re looking for a tune to get people on the dance floor, you can’t beat Bad Rabbits “Doin’ It”. This is electrifying and fun pop-funk with a sun-soaked beach vibe guaranteed to get those feet moving.
Dwight and Nicole are known on the local scene for their infectious and soulful bluesy originals, but hot damn, Nicole Nelson’s smoldering cover of “Hallelujah” is perfect for starry nights and canoodling.
If Coke Weed pops up on the stereo half-way through a party, people might start falling in love. Consider yourself warned. “Anklet” is a slow and dreamy psych-rock number with purring vocals by Nina Donghia that has the power to lull us all to laid-back places.
Apple pie, black jeans and motor oil all hanging over a snappy, pop rock rhythm you can’t help by tap your feet too. That’s the story of The Lights Out track “Vinny and Roxie.” But what’s summer without a good old-fashioned love story, the youthful abandon of rock and roll, and all the possibilities that entails?
For the ultimate summer rollick, it doesn’t get better than Melvern Taylor and his Fabulous Meltones new release The Old New Stuff. The song “Penny Arcade” strikes up an old-timey and raucous romp reminiscent of sunny days, salty air and the kind of boardwalk we want to be transported to — right now.