The Needle Drop

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Girls Names- "The New Life"

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Hailing from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Girls Names are an ambitious indie pop band currently signed to Slumberland Records. While many of the bands signed to the venerable label are known for a dreamy brand of indie pop (e.g. Crystal Stilts, Frankie Rose, etc.), Girls Names distinguish themselves on their new single, “The New Life,” by achieving a marvelous groove. The track begins with a snappy drum pattern that shifts from one channel of audio to the other, a clever production trick that really messes with your head and engages the listener right from the get-go. Next, the thick bassline enters delivering an appropriately gloomy element to the song. Soon after, the sparse lead melody and rhythm guitar join in and complete the groove, with each instrument clear in the mix and each member of the band playing off each other wonderfully. The groove (that is soon bolstered by the vocalist’s melancholic moan) create a palpable and hypnotic landscape of dejection. Throw in a nice guitar solo and dissonant feedback towards the end of the track for some added color and you’ve got yourself a fantastic single.

Girls Names’ single “The New Life” can be pre-order through Tough Love Records.

Evans The Death- "Telling Lies"

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A tight, little pop rock tune from the forthcoming self-titled Evans The Death album. It'll be out via Slumberland on March 6th.

While this track is about not telling the truth, the great vocals and strong hook here do not deceive. In usual Slumberland fashion, the song does feel like a lost underground rock gem dropped at some point between 1988 and 1994, but the tune here is too catchy to deny.

Big Troubles- Romantic Comedy

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Featuring a good friend of mine, Derek Ljongquist, this review is on the sophomore Big Troubles album, Romantic Comedy. It's out now on Slumberland Records and sounds like a well-produced and feel-good piece of throwback jangle pop. Stream or download the audio review below.

What do you think of this record? Love it? Hate it? Why? What should we take on next in these audio reviews that I hope to make weekly.


Stream: Big Troubles- "Sad Girls"

Veronica Falls- "Come On Over"


A new video from an English band I currently have a big crush on: Veronica Falls. Their new self-titled album will be out on Slumberland Recs later this fall.

The song in the video above is "Come On Over." I know it seems like it's in the same vain of many "twee" and indie rock groups that have come before this group, but I think the songwriting and execution are what makes this group stand out. The light, airy boy girl vocals seem more eerie than cute. The drums are really stripped down, and give the band a Velvet Underground-esque feel. The chord progressions on a lotta these tracks are pretty good, too.

Hear more tracks from the band's new album on SoundCloud. See some upcoming tour dates on their website as well.

Crystal Stilts- In Love With Oblivion


On their latest album, Crystal Stilts brings what made their full-length debut great while still adding some extra sounds to the mix. The tunes here are much more upbeat, and there are a few legit hits that sneak their way into the track list like "Shake the Shackles" and "Through the Floor."

In addition to that, piano and organ show up a lot more, too. They actually grab more attention than the guitar a many of these tracks, creating a lazily smashed back beat that reminds me of the Velvet Underground's "Sister Ray"--which isn't a bad tune to share similarities with, honestly.

The lyrics bring up a lot of surrealist imagery, and the invasive reverb only intensifies the dreamy soundscape.

Though Crystal Stilts wear their influences pretty proudly, there's something about them that keeps me from listening to the influences instead. There's spooky and ominous delivery to their music that just hypnotizes me into pressing the play button again and again.