Fresh Lumber: Ryan Bingham, Belle and Sebastian, Old Wave
Ryan Bingham – Fear and Saturday Night
While I enjoyed the balls-to-the-wall, screw-you-and-your-expectations production of Ryan Bingham’s Tomorrowland (2012), which may have scared off some purists, Bingham dials it back a bit on Fear and Saturday Night, while still taking some trademark chances.
Not many have the cojones, as in “Adventures of You and Me”, to start a song with a south-of-the-border accordion riff and immediately delve into lyrics about cruising to New York City and trying to forget about Wall Street crooks. Bingham’s genuine attitude and social awareness – something that can be all-too-rare in any genre – is still refreshing.
Find in iTunes: Fear and Saturday Night – Ryan Bingham
Belle and Sebastian – Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance
Belle and Sebastian’s The Life Pursuit (2006) spins in my CD player several times a year – which is a lot in a world with an infinite playlist. Its dynamic production makes it more than an album you just wake up or lie down to, like much of their early catalog.
A lot of the brand new Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance is still very much their signature dream pop. But the rest is the result of an evolution of a band that’s been foreshadowing such a move for nearly a decade.
Some may be put off by the overt ABBA influences or the seven (!) songs that clock in at more than five minutes. And I was expecting to be among them. But I’ve found myself going back to Girls in Peacetime several times since its release. It introduces another depth for a band that doesn’t care about trying to maintain a status as a lo-fi indie darling.
Find in iTunes: Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance – Belle and Sebastian
Old Wave – S/T
Chalk up this find to the very unscientific method of scrolling deep into Rdio’s new releases page and stopping on a promising looking album cover. This is a method that produces viable results usually only once out of a dozen times. But it paid off handsomely in this case.
It’s hard to find much on Old Wave, other than that they are a Portland-based quartet that includes Adam Brock, who released the 2013 EP, Headphones.
Old Wave play subtle yet bouncy mountain folk/pop that presents some completely unexpected and well-executed hairpin turns. I’m reminded of Vampire Weekend, Fleet Foxes or Sufjan Stevens at times. But Old Wave are very much their own sound.
Find in iTunes: Old Wave – Old Wave