Sunday, April 10, 2011

More Reasons To Get Pumped


“Someday You’ll Understand”

* * * 1/2

If the Audiophiles’ environment was the hilly, weed-scented heart of San Francisco, Tumbleweed Wanderers are aiming more for the Great Wide Open. “Someday You’ll Understand,” the first single from the post-Audiophiles project of Jeremy Lyon and Zak Mandel-Romann, is an acoustic, leaving-everything-behind ballad supported by a sunny yet lonely 6/8 guitar vamp and the loose vocal harmonies of the duo. The riff and the uncertain lyrics create a contrast that works surprisingly well--if there’s any sort of a cliffhanger at the end as the duo drives off into the sunset, the music is reassuring enough. There’s a bright future waiting for them somewhere along that road, and if all goes well, one for the Tumbleweed Wanderers too.


“Untitled (Inspired By True Events)”

* * * *

In case you need any more reason to be excited about a revival of the original teen Bay Area garage-rock scene, Madders frontman Sam Crocker has released his first solo single in over a year. We imagined a blast of pent-up folk-punk fury, but instead Crocker gave us this stunning, country-tinged ballad. There isn’t much here--just acoustic guitar, vocals, and some electric guitar. The lyrics are minimal to the point of being blunt, as is the playing, but Crocker’s voice, a tough yet tender croon with more than a trace of punk/garage rock/rockabilly awkwardness, gives the lyrics a striking depth. But one of the song’s most affecting characteristics is the word painting. A minute-and-a-half in, an unexpected (and, according to Crocker, accidental) spasm of echo interrupts Crocker’s voice, like a sob being held back, before the release comes in the form of a painfully beautiful electric-guitar solo.


“I Just Wanna”

* * * 1/2

Though former St. Valentinez singer Nick Martin a.k.a. Romance of Thieves is believed to be collaborating with Chris Brown, Mary J. Blige, and Flo Rida in the near future, his brand of dark and atmospheric yet catchy and addictive R&B has more in common with that of artists like the Weeknd than any of those more “aggressive” acts. On “I Just Wanna,” Martin sets multiple fluttering layers of his sweet, sensual voice over an ominous, spidery beat, sounding like a perfectly nice guy who took a wrong turn on the way to the movie theater with Ms. Rodriguez and ended up in the universe of a David Lynch movie. His prematurely sensual voice, sliding around multiple octaves but remaining restrained, is untouched by digital interference, and the organic quality adds to the intimacy. And if his universe may be a bit weird and spooky, it’s a fun place to be trapped--and Martin seems to be enjoying it plenty.

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