My first listen of Surf City’s Kudos marked the first time in a long time I’ve listened to a record and wanted to start it over and listen again. The New Zealand band packs so much punch and pop into their charging rock songsthat you can’t help but tap your foot or nod your head the entire time. Unlike so many bands that hide behind walls of distortion, Surf City embraces it, crafting catchy song after catchy song. What stands out about Surf City on tracks like “See How the Sun” or “Kudos” is that they’re carefully crafted songs, not just four guys playing their instruments, as so many indie noise makers do. Clearly influenced by the likes of Pavement and Jesus and Mary Chain (from whom they get their name), while capturing the atmospheric singing of Animal Collective, Surf City is a little indie band that you’ll fall in love with after only one listen.
RIYL: Pavement, Jesus and Mary Chain, Animal Collective, Yo La Tengo, The Clean, The Thermals, Vivian Girls
Surf City – Kudos [MP3]
Surf City – Dickshakers Union [MP3]
Surf City on MySpace
St. Louis based Bear Ceuse is the project of Cameron Matthews, a small town Missourian with a knack for writing excellent rock music. Unlike so many other indie bands, Bear Ceuse doesn’t use distortion as shield to cover up sloppy guitar work, instead focusing on catchy songwriting, shifting effortlessly from the rock squalor of Pavement to the sweet guitar riffs of Camera Obscura. Seamlessly, the band shifts from the sweetness of “Elephant” into the hard edge of “American Wit,” a transition that can be jarring, but works to great effect. If you need one track to convince you of how good Bear Ceuse is, check out the amazing “Kiss Another,” which builds through wandering guitars, drum patters, and howls before reaching a loud climax of reverbed guitars. Make sure you download “Kiss Another” below and/or download Bear Ceuse’s free EP, Oh You Blushed!, also linked below, before Pitchfork gives them Best New Music and everyone else hears about them.
RIYL: Pavement, Camera Obscura, Titus Andronicus, Belle & Sebastian, The Mountain Goats
Bear Ceuse – “Kiss Another” [mp3]
Download the “Oh You Blushed!” EP for free [link]
According to their MySpace, AudioDax’s Krypton FLO and Temble (Thomas Balcom and Matthew Rivera) say their “goal with music is to create good feelings and positive vibes through electronic based beats and poetic lyrics.” In that department they’ve certainly succeeded. The internet has made it easy for anyone with a laptop to make music, especially hip-hop, but quality musicians like AudioDax easily stand out above the pack. Songs like “Matter of Time” echo The Postal Service with a rapper, but AudioDax don’t rip off their influences, instead building off of them (take note Owl City). It’s not hard to imagine songs like “Rewind” dominating clubs and music festivals with its unbelievably catchy hook, sing-a-long choruses, and all around positive vibes. AudioDax quickly reached the top of the charts on the Hype Machine recently, and undoubtedly, this band will make some bigger waves soon.
RIYL: Lushlife, k-os, Blue Scholars, The Postal Service, Discovery