A woman tears a strip away from an old newspaper and blots her lipstick—that she’s just applied out here, in the hallway—before she knocks on the door of her friend’s apartment. She knocks three times on his door, a dactylic rap. You can’t stand to see what happens. Will he answer? She bites her lip and knocks again. You could stand here for an eternity waiting to see what happens.
(This is one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite albums of 2015)
This is where you can get weird, with Mark McGuire. These are sonic blooms, not booms, that Mark is offering. Do not refuse his generosity. Riffs blaze through the ether of this song like fireworks or, if you’re a little more sci-fi inclined, lasers. “Sons of the Serpent” is bonkers, in a great way, and if you need music that is very much unlike what you usually listen to (unless you listen to a lot of Mark McGuire already), give this a chance, it’s great.
I have always liked Pains of Being Pure at Heart, and I like them even more now for rolling out this beautiful Orange Juice/Felt homage, Hell. This almost sounds like it could have been on the second side of You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever. The guitars, applied in such a painterly way, are perfect. This EP (also called Hell) consists of one original song–the title track–and two covers, Ballad of the Band (Felt) and Laid (James), the ideal blend for an EP, really.
Dagan Harding—leader of the late, lamented Despistado and the EP-releasing Geronimo—has released a solo record called Best Times. For anyone who loved Despistado (or heard Geronimo at all), this record is for you, though it’s a lot less abrasive, I suppose, than Despistado’s stuff. But if you’ve never heard Harding’s music, there probably aren’t a lot of easy comparison points—maybe late Blood Brothers, especially the poppier songs from Crimes or Young Machetes—but the dude is an inventive songwriter. There is a lot to be said for musicians who keep a song moving, changing, and turning in interesting ways, both lyrically and musically. That’s something that Harding does exceptionally well. His songs are never boring and they’re almost always catchy.