Feel Good Hits of the Summer: Top 10 albums for the Summer of 2019

This Summer has given us some of 2019’s freshest tunes from artists like Crumb, Devendra Banhart, and Mannequin Pussy to name a few. We hate to narrow it down but the ten artists below have put out some great music and it would  be criminal for you not to check them all out.

So without further ado, here’s my top 10 albums for the summer of 2019!

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Curtis’ Prime Slices Of The Week (5/4-5/10): A. Swayze & the Ghosts, Mavis Staples

A. Swayze & The Ghosts – “Reciprocation” [single] – (indie punk rock)

I actually heard this song a few weeks ago but didn’t fall in love with it until now. This song plays for a whopping ten minutes but in no way does it feel like it. Even though the song is fairly simple in structure, it really feels necessary that it goes on as long as it does. The vocals and words over the beginning feel so perfect and natural that I’m begging to know where this band has been before now. Over the span of the song the singer starts out as calm and seems to be driven further and further into insanity by a dead relationship. The recording is very raw and it more sounds like they’re playing a show than anything. The ending really gets me with the repetition of “Why am I Waiting for you?” and I think it sums up the song perfectly. Please check this band out.

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Curtis’ Prime Slices of the Week (4/28 – 5/3): Nate Mercereau, Odonis Odonis

Nate Mercereau – “Joy Techniques” [single] – (acid synth jazz)

“Joy Techniques” is first release by multi-instrumentalist and producer Nate Mercereau. Nate has been involved in dozens of projects in the past few years, including Logic’s The Incredible True Story, Kesha’s Rainbow, and even Lizzo’s CUZ I LOVE YOU. For the amount of work he’s done in the past couple of years it’s strange it took him this long to release something of his own. The song is so hyper, it’s hard to keep track of what’s going on sometimes. The ongoing synth at the start gives me strong Once In A Lifetime vibes but the whole thing is like a pumped up BadBadNotGood. It seems more like a jam than a coherent song but he makes a point of having distinct sections using dynamics. The musicianship is absolutely stunning and I’m sure Nate knew exactly who to call. Check this out!

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Curtis’ Prime Slices Of The Week (4/20 – 4/26): Courtney Barnett, Field Medic

Courtney Barnett – “Everybody Here Hates You” [Single] – (indie rock)

Courtney Barnett is one of those artists that when you thought they couldn’t possibly release another awesome song they seriously surprise you. This song fits right in with her other repertoire and is just as catchy. Courtney sings with that typical, tired and lazy sound through the entire song which seems to give the song a lot more personality. The song is about the paranoia of everyone you’re around hating you. Courtney answers the song title in the chorus, “you said, ‘it’s only in your head, they’re probably thinking the same thing.'” The music video also plays with that idea, as the majority of it is the band playing inside of her own head. The guitar solo that ends the song is very swampy and messy; going wild on her whammy bar and open strumming. The song gets stuck in your head like all her other songs so check it out!

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Show Review: Bad Sounds at The Paradise Rock Club

Hailing all the way from Bath, England, Bad Sounds have been touring as the opener for Broods since the end of March and I was able to catch their show at the Paradise Rock Club on Sunday.

Walking into the venue only 15 minutes before they started, the room was already over half full with more people coming in every minute. When Bad Sounds came onto the stage they got a pretty big welcome and really matched the energy. Their stage presence was exciting and captivating and they were clearly having a good time. The two brothers, Ewan and Callum, really play off each other and have an obvious chemistry. The songs were punchy and energetic and the sea of people only got bigger after they started.

The song “Avalanche” stood out the most for me. The lyrics were easy to hear and sing along to, as well as the fact that it was so upbeat and fun. Near the end of the set, the brothers started jumping on the backs of the guitarist and bassist, reaching around and playing the instruments themselves –which was something I’ve never seen before. All in all, the show was very entertaining and when it was over it felt too soon. It had been a half hour and I felt like I was there for 10 minutes. Their sound relies on the back bone of the drums, bass, and guitar but the synthesizers really bring a fun and interesting color to the group. Bad Sounds will be gaining a lot of new fans on this tour judging by that performance!

 

Curtis’ Prime Slices (4/13 – 4/19): Crumb, Sun Records Curated Vol. 6

Crumb – “Nina” [single] – (indie psych pop)

Crumb has been gaining a ton of attention over the past couple years. Releasing their first EP Crumb in 2016, they now rake in over 1 million listeners with some of those songs now having over 7 million streams. With the release of their new single, “Nina”, and the announcement of their debut full length album, they’ve definitely got a buzz surrounding them. This single gives off remnants of early Tame Impala psych rock which is by no means out of character. The drum beat matched with the bass part creates a trance like groove with the synth being the icing on the cake. Lila Ramani (guitar/vocals) sings a hypnotically catchy melody alongside her soft guitar playing until the very end where she drops out as the rest of the band vamps on an eery three notes. Super excited for what’s in store so check this out!

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Show Review: Dan Mangan at Cafe 939

Award-winning Vancouver-based singer-songwriter Dan Mangan made an appearance at Cafe 939 on March 13, promoting his new album More or Less.

Mangan, who has been coming out with indie folk hit after hit since the mid-2000s, brought a more intimate, stripped-down feel to the Red Room. He didn’t really have a rigid setlist, instead he used a scrap of paper towel with several of his songs scribbled onto it in marker as a frame of reference for what songs he could play, and he had nothing to really back himself musically except his own guitar. While this did limit what songs he could play slightly, with a fair part of his repertoire having a certain level of bombast that could be difficult to capture with a simple acoustic setup, the show being set up that way felt very humble. You could tell that everyone in the room was having a very personal experience.

To me, the concert felt like a conversation or a literal “evening with” just as much as it felt like a performanceDan spent a lot of time in between songs sharing his experiences and background to his music and it felt like every song he played had a story behind it. For example, “Jude” was a song he wrote for his son, and to go along with that, he shared his experience writing it for the film Hector and The Search for Happiness.

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Curtis’ Prime Slices (4/6 – 4/12): The Chats, Stef Chura

The Chats – “Pub Feed” – (punk)

This band of Aussies blew up big time when they released their hilariously catchy debut single “Smoko,” accompanied by a video that now has over 6 million views. If you haven’t seen it yet I suggest you do that ASAP. Anyway, after a year, they’ve finally released another song that is just what was expected to follow up. Following the foot steps of “Smoko,” which is slang in Australia for a smoke break, “Pub Feed” is another term for havin’ a pint with your steak, gravy, and chips at the local pub. This group a lads really know how to write good, simple punk songs that are super catchy and funny at the same time. They’ve been packing venues in Australia and are doing a small North American tour this month in only a few cities so if you’re nearby one of them you better buy a ticket!

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Curtis’ Prime Slices (3/30 – 4/5): Field Medic, White Denim

Field Medic – “used 2 be a romantic” – (indie folk)

First up this week we have a brand new single from indie-folker Field Medic. “used 2 be a romantic” is a very personal song about the realities of his musical career. The opening lines set the mood pretty quickly “I need a cigarette, those f***ers talked over my whole set, but I don’t have any time to reflect, I gotta sell some shirts to try and make the rent.” The lyrics have a little something for everyone to relate to with themes of un-appreciation, alcoholism, and financial struggles. The song thrives in its simplicity and gets you with its really hooky chorus. His new album fade into the dawn is set to release on April 19th and it’s shaping up to be a another successful one. Give it a listen!

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Curtis’ Prime Slices (3/23 -3/29): Daniel Norgren, GRiZ

Daniel Norgren – “Let Love Run The Game” – (soul/blues rock)

Waiting to be heard today was this little gem of a song by Daniel Norgren. I knew I had to feature it the moment it started playing. At first it sounds like something that came straight out of Fats Domino’s repertoire, but soon transforms into this anthemic, soulful, and bluesy rock tune. The song sounds like it was recorded live in the same room as you pretty much feel like you’re there with them, which gives off that very ’50s recording sound.  The lyrics are simple and find a place in your head after your first listen. The music video, which is a collection of videos taken by the band during various tours and gigs, solidifies the tune’s sentimentality. It’s a real feel-good song that’ll hopefully get you ready for another week of hittin’ the books. Take a listen!

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