Top8 - 04/29/24

April 29, 2024 - 04:08 PM

Emily Beane back at you with another Top8. Since we've last caught up, I've seen some great shows, gone through the 2024 Fund Drive, and pretended to like vinyl records to appease Mya Ross during Vinylthon. We've all grown a lot as people.

On Sunday, April 21 I caught Teen Suicide at Ace of Cups in Columbus. A really cool early, all ages show. I was probably the oldest person in the room, but what's important is that I didn't look like it. Also got to see the one year anniversary Mountain State Music show put on by our friends at Folklore Music. Our own Andrew Adkins played, as well as Hello June and several other great acts. Make sure you check out the next one of these. Finally, on Sunday evening, I made it down to Dunbar to catch the end of the Dunbar Bingo Hall Show. This was a hardcore show with a lot of cool acts. Really great to see all ages shows happening here in the valley.

I am absolutely delighted that I have new Fontaines DC to talk about this week. Also new stuff from a band I am really getting into called Ekko Astral who just might have a show coming up here in Charleston later this year. Stay tuned for more details.

Florist - Riding Around in the Dark

I know I've talked about Florist in the past. Before I'd ever heard them, I saw a picture of the band and decided that they were not for me. A lot of acid wash mom jeans and weird cardigans. Pastoral New York State. I don't know. I had convinced myself that I couldn't like a hipster thrift store folk band …and then  I heard them and realized I was an idiot. When I try to describe this band, I trip over my adjectives. The quiet restraint. The whispering intimacy. Florist is a delicate spider web holding a morning's worth of dew. Their new single, Riding Around in the Dark is a melancholic meditation on the devastation of a personal conflict contrasted with the mundane experience of simply riding in a car. The song is from the soundtrack of a movie coming up, so it's not leading up to a new album. I went ahead and listened to it 15 times in a row anyway. The moral of the story is – always listen to the band before you make up your mind.

Ekko Astral - on brand

DC's Ekko Astral is a bunch of noisy queer punks and, honestly, thank god for that. Their debut album, Pink Balloons, manages to sound produced and DIY at the same time. This is probably the best way to manage the cacophony they create. I am focusing on the single, "on brand" here. The vocals are sharp and acidic. The band bounces between swaggering and sashaying with a guitar and drum sound that is positively crushing, and just a dash of electro-clash. Fans of Gossip and Le Tigre will find a lot to like here. Ekko Astral also really seem like they'd be a great live act, a claim you may be able to verify when they play here in Charleston later this year.

Fontaines DC - Starburster

Fontaines DC is one of my favorite current bands. I'd also probably rob a bank if their impossibly attractive frontman Grian Chatten asked me to. I love this band so much that it kinda makes me nervous when they release something new. Like, maybe, this is when they finally release something I don't love. Idles, their colleagues across the Irish Sea recently did just that with the deeply mediocre Tangk. The new single, "Starburster" is certainly a bit of a departure for them. The drums are somewhere between classic, boomy Oasis, and bouncy disco. These are punctuated with a gasping vocal sound that is honestly kind of disturbing but in a catchy way. The song is, apparently, inspired by a panic attack that Grian suffered on the London Underground (pity that I wasn't there to comfort him). The half-rapped vocal actually works quite well here, contrasting with the big drum loop to create an unsettling tension. We have to wait until August for the full album. In the meantime, I can always just look at pictures of him. Or watch this video. Repeatedly.

King Hannah - Davey Says

I am not saying that King Hannah ripped off Rilo Kiley's "Portions for Foxes" when they made "Davey Says", but if they are ever at the same bar as Jenny Lewis, they at least owe her a drink. Regardless, the band have created a really strong effort with this single, released ahead of their second full length album. The Liverpool duo harness a very American sound which they have used to great effect on some interesting covers in the past (Madonna & Bruce Springsteen). They sing together here, but not in harmony, which I think is pretty cool. The guitars have a very satisfying indie howl and growl. There's nothing here I don't like. Plus, they have a very diverse sound. Some tracks are really atmospheric, and some sound like something you'd hear in a bar fighting with the sound of a football game on the TV. Exactly my speed.

Golden - Impossible

I know I said I wasn't going to feature the same band over and over. And I know I've featured Golden before. And, no, I am not sorry. I am not sure there is a single band in the world playing old school pop-punk better than Golden. Wild that they are a band you can catch playing in the valley on the regular. The new single is called "Impossible" and it's a pitch-perfect exercise in the genre. While some of pop-punk's origins were occasionally a little whiny (if we're being honest here) or even treacly, Golden choose an anthemic chorus or an expertly delivered megaphone vocal effect. There's a nostalgia element here, but it's only there to color the background. Golden aren't playing pop-punk because it's popular; they are doing it because they love it. And I love this song.

The Woodentops – Too Good to Stay

Give "Too Good to Stay" a spin and see if you don't think of The Replacements or The Smiths. It may come as a surprise to some that this London band was once a contemporary of those acts. And they absolutely wear this on their sleeve. They never quite achieved the same iconic status. Still, this track, (and the whole new album, "Fruits of the Deep") sounds more like a Feelies deep cut with a bit more psych swirl than it does like a microwaved reunion show. If you've never heard of the Woodentops, give this a shot and then check out their back catalog.

Sad&Horny - Good Trip

I checked and it turns out that you are still allowed to listen to Sad&Horny even if you are only sad OR horny. However, happy and sexually satiated people have to listen to Lorde. I don't make the rules, I just inform. It wouldn't be a Top8 without the word "shoegaze" so congratulations, we have arrived at the gauzy section of today's blog. On "Good Trip" Sad&Horny channel a Jesus and Mary Chain haze with a female vocal. Go ahead and listen to the whole album, Ugly on the Inside. It's pretty great.

Oolong - Daisy

Somewhere between emo and egg punk is the ingenious earnestness of Oolong. This is a band to get you screaming along in your Chuck Taylors. There is just a little math in the guitars, and vocals that quickly bound between about-to-cry and apoplectic screaming. Throw in a time signature change and you've got me. Daisy is an absolutely perfect track for where I am right now. Maybe you'll agree.

And this week's extra innings, just a few more things I am listening to right now.

Teen Suicide - Death Wish

Girl Cologne - Red Flags

Hurrah for the Riff Raff - Colossus of Roads

And a playlist with everything.

Thank you for listening and reading!


See also

Top8 - 03/18/24

Top8 - 03/18/24

Top8 - 01/29/2024

Top8 - 01/29/2024