Soda Shop sounds much like what you expect them to, given what the duo has named themselves. Their EP is one to listen to while drinking creamsicle smoothies (their sound is less rockabilly than a classic milkshake, but nonetheless sweet) in the sun wearing cute sunglasses. Drew Diver, the guitarist, used to play for the Drums, and Soda Shop has a similar beachy guitar driven sound. Singer Maria Usbeck has a lovely husky breathy voice that adds to the dreaminess of the band's sound. I really like "Wistful Past" (as will any fans of caroline says) and "Keep Swimming," but it's a solid EP throughout.
The debut solo record from Gwenno Saunders (best known as a member of British group The Pipettes) is highly political. But if that’s not your thing, don’t worry because – unless I’m highly underestimating our KVRX DJs and audience – you won’t understand a word of it. Gwenno sings in Welsh and occasionally in Cornish, an attempt to represent and preserve minority languages. Commendable.
Even if the lyrics are lost upon you, Y Dydd Olaf is an enjoyable record. The production gleams with futuristic electro-pop goodness. None of the tracks here are necessarily fit for heavy radio play and, admittedly, the record lacks accessibility and relatability for us American listeners. But it’s easy to get lost in the dreamy atmospheric world Gwenno creates here, one that is uniquely insular with far-reaching, extroverted intent.
For her 3rd full length, New York’s Tamaryn traded in slow-burning, dreamy jams for a punchier, more anthemic sound. The results are darker, fiercer and more inciting than anything we’ve seen previously in her catalog.
Despite it’s stadium-like qualities, Cranekiss still feels intimate – it’s the house party you crashed but was way too small for you to not have BYOB’d. The sound here is more processed than the smooth, ethereal moods on 2010’s The Waves or 2012’s Tender New Signs. But the production is still neat and trimmed, making this Tamaryn’s most direct and affective record to date.
Underneath the music, she tackles “desire and late night abandon,” themes that on her first two records might be easy for an unwise listener to overlook. But producer Jorge Elbrecht has pushed Tamaryn’s vocals higher in the mix, highlighting her emotion like never before. It’s a welcome change in sound, one that makes Cranekiss (and her live shows) a livelier affair.
Best Tracks: #1 Cranekiss / #2 Hands All Over Me / #9 Sugar Fix