Alt Pop

Spirits of Leo share single “Eden” + play album release show at Tender Trap on 3/22

With its title referencing the biblical world without sin, Brooklyn's Spirits of Leo's new track “Eden” (streaming below) creates a dreampop impression of that earthly temptation garden. Having relocated to Brooklyn from California, the band's creative force Ryan Santos Phillips weaves in a nod to Steinbeck's “East of Eden” as well. However, much like the human struggles in that literary tale, the prevailing focus here is of a paradise lost. Built around a driving bass line, melodic guitar riffs and clearly defined percussion, the vocals cascade in layers that create an atmospheric motion. “I wonder where we're going again” serves as the songs catchiest repeated lyrical refrain providing a glimmer of hope for another chance at paradise. Included on the full-length album “Equinox,” the band will play its release show on March 22 at Tender Trap, with the record available everywhere on the 23rd. - Dave Cromwell

Lavender Blush brings atmospheric noise rock to Shoegaze Fest (4.15)

One way to describe Lavender Blush is a diamond in the rough soundscape of San Francisco shoegaze. Another, more simple (and perhaps even more meaningful) descriptor is just good. Like their sound, there’s no need for over-complication. This is the type of band that sneaks up on you, that stuns you into a silence with driving guitar parts, fuzzy production, and haunting vocals. The track “Misdirection” (streaming below) is an exercise in the genuine, one that is meant to be listened to over and over again. Lavender Blush will be playing at the EB Shoegaze Fest on April 15th at The Fireside Lounge in Alameda. - Lilly Milman

New The Soft Spots LP Available for Streaming & Purchase

Rainy Daze is the new full-length album from synth-pop outfit The Soft Spots. Positioned underneath a soothing waterfall of dreamy psych-pop, the LP glides in a natural sway, slowing down the constant whirlwind. A sunny outlook is at the core of these songs, albeit with noise-adjusting, shoegazing moments lodged in between. One easily adjusts to the daydreaming waters. You can catch the four-piece at The Fire on Friday, April 6, where they'll be joined by Distant Voices, The Phonies, and Tubey Frank.

Alt Pop

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SXSW 2018 - 5 standout performances by NYC artists

No surprise, SXSW 2018 was busy. With over 2000 acts from 63 countries performing this year, Austin was jam-packed with industry professionals and music fans all week. Downtown was a human ocean in the wee hours, the crowds were rowdy at venues like Dirty Dog and tamer at the Central Presbyterian Church. I waited in line for many of our favorite NYC artists at venues that were filled to capacity hours before they were meant to go on (I'm looking at you, Anna McClellan). Here's a short recap of my favorite performances from this year's SXSW. 

Beshken's Ben Shirken adeptly took us far away from the noise of 6th street and into an ethereal world of eclectic dance music with a nifty setup and bassist/guitarist Ian White at Burnside's Tavern on Wednesday. 

Jukebox the Ghost is currently based out of NYC recording their fifth album Off To The Races at Studio G in Brooklyn. The band put on a stunning show at the StubHub Stage on Wednesday night, playing old songs such as "Girl" and "Somebody," and also debuting "Fred Astaire" and "Everybody's Lonely," two singles from their upcoming record. Their final song of the night was a cover of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" that had everyone, sober and not-so-sober, singing along every word.

Soccer Mommy played songs from her acclaimed new album Clean in a great set at Cheer Up Charlie's on Friday, followed later that night at the same venue by Brooklyn's Topaz Jones, whose soulful, crowd-pleasing performance had us laughing and dancing alike. "Has anyone seen Stranger Things?" he asked, introducing his 2016 song "Winona."

Finally, my absolute favorite performance of this year's SXSW was Kitten's at Mohawk Outdoor (pictured above). Originally from LA, the band recently moved to NYC and enrolled local musicians BITS (Blu and Rex Detiger) in the live lineup. Kitten's frontwoman Chloe Chaidez was a delight to watch: an unusual burst of energy and incredibly agile gymnast, all without missing a note or a beat. She finished out the night with a 20-foot jump (more or less) into the audience and then sitting down at the drum kit, completely nailing the rhythm section of the last song and taking us all by surprise. -Geena Kloeppel

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