Alt Pop

The Q-Tip Bandits are all class in debut record "Ain't It Great"

TGIF! For many reasons, but of the oh so many perhaps there is none as cheerful as the release of The Q-Tip Bandits’ debut EP Ain’t It Great. This sonic triple-threat is as sophisticated as we have come to expect from previous Q-Tip Bandits singles, but the jazz mousse is heavy atop the group’s upbeat indie rock/pop hybrid. The title track opens up with the brass instrumentation that characterizes the group, flowing slowly past the assertive electric guitar riff at the heart of the song, the build-ups bursting to reveal cheery choruses and festive breakdowns. “What’s Your Drug” lets the full bassline of Claire Davis lead the way as Leo Son’s vocals cleave with emotion, and then you know who you are listening to. Dakota Maykrantz' chic drums provide a rhythmic foundation that adapts and delivers though each hit of the snare the passion the music demands. “The Wolf” finishes an indie rock/pop delicacy of an EP that is a glossy calling card for the talented band. Listen to Maclin Tucker (trumpet), and Stephan Tenney (trombone) make their instruments howl in “The Wolf” streaming below. - Rene Cobar, photo by Sophie Park

Wons Phreely + The Horses release new single "Restless To Run"

Wons Phreely + The Horses have created a breathtaking new piece of music for these claustrophobic times called "Restless To Run". The new single, with its crashing synths and singer Justin Wonsly's soaring voice, makes for a great wake-up track, a song to blast during a sanity walk down the block, or music for any occasion that needs a little brightness. The Australian singer-songwriter has come up in the LA scene over the past few years, sharing bills with Gotye and Bright Eyes; the band's videos have earned them spots on year-end best-of lists alongside Beyonce and Childish Gambino. The video for "Restless To Run" keeps things simple, consisting mostly of shots of Wonsly singing while playing the drums, but it does show off his musical prowess. Take a look for yourself down below. - Will Sisskind

Kidhimself recalls a hazy romance in new single "Hooked On You"

Portland, Maine’s Kidhimself is quite serious about his feelings in his latest track “Hooked On You” which is a cool, laid-back pop song that is gooey with dreamy thoughts sprung from love and recreation. The atmospheric song recalls amid its swelling ambiance and snappy rhythm someone worth remembering, in a haze or otherwise. If love is fleeting, the music of Kidhimself is forever ever, mostly because its chill/wavy vibe is a keen sonic translation of the coastal New England winds that surely inspired it. For something to get lost in, for someone to remember, “Hooked On You” is streaming below. - Rene Cobar 

Partake in Trivila Shields' danceable sadness on "For The Best (feat. Angelica Bess)"

Synthpop multi-instrumentalist Christian Carpenter (a.k.a Trivial Shields) excels in the field of sad bops — tracks where the vibe feels lighthearted and dance-forward, yet marked by subtle, lachrymose undertones. Case in point, new single “For The Best” provides a groove-focused atmospheric jam, with a sensitive vocal performance from vocalist and producer Angelica Bess that adds a recollective, sometimes wistful energy. Such a pairing of melancholic lyricism with indie pop instrumentation isn’t new, but Carpenter and Bess’s collaboration enables to take in both sweet and sad in equal turn, laying down a bop well-suited for hopeless romantics and club kids alike, the type of jam that makes you cognizant of the friends (and possibly lovers) who are no longer in your life, but whose impact is still felt and appreciated in the present. Give it a stream below as you dream of your eventual return to the dance floor.

Cap'n Marble whisks you away in new record "Come 2 California"

For the bad news, some good music is in order. Cap’n Marble’s new record Come 2 California is an easy-listening psych-pop experience lightly sprayed with surf rock for an exquisite mixture of sounds. The opening title track whisks you away to your place of comfort; the music is a little hot and humid with its lingering harmonies and semi-spooky synths that contrast sparkly acoustic guitar embellishments. “In Too Deep” boasts an irresistible bassline, for your most exciting fantasies while “When the Sun” has a rhythm that is sultry and vocals like a cool breeze you can feel brush over your senses. We dare say that “Evermore” has an alluring, start-of-evening feel to it that fits as a finale to an album tailored for your worst and best days. Stream the title track from this Boston duo below for a hint of clarity from the confusion that saturates the air. - Rene Cobar

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