There are people in my life who’ve abandoned the sun of California for damper and colder climates and I’ll never understand why. This state is a dream with every landscape there and while we don’t have traditional weather, we do have bands like Polaris Rose. They’ve managed to capture the laid back ways, the sun rays and the demure of the Golden state on their album, OceanSongs.
While we don’t have hurricanes on the west coast, “Hurricane” is a treat. It’s like a case of indie pop derived from the ‘90s. It packs a punch in the most innocent kind of way. It sits atop the rest but not without the tenderness of “OceanEnding” far behind. Polaris Rose’s Peter Anthony and Madelynn Elyse like to give audiences a range of dynamics and those two tracks were the ones that played well for me, but I wasn’t too keen when it came to “Goddess.” It kept getting stuck in my head, but I’m not sure that means I was digging it. Maybe because the music on that one was a big harsher than the rest…
California is a spacious state with so many nooks and crannies to get lost in, but if you want to hear just a piece of what it’s like to live here…check out Polaris Rose – multifaceted, laid back and a bit of a spark when need be. You can grab their new album, OceanSongs, out now.
At first I was iffy, thinking Sledding With Tiger’s A Necessary Bummer was going to be like that uber-weird hipster stuff my best friend and her boyfriend thinks is magical (love you guys, but I can’t with that), but alas as the songs unraveled I came to appreciate the way this indie, folk yet punkish record played. Plus, any record that shouts out Limp Bizkit in any way shape or form is one I can fully support.
From the get go you were introduced to folk music being played on an indie landscape with lyrics that matched that of an self conscious kid just trying to figure shit out. It was like if you transplanted some of The Wonder Years’ earlier songs into a new musical layout. I loved and attached myself to the self-doubt of “Never Really Good At Sports” and “National Public Radio,” but it was “Not So Body Posi After All” that really did it for me. A Necessary Bummer could’ve been this song 10 times and it’d still would’ve been great to me. The idea of self image is something that’s not talked about in this light too often, so it’s nice to hear that self consciousness in song.
Aside from the tracks that made you reflect and connect, there were some that were just plain adorable. Anyone who’s ever watched Victorious (I was not too old for it, don’t hate) will agree that Matt Bennett could’ve written “Handshake (Never Trust Relationship Advice From The Lead Singer In A Pop-Punk Band).” The same goes for “I Got The Blues Macaroni And Cheese” and “Oh, Right. Damn, It.”
It’s been a minute since I’ve enjoyed a record as much as I have this one, so while I’m noting this for my end of the year list – make sure you get in tune with Sledding With Tigers and check out A Necessary Bummer right now because it’s out for your listening pleasure on Antique Records. I’m serious, waiting any longer will be bad for your health.
It’s unusual for me to sit down on a Sunday afternoon and try and get ahead on anything, but here I am trying to be on top of things by listening to Ingrid Michaelson’s Lights Out. It incorporates a lot of style elements while still maintaining the core of what she’s known for – soft, singer songwriter vocals that never fail to be endearing.
The current single, “Girls Chase Boys” is great. That hook is killer for a mature pop song, but there were others that stole the “best of” crown. “Afterlife” was the full package from the music to the insightful lyrics, but the Disney like ways of the dreamy “Handsome Hands” wasn’t too far behind. As for all the elements, you had some Duffy tendencies in “Warpath” and some folk going on in “You Got Me” featuring Storyman. Which, speaking of…the guests on Lights Out are great from Trent Dabbs to A Great Big World. While there was a lot to offer on this record, there were some not so interesting moments. “Time Machine” was just okay, and “Home” failed to convince me to stay in.
From styles that cross the board to guest spots that do their part, Ingrid Michaelson has a record that’s really eclectic but true to who she is. If you’re the kind of music lover who has some vinyl from A Fine Frenzy or Sara Bareilles, then you’ll have to add this album to your collection. Lights Out is out now, so check it.