@@@ Cautious Clay: Deadpan Love (Self-released, 2021) A blend of coffehouse soft rock and r&b type sounds. The standout here is Clay’s voice, he can sing for sure. A snaky melody that he handles really well. I don’t love the guitar tones, they’re just too soft/NPR for my taste and I don’t love the fingersnaps but I like the weird keyboard solo and how there’s a subtle sax threaded through. It’s interesting to see how he’s straddling two sonic worlds as well as two listening worlds here. It’s not my cup of tea but I give respect to the uniqueness of the blend and to his vocal abilities.
@@@ Lucy Dacus: Hot & Heavy (Matador, 2021) An indie darling is Ms. or Mrs. Dacus. First track on the record, opens with a cloudy synth and it’s got a country feel combined with a core indie structure but ultra pimped production which makes it sound much more mainstream. I’m not sure what it’s trying to be — a little female Springsteen epic rock, very little indie outside of the vocal track and lyrics about teenage romance. I’m not feeling connected to either the lyrics or the music. This doesn’t seem particularly inspired or passionate and has a restraint that I find kinda not great. I thought this would be better being an indie darling and all.
@@@ Peach PRC: Symptomatic (UMG, 2021) Low self esteem electro pop with roots in ’80s synth rock. I never understood the downer lyrics with the ultra bubbly pop. Don’t throw out your meds because you had a good day — that’s one of the lines from the chorus. There’s a healthy dose of guitars on this track so it gets medium into rock feels for a mainstream track, and it has a classic MTV rock-dance beat but unfortunately the guitar tones are pretty shit. The star here is Peach. She’s got a big melody in the verse and shoe goes for it in the chorus with a call and response hook around the word symptomatic. She sings all right, don’t like the guitars, hate the beat it makes me want to hang myself. But that’s just me.