“Pet the Ghost” by Darlings // Perfect Trip EP (2013)
Darlings is a Brooklyn based four piece that blends grungy throwback indie rock with killer jangle pop melodies. They exist in that middle ground between Yuck’s laid back guitar jams and Wild Nothing’s dreamy shoegaze pop. Considering they’re still early into their careers, Darlings might shift one way or the other, which I’m sure would sound excellent, but it’s quite refreshing to hear some straight up guitar driven rock music that calls to mind the late 90’s rise of bands like Built to Spill and Modest Mouse (and maybe even some latter era Pavement). “Pet the Ghost” takes an infectious guitar riff and layers on a stellar pop melody and a boy/girl harmony over the chorus that has been stuck in my head for hours. It’s a fantastic track and hopefully the sign of an exciting new band primed to blow some minds and speakers in the year to come.
The Appleseed Cast are a band that at one point in time could be regularly found blaring out of my car speakers as I traveled across the highways of the midwest in search of whatever indie show I could find the time to catch. They were one of those bands that I found myself liking after seeing them play a half dozen times, opening for other bands who I was actually paying to see, but ultimately becoming as big of a fan of them as the headliners. I was a lot younger then. My tastes were evolving and shifting into other places. Its been well over a decade now, and I honestly haven’t looked back that often. So, it’s a nice surprise to see a new track from the band popping up, forcing me to give a familiar old friend a listen again. “Great Lake Derelict” packs that familiar punch of some of the still great material from 2001’s “Low Level Owl”, but the band has aged, as have I, and with that time the lineup has shifted and morphed into a new collective with the same name and vibe, but a new energy - and that’s a very good thing. The soaring guitars and organs are occasionally broken up by the math-y time signatures and jazz influenced rhythm section, and it brings a smile to my face to hear that sound again that was such a big part of my life in the late 90’s and early 00’s. Chris Crisci’s voice is still one of my favorite things at play here - much like his work on Old Canes as of late, it’s that welcoming warmth that brings me back in and sucks me back in for repeat listens. I’m happy as hell to hear such a triumphant return from the Kansas boys, and now I’m feeling like dusting off some of the old gems in anticipation of the new full length. Highly recommended.
Late last year, the Washington DC based duo, GEMS, dropped a couple of dream pop-by-way-of-folk beauties on their Bandcamp and Soundcloud pages. Both tracks, (especially “All I Ever”) carried a sort of ethereal, western, dust blown sound similar to Mazzy Star or Widowspeak and this new track, “Pegasus”, doesn’t stray too far from that lovely wheelhouse. Hopefully, this will get us a few steps closer to a full length, or EP release in the coming months that continues to explore these moody, dreamy sounds. Highly recommended.