ON DECK: The Shins, Foster The People, The Henry Clay People, Male Bonding

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MUST LISTEN: Foster The People - "Pumped Up Kicks"

A little chillwave surf guitar, a little vocal like singing through an intercom, a little whistling – one percolating cool breeze of a song, as easy as ice coffee, as wide open as uneven brownstone roofs, the infinite spread of summertime in the city. Foster The People and “Pumped Up Kicks” goes down like a cold beer, refreshing to the point where all you want is another. What are you waiting for? Download this.


The Shins - "Goodbye Girl"

Levi's Pioneer Sessions: The Revival Recordings project delivers once again with a fantastic cover from the apparently-not-disbanded Shins. They chose this cover of Squeeze's "Goodbye Girl" as their first new piece of music to be made publicly available in over two years, and it's quite a homecoming. As always, you can stream and download the track here.


LISTEN UP! The Henry Clay People

The Henry Clay People are five Los Angeles kids, a set of brothers and some friends, who have been making, since 2005, music that they describe as ideal for people who prefer “hanging out, drinking cheap beer, and listening to Big Star records” to their city’s club scene. Their music accurately reflects this plebeian image of Saturday nights spent in a bar with antlers hung on the walls – two guitars intertwining like vines, a twangy voice, driving percussion. “Slow Burn” sounds like something you’d put on the jukebox on a first date, or fiddle with the radio until you found, staticky, on some far-off station. Anthemic slide guitar and dual vocals: “You can’t fake the teenage hurt.” It’s youthful, bright, and classic, something you might hear from your cool neighbor’s garage in the nineties. “Your Famous Friends” is just as anthemic: a punchy guitar solo, intoxicating rhythm, piano that brings to mind bands like Delta Spirit. Listen and download both songs here.


Male Bonding - "Year's Not Long"

It took me a few listens to really get into Male Bonding. At first, their lead single, "Year's Not Long" just sounded like a lot of noise. Good noise, but not a whole lot else. After hearing the song a couple of times though I really started to appreciate everything this London-based group put into this track. The guitar riffs are perfect, Robin Silas Christian's drums explode with a mood of energetic optimism, and John Arthur Webb’s vocals beautifully fight through backing music to add a more complex nature to the otherwise upbeat song. Male Bonding show a lot of promise and a lot of talent on this track. With some more time to nurture their sound they should be creating more great music like “Year’s Not Long” in the future. “Year’s Not Long” is the opening track on Male Bonding’s very well-received Sub Pop debut Nothing Hurts. Listen to and download the track here.