MILKY CHANCE — “Blossom”
THE GOOD: German folk/indie pop trio Milky Chance dodge the sophomore slump.
THE BAD: Nope.
THE NITTY GRITTY: One could classify these guys as “mainstream pop” in Europe and Australia. Here in the states, we lump Milky Chance in with all the alternative acts because their stuff is “just weird enough” to NOT crossover in a huge manner. Hey, but weird is good, and it’s never boring.
At their core, Milky Chance is a jazz-infused singer/songwriter outfit; charismatic frontman Clemens Rehbein leading his crew through delicate tunes played over exquisite acoustic and electric guitar work. The band is equally all about layered backbeats, both electronic and organic. All these tracks ride a well-defined groove; dance if you want to. Yet most of these songs would shine in an acoustic setting as well.
That’s Milky Chance’s greatest strength. The songs don’t just cast a spell with their rhythms. It’s those rhythms that draw you in immediately.
BUY IT?: Yeah. By all means, catch this multi-dimensional scene.
ELECTRIC GUEST — “Plural”
THE GOOD: Indie pop outfit Electric Guest come back (finally) with their second.
THE BAD: Catchy melodies and tight beats aren’t always that extraordinary.
THE NITTY GRITTY: The group, fronted by blue-eyed soul singer Asa Taccone, rode the whole MGMT/Foster the People/Gnarls Barkley wave and made a dent in the charts with the likeable “This Head I Hold.” They even got Danger Mouse to produce their somewhat engrossing but uneven debut “Mondo.” That was five years ago.
That’s a long time to wait for a follow-up, especially from an act that’s less an innovator and more an “also ran.” Now Taccone has taken over most of the production duties, but you won’t notice the difference. Tracks like “Dear to Me” and “Back for Me” get the job done with bright melodies, seamless grooves and a hint of funk. Not bad at all, but hardly “necessary listening.” Still, if you’re impatiently waiting for the next forgettable Fitz & the Tantrums record, “Plural” should tide you over.
BUY IT?: Meh…your choice.
CHERRY GLAZERR — “Apocalipstick”
THE GOOD: L.A. rock outfit Cherry Glazerr gets tighter and more aggressive on their latest album.
THE BAD: Nah.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Sometimes you crave a loud crunchy new wave record to which you can bounce and thrash around the room. “Apocalipstick” (love that title) is that album. Fronted by the always-confident neo-riot girl Clementine Creevy, Cherry Glazerr cranks out a blazing combination of slick punchy punk and danceable synth-rock. What’s more important, the guitars or the keyboards? Actually, it’s probably the seamless crashing drums below.
Comparisons to contemporaries like Bleached and Bully are inevitable, while detecting echoes of the Vivian Girls or Yeah Yeah Yeahs is unavoidable. Whatever the reason you show up though, expect to break a sweat while having a wild time. From the cheeky aggression spread over “Trash People” to the haunting refrains on the thudding “Nurse Ratched,” “Apocalipstick” blurs the lines between being naughty or serious as a heart attack. Don’t be fooled, this music is smarter than you may think.
BUY IT?: Yes.