The Week in Fresh Tracks [Norm, Jota Ese, Faux Ferocious, Los Colognes, Millionaire Magicians, The Bang-Up]



I'm proud of the local rock 'n' roll set. Nary a week goes by wherein we at the Cream don't see a smorgasbord of genuinely remarkable local music, and this week is absolutely no exception. Let's not dillydally. Follow me below to hear: Norm's catchy and quirky bedroom pop; Jota Ese's soul- and jazz-sampling instrumental stoner hip-hop; Faux Ferocious' loose garage-punk; and Los Colognes' breezy, Americana-rooted jam-pop. That's not to mention some not-brand-new but newly rediscovered rock 'n' roll from two defunct local outfits: Millionaire Magicians and The Bang-Up. Dive in. It's a really, really good week.

Norm, Norm

Norm is the solo outing of Privates frontman, My So-Called Band frontman and my fellow music scribe (at someplace called Tennessean?) Dave Paulson. In case you never happened to notice from his tenure with The Privates, Paulson is exceptionally gifted when it comes to constructing left-of-center pop numbers, and this eponymous full-length — Norm's second eponymous release — features nothing but idiosyncratic, catchy bedroom pop. While I personally think it sounds great as-is, Paulson promises a fully mastered version in the not-too-distant future. "Right now, it's best heard in my '03 Honda Civic," says Paulson. "The mastered version will come out in May, and everyone who's already downloaded will be sent a download code for it. That version will be put up on Spotify, iTunes, etc. next month, too." Nice. Stream the whole thing above or download it for any price you like at Norm's Bandcamp page. "Funny Face" and "On to You" are my favorites.

Jota Ese, Super Dank II

Jota Ese is the rare local artist — that sweet spot in the Venn diagram — who falls both within the purview of Cream hip-hop columnist Sean L. Maloney's "Party & Bullsh*t" and right here in the Week in Fresh Tracks. Jota's music is sample-based, rooted in soul with sweet, intoxicating beats. But it also features the sort of rich instrumentation and melody-centric arrangements that local rock and pop fans can get behind. Jota's latest, Super Dank II, is available both on Bandcamp and in a Vimeo vid (see that above). The release comes to us courtesy of Day Old Records, of course, and it is indeed dank. Were you the sort of person who enjoys, say, getting "blunted" and "chilling out," this might be just the sort of laid-back soundtrack you'd want to accompany you in your bliss cloud. Also, it's fun to play Name That Sample here. Stream Super Dank II above, or download it for free at Day Old Records' Bandcamp page.

Faux Ferocious, "Listen Hard"

Gloriously sloppy locals Faux Ferocious have a new track by the name of "Listen Hard," and it's a succinct burst of garage-punky, no-shits-given rock 'n' roll that meshes the avant-garde vocal approach of New Wavers like Devo with the quick-burning instrumentation of punks and proto-punks like The Stooges or The Rezillos or, hell, fellow locals Cheap Time. Stream that above or at Faux Ferocious' Soundcloud page.

Los Colognes, "Working Together" and "Sister's Worried Blues"

Want to hear a local band that sounds just like a cross between latter-day Grateful Dead and Wilco? I've got just the thing for you. Los Colognes have a little sliver of easy, breezy, rootsy summertime groovin' by the name of "Working Together," plus the B-side "Sister's Worried Blues." It's a new single that comes to us via local set Electric Western Records, and if you like the poppier, rootsier side of jam, you'll probably dig it. "Working Together" will apparently be available on Los Colognes' forthcoming eponymous LP, but you can stream it above, or download it (along with "Sister's Worried") for $3.25 over at Los Colognes' Bandcamp page.

Millionaire Magicians, In Repose

As noted above, local indie-rock quartet Millionaire Magicians is no longer with us. But it's come to our attention — thanks to Cream reader and rock 'n' roller Ryan Ervin, so hat-tip there — that their In Repose was recorded in 2009, and then it proceeded to "sit around on a single burned CD until 2013." Unacceptable! Well, Repose is now available for free download via the Magicians' Bandcamp page, and like a Guided by Voices record, it's packed with a whole slew of beguilingly catchy, power-poppy indie rock tunes. Seriously. Sixteen tracks, for free. Fresh tracks? Maybe not technically, but they're fresh to us, and absolutely worth a listen. Stream on above or here. And by the way, frontman Jerry Campbell (who was also in Spider Virus) now has a project called Litton Lions, so if you can see them, see them. Also, here's a tribute to his songs by some other locals — listen to it.

The Bang Up, The Bang Up and Cut the Shit

Once upon a time, occasional Cream contributor, metal aficionado and current Alaskan Matt Sullivan was in a Middle Tennessean dance-punk outfit called The Bang Up, and they released two EPs. These tracks remind me a bit of other early-Aughts indie outfits like Moving Units and The Rapture (but genuinely a bit better, honestly, because it's heavier on the "punk" and lighter on the "dance"), and they're now all on Bandcamp. Stream both EPs above, or download them for any price you like at The Bang Up's Bandcamp page.

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