El El, "40 Watt"
Last we heard from the Ben Elkins-led pop ensemble El El, they were winning the second installment of this year's Road to Bonnaroo series. Word comes to us this week that El El will release their debut full-length, Geode, in late June, and you can hear the lead-off single "40 Watt" above or via Soundcloud. It's a stomping, sparkling, plinking, lush, three-minute pop number that goes off in all sorts of directions. Give it a listen. El El will play Lulu Mae's album release with Oak Creek Band tonight at Exit/In.
Self, "Stranger Than Strange"
Oh hey, a new track from pride of Murfreesboro Matt Mahaffey and his project Self! It's always good news when we get a taste of fresh Self, but this particular dose is especially heartwarming — it's a track called "Stranger Than Strange" that has been released as part of the benefit compilation Songs for Blake: Embracing Autism. Par for the course with Mahaffey, "Stranger" is a dense, rich, synth-laden studio-pop gem. Buy it here for a buck, or get the whole compilation for $18 right here. Good cause!
Hollow Ox, Hollow Ox
Bummer news for fans of local post-rockers Hollow Ox: They're calling it quits, with two band members moving to different states. They have one final effort, a five-track self-titled release that you can stream above or purchase for any price you like at HO's Bandcamp page. It's a dreamy, chilled-out collection of mid-tempo rock numbers with lush, ethereal guitars. Hollow Ox was mixed by Mark Nevers, who's worked with Lambchop, William Tyler, Silver Jews, Bonnie "Prince" Billy and dozens of others, so it's no surprised that it sounds wonderfully balanced. Hollow Ox will play a release/farewell show with Ttotals and Pale Rider May 23 at The Stone Fox.
Trail Magic, Non-Traditional Folk Songs
As I mentioned recently, Trail Magic is the phoenix that arose from the ashes of now-defunct Colorfeels, and they make smart, folk-tinted baroque-pop. Or, you might say, non-traditional folk songs. All sorts of layered instrumentation and lovely melodies — I'm picking up some Sufjan vibes. Dip in above, or purchase the record for any price you like at Trail Magic's Bandcamp page.
The Suez, The Suez
The Suez sort of reminds me of Ween. They don't overtly remind me of Ween, per se, but the their shape-shifting eponymous debut playfully melds a myriad of genres in the way Ween always liked to. In The Suez's case, the genres at play are punk rock (like, for example, The Cramps), doo-wop and girl groups (like, say, The Shangri-Las) and surf (like, oh I don't know, The Ventures). Make sense? Plus it's got some good drumming (particularly on "Do Me Do Me"). Stream The Suez above, or buy it for $5 via Bandcamp.