Swedish pop-wavers Shout Out Louds are one of the few current bands that really pluck my strings of nostalgia. They're most often compared to The Cure, and I get that, but a strong as the comparison is, that's not the string I'm talking about. (And that incarnation of The Cure, the dreamy poppy version, is not nearly my favorite. Give me the dark, gothic rock of the really early days.) No, to me they remind me of the more sophisticated wave-rock of bands like Visage and Ultravox. This latest single, "In New Europe" feels a bit lighter than all that, it's a bit of a chair dancer, but the hints are there.
The Go! Team are such a fun group, they totally earn that exclamation point in their name. A sis-piece band out of Brighten, England that likes to mix genres such as garage rock, Bollywood, old school hip hop, and, in the case of this album, a high school marching band. I'm so happy our cool friend Karin introduced me to their music recently. Spotify compares them to another exclamation point using band: Los Campesinos! as well as the Tune-Yards, Of Montreal, Dream Wife, and Broken Social Scene... I think you have to name a whole lot of other bands, throw them in a bag and shake it up to get this unique mix. Like I said, fun!
James Bay is a UK pop singer/songwriter working (on this second album - out next week) to slightly remake himself, and the genre. I like pop, but I also like the trend of these guys wanting to be more than hipsters with a guitar (or boy band, in the case of Harry Styles). But whatever, I didn't know two bits about him until coming across this track, despite him winning all the Brit awards in 2015. This track grabs me for the same reason so many others on this blog do: it sounds vaguely 80s. This time more like Billy Idol than New Order but still. I guess, despite coming of age with grunge and techno, my brain first formed it's love of music around the pop radio dial of my childhood.