Whoops I made a note to add this song to the ol’ blog LAST MAY, and just getting around to it now. We were fortunate to see Snow Patrol (with openers We Are Scientists!) a few days ago when the Wildness Tour came through Austin and this was one of just three “new” songs in their set. Thanks for the reminder, lads! For the record, if you’re on the fence about seeing them for some reason, you should know that, even with a cold, Gary Lightbody sounds amazing - like there is truly no production on his voice when they make their records. It was a fantastic show.
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.
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.