The year is young, and even though Emperor Cheat-o just took office, the Women’s March around the world gave us plenty of hope to cling to. Besides relentless advocacy, another way to keep yourself on track is to do whatever you can to bring positivity into the world. Trump might try to de-fund the National Endowment of the Arts, but he will never shut down the artists or art itself. It’s our job to find, support and share good work to keep great art flowing into this world.
As one of the new music editors at Popdose, I find tremendous joy in discovering new artists and sharing their music with you. I don’t get paid a dime to write, code, format and promote these posts. If I’m going to invest free time to write a feature, the music better be worthy. These two bands are case in point why I do this. Their songs have put pep in my step, their hooks are glittering disco balls of joy that pierce the orange dust darkness. This one-two punch represents each coast. From California, we have Pacific Radio; from New Jersey, the Gray Vines.
Pacific Radio • The Kitchen Table EP
You know those bands that the moment you get to the first chorus of their first song you realize, holy fuck, they are gonna be HUGE. Introducing, Pacific Radio. With a penchant for big freaking hooks, thundering bass lines and singalong choruses, they remind me of The Killers, Weezer, the Airborne Toxic Event, Eagles of Death Metal and early Foo Fighters all poured into one flaming mojito. Charismatic frontman Joe Robinson kinda looks like a morph of Brandon Flowers and Kid Rock. What the world needs now is a rock star with swagger and he delivers in spades.
Pacific Radio has been honing their chops and building a fanbase since 2010 when Robinson and bassist, Joe Stiteler, left The Ringers, an LA garage punk outfit that channeled the Hives on Headlocks & Highkicks, a 2008 album that’s certainly worth tracking down. Upon finishing their demo with recording engineer and guitarist, Kyle Biane, Pacific Radio promptly took him on as a member. Pro percussionist and drummer, Hyke Shirinian, rounds out the lineup.
Pacific Radio provides good reason to get to Napa’s BottleRock Festival early on Sunday, May 28th where Foo Fighters are headlining and the Roots and Band of Horses share the bill. They’re playing in the sunshine, but expect them to keep moving up on the festival poster in the years ahead.
Here is their lead single — great song, funny video — and wait for the tag at the very end.
Naturally, one would assume the first single would be the best song on the album, “come out swinging” as they say, but no, as awesome sauce as ‘Kitchen Table’ is, the stakes get higher and the hooks get bigger with the follow-up, a thundering ode to a girl named ‘Katie’. A big riff in this song hits that same sweet spot as many of my all-time favorites: ‘My Coco’ by Stellastarr*, ‘Bury Me’ by Smashing Pumpkins, ‘The Plan’ by Nada Surf and ‘Stars’ by Hum all have this moment where an already perfect song suddenly hits a higher gear and launches into the stratosphere; listen up and wait for it…
The whole affair slows down for track three, but don’t go thinking they’ve gone all softie on you, this ballad is a smooth shot of whisky with a kick…
The EP closes with ‘Tight Jeans’; with its “na na na” chorus, it’s the best mono-syllabic repetitive punk chorus since the Dickies tackled the Banana Splits theme. I’m not gonna embed it here, time for you to pony up and rock out.
POPDOSE WORLD PREMIERE:
The Gray Vines • Just To You
Where Pacific Radio surfs the arena-friendly sounds of the mid 2000’s, the Gray Vines take us back to the post-grunge 1990’s. As their debut single, ‘Just To You’, kicks into a blistering chorus, Jake Hoffman declares, “I know I’m something, but maybe I’m nothing new”. The video looks like it was dubbed from the waning days of MTV’s 120 Minutes; their sound evokes the Lemonheads, Pavement and that other “The Vines” band … remember the Australian trio that faded away after one amazing single? I still shudder remembering Craig Nicholls’ half baked Cobain homage at Metro in Chicago… but that was then, and thankfully the Gray Vines are now. ‘Just to You’ is raw, urgent and deftly wry “I may be full of shit, but at least I’m not empty.” It’s a promising debut from a band that backs up their good looks with the hooks, chops and grit to blast onto college radio and eventually KROQ, KEXP and other adventurous stations.
Here it is, the Popdose World Premiere of ‘Just to You’:
Hoffman and bassist Jill Deegan met in a Philadelphia alleyway after attending Iggy Pop’s Post Pop Depression tour with the all-star Josh Homme lineup. They enlisted two time Grammy winner, Marc Swersky (Joe Cocker, Roger Daltrey) to produce their debut EP. More recently, Swersky produced the power soul debut album by Gedeon Luke & The People, one of POPDOSE’s Top Albums of 2014.
The thundering self titled EP was recorded live in five days at Shorefire Recording Studios in Long Branch NJ with studio owner Joe DeMaio (Monster Magnet, Bon Jovi) at the board. Definitely one for fans of early Foo Fighters, the Strokes and Weezer.
Pick up The Gray Vines EP will soon be available on iTunes and Amazon. Stay up with release news by connecting with them on facebook.
Iggy Pop • Gold
And finally, in honor of that alleyway that gave us the Grey Vines, Iggy Pop has a new song out this week and it’s freaking fantastic. ‘Gold’ was produced by Danger Mouse and it’s from the upcoming Matthew McConaughey film of the same name.
Go for the ‘Gold’ on Amazon MP3.