Here are a couple of bands that my friend Serge Pinsky are in currently. What Next? is an ex caUSE co-MOTION!/German Measles group from Brooklyn and they put out their first single last year, all by themselves. They’re about to release a second one soon, but let’s get back to their last one. On “Trip” they mix up the pop-punk we’ve become used to from both previously mentioned bands with a dose of folkrock. The a-side features both harmonica and some loose 12-string playing. Brilliant concept and with a chorus that sticks after 3 seconds, we’ve got a winner. The b-side is more of the ramshackle pop that Dave has long specialized in. Get it/stream here.
Sapphire Mansions started as a home recording project by Jay Hough (Golden Triangle, and recently the Zarjaz live band). Jay works in a record shop and switched from drumming to playing his own songs on guitar about three years ago, backed by a drum machine. The fruits of this was the Whispered In Sparks cassette that came out last year on It’s Raining Tapes (with only one release, I guess it’s Jay’s own label). Jay is playing live with a full band now, that includes Serge, and they’re going to record an album this year with Gary Olson, who recorded German Measles and caUSE co-MOTION! (among a wealth of other groups). Jay was nice enough to send me some rehearsal takes of new songs, and it’s definitely a big progression from what you can hear on this tape. Still, it’s a brilliant debut which definitely lives up to the aspirations inherent in the name, taken from a Felt song. Actually it’s not one of Felt’s best or even most memorable songs (being an instrumental) and some of the songs bear a bigger resemblance to the sound of much earlier Felt recordings such as “Trails of Colour Dissolve” (e.g. on “In the Eyes of Your Friends”). There’s even an echo of Deebank’s guitar style on the instrumentals “Whispered In Sparks” and the formulaic but effective “Go Out In a Week”. The tracks that do have vocals leaves you wishing they weren’t so muffled, since the titles suggest some actual lyrical content that might be of interest.
I believe the tape is sold out, but it’s such a promising release that you really must keep an eye out for future singles and an album. I’m sharing my favourite track “Walking Away From You” below. If you liked the Tomorrows Tulips tape on Burger you’ll love this.