Scott McCaughey makes a fab return, Ponytails move in next door, Bruno Capinan dances to his own beat and more in today’s Roundup. May 4 is Star Wars Day and May 5 is Cinco de Mayo: What should we celebrate on May 6?
1 When Portland pop-rock vet Scott McCaughey suffered a near-fatal stroke in late 2017, his entire music career — including The Minus 5, Young Fresh Fellows, Baseball Project, R.E.M. and more — left his memory. But clearly, he didn’t lose his resilience or sense of humour: Within days he was writing his upcoming 13th Minus 5 album, the cheekily titled Stroke Manor. Check in with the swirly psychedelic pop of the debut single Beatles Forever. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “After a couple of weeks in a hospital bed and recovery at his home in Portland, McCaughey recorded the album with significant contributions from Peter Buck, Corin Tucker, Joe Adragna, Jeff Tweedy and more. The inspiration for the song came from the Beatles playlist Buck (R.E.M., Filthy Friends) made to help spark McCaughey’s musical memory.” Fab:
2 You ever wonder what those oddball neighbours of yours are up to on the other side of the fence? You’re not alone. But no matter what it is, it can’t be weirder than what the men of Vancouver retro-popsters Ponytails are doing in the video for their trippy new single Just Yours. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Just Yours is about the ways in which we find each other. It’s about accepting your love for someone, and gratitude for experiencing such a feeling. It’s about trusting the heart, and leaning into the moment without expectation for the future. We can find joy in the mystery – even when it’s confusing or difficult.” Or both:
3 Some music is all on the surface. Other songs work on multiple levels. You might think the bossa nova-tinged electro-pop of Toronto singer-songwriter Bruno Capinan’s song Tao Perto (translation: So Close) is the former, based on the tune’s poppy vibe, sandy vocal sincerity and joyous street-dance video. But when ti comes to this tune from his upcoming album Real, you’d be wrong. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “This song and video is my way of saying to Bolsonaro, Trump, Doug Ford and all the bigots out there who think that my eccentricities and life choices are some how any of their business. I say it’s time we cross boundaries, we declare ourselves part of the resistance against them, by being real” concludes Capinan.” That’s keeping it real:
4 If you’re a fan of Philadelphia rockers The Color Fred, you might have given up on hearing from them again — it’s been a decade since their last release, after all. But just when you thought it was over, singer guitarist Fred Mascherino reignites the flame with an energized comeback single and lyric video: The fittingly titled Don’t Give Up On Me. Well, OK. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “We got married young, so my wife and I are at 20 years right now,” explains Mascherino. “We pretty much had back-to-back mid-life crises in recent months, but it makes you want to better yourself. That’s all wrapped up in this song’s lyrics. I built my studio last year and this is the first song coming out of it. Musically, I’m really happy that it went to some new places but still sounds like me. The title Don’t Give Up On Me also seems amusingly appropriate for sending a new song out there after years of silence.” Right said, Fred:
5 Things have a way of working out for the best. For instance: D.C. electro masters (and Friends of Tinnitist) Color Palette sent along their latest single Pieces just after deadline on Friday. So I saved it for today. Which means that instead of being lost in the shuffle of the weekend, they get a little more of the space and attention they deserve. Plus, the slow-moving elegance of this moody beauty seems far better suited to the ramping-up pace of Monday than the party zone this is Friday night. Hear for yourself. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Pieces is a breakup song, plain and simple; the lyrical content is akin to most of the other material we have released. Pieces incorporates a few new musical elements, though: soft/whispering vocal delivery, warm fuzzy guitars, almost tropical synthesizer tones, and trap/hip-hop inspired drums.” Put the pieces together:
6 Everybody loves a good band name. And New York’s Little Slugger have a corker Of course, a good handle will only get you so far — which is where the pointy power-pop exuberance and noisy, nervous edge of the single You’re On Your Own come into play. Based on this, their July 19 album I Want to Live Here Forever might hit it out of the park. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “I Want to Live Here Forever has all the big hooks, vocal harmonies, crunchy guitars, and relentless pop energy you’d hope for, with a steady simmer of melancholy underneath.” That’s owning it:
7 Jonesing for a hit of ’80s-style pop-rock built from a driving beat, big guitars and bigger female vocals reminiscent of Pat Benatar in her prime? You’ll get it from Empty Promises, the new single from Hamilton outfit Another Crush. Promise. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “We all have that person we just can’t get out of our heads. As hard as we try to move on, they linger in our dreams, trying to convince us this time will be different. Empty Promises is all about that feeling, and how killer it can be!” This is what you get: