Dec 022012

Just when you think you have your finger on the pulse of a music scene–something broadsides you and makes you feel like you don’t know nothin’.

So I finally take some time to catch up on my “listening stack”–the records I’m supposed to listen to but haven’t got around to yet–and I come across Double Four Time by Denver alt-rock band The Swayback. It’s a record they released back in July. I’d been hearing the name of this band around town for awhile, so I press play.

By the third song, I’m feeling really, really dumb for not mentioning these guys earlier. Where the crap have I been?

I hear a lot of bands with potential, but it’s a rarity that song after song on a record stirs me up, even on major releases. But that’s what I experienced listening to Double Four Time. Great guitar riffs, solid drum/bass lines, and Eric Halborg has that almost intangible quality with his voice that makes him practically perfect as a frontman.

It’s hard to pin down the band’s sound, mainly because they seem to draw influence from every season of rock from the ’60s to the ’90s. I hear some Beatles in there, as well as some Stones–and I suppose that makes sense given that the band tapped Andy Johns (who has worked with The Rolling Stones, Van Halen, and Led Zeppelin, among others) to produce Double Four Time. But however you categorize them, The Swayback just makes consistent, really good rock & roll. Definitely worth a listen or five.

I honestly had a hard time deciding what to share from the record, but I finally settled on a music video I found for “Die Finks,” and below that an embed for “Steamrolling” from The Swayback’s Bandcamp page. See what you think!


Feb 202012

One of the things I love about music blogging is when I come across “hidden treasures”–bands with a unique vibe and memorable sound that not many people know about–but should. In my view, Brooklyn-based Palomino is one of those bands.

Citing influences from late 70’s/early 80’s post-punk, this 3-piece band has a raw, sparse sound that will actually appeal to a variety of listeners. In the video below (the song “Ponte Vecchio”), I definitely hear the punk elements, but also a bit of alt-country, early alternative, and just plain rock. But most of all (and this is the main reason why I like ’em)–I hear a great song. Catchy, stick-in-your-head music. Lead vocalist/guitarist Elijah Campbell’s unpolished voice reminds me quite a bit of Michael Roe of the 77’s (extra credit if you know who I’m talking about).

I get plenty of submissions from bands who don’t have a huge following, and to be completely honest, when I listen to their music, I understand why. In this case, I’m baffled. Listening to this stuff, I do not understand why more people don’t know about Palomino yet–and I definitely hope a lot more people will.

Palomino just released an EP (simply called The Palomino EP), which can be streamed at their Bandcamp site. If you dig “Ponte Vecchio,” as I do, they’re currently offering that tune as a free download.


Nov 282011

I love these hidden gems.

St. Leonards is an alt-rock band from Sydney, Australia, whom I’d never heard of until a couple of days ago when I was catching up on my email. Listening to the title track from their recently released EP World Alone, I was instantly riveted. Literally with the first breath of the song, the music drips with emotion, and remains so throughout the track–and indeed, through the rest of the EP.

I can definitely hear influences from bands like The Fray and U2, especially in the voice of the lead singer. But even beyond that, I think the reason this music grips me is that even without catching all the lyrics, it feels honest without being overbearing. Perhaps the only critique I could offer about the song below is that the melody line seemed a bit narrow in its range, but I found myself being quite forgiving on that point because the rest of the music so captured me.

I don’t know how much name recognition St. Leonards carries in Australia, but I surely hope more of their music makes it around the world to these parts. This is an EP I’d certainly keep in my ipod.

St. Leonards “World Alone”

If you like their music, pick up the EP on iTunes:
World Alone - EP - St Leonards