I'm not sure which of these statements is true. 1. These days musicians have to be everything to get noticed. 2. These days musicians are everything. 3.These days musicians have to get noticed. Sometimes being involved in the press link makes me a little confused on this point. In the end it doesn't matter who you are. You're all going into the great cosmic shuffle of my jukebox where there you will stay.
Two bands that will be pushing a new hook when they drop their new records this year are Parks and Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys. Parks is the new band from Oranjuly's Brian King, who aside from adopting a new sound (less retro, more 'now') has retired Oranjuly and has a new band with former members of the Motion Sick (Matt Girard), Stu Dietz (This Blue Heaven) and Brian Fitch (Spirit Kid). For the Army of Broken Toys, it's a grand new concept album titled Soft Time Traveler (love that title) which they plan to turn into a multi-media affair and hopefully a fabulous tour (investigate their Kickstarter here).
Biographies aren't for everyone. Do you really need to know that Walter Sickert claims to be a time traveler and that Soft Time Traveler is supposed to be some kind of a chronicle of his travels? As I said in my review of the new Prince Rama, where they claim to be channeling the spirit of a different band on every track, ignoring the concept is a pretty effective way to get into the music. Mine is still the highest rated review on Metacritic.
In the end, it's just music, and damn if this exclusive preview of "Droog and Devotchka" isn't a catchy tune. Its winsome but driving sound reminds me a tad of early John Lennon (think "Oh Yoko"), and just like I didn't need to know that "Oh Yoko" was an apology for three ongoing secret affairs (kidding) I don't need to know that this one is about a mass murderer (serious). I love how the romantic drunkenness of Walter Sickert's voice pushes against the meter, and moreover, I love this tasty arrangement from the Army, which includes the sweetest little fiddle/mandolin hooks I ever did hear.
If "Droog and Devotchka" is the Lennon of this bunch, Parks' "Sweater Weather" is the McCartney. For one, most of the instruments/vocals were done by Brian King (similarly to his Oranjuly days, that much has not changed). For two, the track is super-clean, like Swedish clean, with raspberry-pucker sweet vocals and a belly full of hooks. Oddly though, it's sparser than I would have expected. The rhythm guitars and any bop-bop keyboards have been scrapped and the hollowed out space gives rise to a crisper and more soulful (think Phoenix) version of King's vintage pop digs. In the end though, to pay any heeding to Parks' inclination to be less-retro feels a little weightless. If it's good music, it's good music. And time isn't slowing down. Even latter-day rock heroes like Wayne Coyne Beck and Jeff Tweedy are going to be considered golden oldies soon enough. So wear those glasses with pride Parks, the pop world's got your back.
Hear Parks' debut single "Sweater Weather"
Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys - Hans Wendland
Parks - Liz McBride
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About the authorJonathan Donaldson is a Boston-based musician, writer, and second-generation music junkie. An Ohio native who moved to Boston in 1998, Jonathan's musical loves include R&B, psych, punk, bubblegum, country, electronic, More »
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