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Hot Stuff: City & Colour Makes Beautiful Music While Wombats Party

Dallas Green doing his thing as City and Colour. Dallas Green doing his thing as City and Colour.

It’s been an exciting musical week here in the Rosebud Magazine office. We have been bumping music that runs the gamut from mellow to heavy, fast to slow, melancholy to fun. First of all, the latest from Canadian singer-songwriter Dallas Green’s City and Colour is nothing short of amazing. Then we’re shakin’ it to the hook-laden sounds of a couple of European pop rockers, The Wombats and The Sounds. We’ve got a throwback to the ‘90s underground, and a couple of our favorite hard and heavy releases of the year. Check it out:

City and Colour – Little Hell

Dallas Green has one of the most heartbreakingly gorgeous voices around. It’s not exactly what you’d expect from a guy tattooed head-to-toe who started out ripping it up in the Canadian scream-core outfit Alexisonfire. But his solo project City and Colour has long since eclipsed his other band, and now Green is best known as a singer-songwriter with an acoustic guitar. Little Hell finds City and Colour continuing its evolution from guy-with-a-guitar to a full band. It’s a welcome development, yielding one wonderful song after the next, proving that Green’s songwriting is at least as good as his voice.

 

The Wombats – This Modern Glitch

If listening to fun, super catchy songs sounds like a good idea, The Wombats are your band, and This Modern Glitch is your album. The lead single, “Tokyo,” is a total ear worm, and a dance-tastic number to boot. The new wave, indie-dance-rock stylings of this English group have earned them a spot on the UK charts for each of the four singles released from the new record so far. That’s a testament to the infectiousness of these tunes, but an even better testament is spinning the tracks for yourself and finding that you just want to keep The Wombats on repeat.

 

The Sounds – Dying to Say This To You

The Sounds’ 2002 debut, Living In America, was an amazing album that gained the band a strong following, but the Swedish group never quite got pushed to the peak of the music world where they belonged. Until now, their follow-ups to that album have struggled to capture the best of what worked so well, but almost a decade later, the new album from The Sounds finally hits the mark. This is still quite a different sounding band from the one that released Living in America, but on Something To Die For the band is back to knocking out incredibly hook-laden tunes with serious attitude. This is a much less rockin’ band in terms of loud guitars, but the continual move to a greater emphasis on a pop sound finally truly works here. And above all, you have the voice of Maja Ivarsson, whose hotness comes through loud and clear even when she’s not visible (but of course, it comes through even better when she is visible, so get out and see these guys live).

 

Braid – Closer to Closed

Before emo was a bad word, Braid was damn near the top of the heap of an often wonderful and continually promising genre. But that was a long time ago, and since then, what has become “emo” is pretty awful. Nevertheless, Braid is undeterred, delivering an amazing new EP that would have been warmly welcomed by listeners to ‘90s bands like The Get Up Kids, The Promise Ring, or early Jimmy Eat World, even if it no longer fits into the modern version of the genre they helped define. Instead, what would have been emo back then is just some straight-up catchy indie rock. And of course, the heart is still on the sleeve. The bottom line is that Closer to Closed is good listening for any decade, regardless of what term you use to describe a genre.

 

Ritual – Paper Skin

After years of threatening to stagnate completely, hardcore has received a kick in the pants recently. Germany’s Ritual is one of the bands kicking the hardest. Their new full-length, Paper Skin, has all the passion, energy, urgency, and raw angst of the best hardcore has to offer, but they’re doing things a little differently. Ritual sounds like a mix of classic hardcore and indie rock, alternating between jangly atmospheric guitar moments and serious riffery, all while avoiding the super distorted chug-a-lug that has been standard issue to get the pit moving for the past decade or so. This is the kind of tweaking hardcore needs. Ritual is a breath of fresh air in an important genre.

 

Book of Black Earth – The Cold Testament

This is one badass metal album. No frills here, just stripped down brutality. Book of Black Earth keeps it heavy on the Seattle band’s latest full-length, and you’re not going to find any noodling here. Each riff on each song of The Cold Testament is raw and pummeling. If that’s your thing, this is your record.

 

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The first single from The Sounds had them sounding a little different than they do today, but the foundation remains very similar.
Last modified on Monday, 06 August 2012 19:11

Happy is a regular contributor to RosebudMag.com and has written for various other publications, including Black Belt, Inside Hockey, and FoxSports.com. He transitioned to life as a writer following a decade-long career as a touring musician. He lives with his son in Vancouver, British Columbia

Website: www.rosebudmag.com/hkreter

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