Few, if any, Oklahoma bands have seen a rise as meteoric as Tallows over the past year, yet its seemingly overnight ascension didn’t happen by chance. The Oklahoma City four-piece is well-versed in the ways of modern pop songwriting, drawing from both glitchy electronica and cathartic indie rock in equal measure. Last year, the band pulled off a rare musical feat with its debut album, Memory Marrow, which was steeped heavily in the breadth of recent history yet managed to sound like nothing else before it.
Chelsey Cope’s new band, Elms, is as earthy and native to Oklahoma as the trees that are their namesake. The soulful folk four-piece’s debut EP, Parallel Lines, was recorded at Bell Labs Recording Studio in Norman and is on its way in September. But the band has already given us a tease, with its first single, “Burn,” going live on SoundCloud on July 14.
I’m uncertain about the hit found-footage film, but the soundtrack for
“Chronicle” pops with energy from the start, courtesy of Blonde Acid
While that name — and arguably, most of the acts on the 12-track compilation — screams “off-putting teen band,” that’s not the case. The disc holds wide appeal, from tweens to their middle-aged parents. (Just don’t tell the tweens.)
Manchester trio The Longcut could also describe its six-minute-plus contribution, “Told You So,” whose uptempo darkness is brightened with a drum-fueled break at the middle that continues willy nilly for the rest of the cut. A B & The Sea’s "Bone Dry," rides high on both vocals and optimism, while The Shaded Forests’ "Deastro" bubbles with pop friendliness.
At nearly the album’s halfway point, Simian Mobile Disco’s edit of “Sweetbread,” the soundtrack grows more electronic — mostly for good, not evil. “Flash Back” by Capsule is more aggressive than memorable, and the Congorock/Alle Benassi collaboration, “Sirius,” is too clubby for my tastes (I can smell the sweat and obnoxious cologne), but Strfkr gets back on track with “Bury Us Alive,” whose melodies fly with Phoenix-like grandeur.
Class Actress femmes things up with “Keep You,” complete with synth hand claps. Meanwhile, Bikini is one of the true finds; its “American Mourning” fills out a buoyant sound with wispy vocals and earthly touches. Finally, and not surprisingly, M83 knocks it out of the park with the appropriately titled "This Bright Flash," another soaring instrumental of anthemic ambition. —Rod Lott