Garage rock and macabre may not seem like the most obvious combination until you become acquainted with Olivia Jean. After that, it only makes sense. Her sound is a scorching blend between pop and surf rock, all stamped with her trademark gothic style.
Olivia Jean keeps things balanced with an Elvira-like fondness for kitschy/goofy humor and an aesthetic that might be described as early ’60s girl group gone very, very bad. But all of that is window dressing that would hardly matter a whit if she wasn’t also an incredibly versatile and virtuosic musician… Meanwhile, as a songwriter, she has unerring ear for crafting memorable hooks and deftly blurring genre lines.
High Road Touring on Olivia Jean
Jean is signed to Third Man Records, a project of Jack White’s. In fact, he even helped produce her first solo album, Bathtub Love Killings. Since then, she has been working on her self-produced sophomore album, Night Owl, which releases on August 30. The first single and titular track has been released, and you can check it out above.
Olivia Jean rocks out with Ernie Ball Regular Paradigms.
Reminisce with the sounds of Olivia Jean down below.
Slaughter Beach, Dog
Slaughter Beach, Dog is the solo project of Jake Ewald, member of the Ernie Ball emo band, Modern Baseball. His sound is a pared down, folkier version of cuts you’d expect of the collective. For fans of Modern Baseball, Slaughter Beach, Dog is an incredibly intimate look into the mind of Ewald and his personal musical sound.
His most recent release, Safe And Also No Fear, came out just last month on Lame-O Records. The album features Ian Farmer, a fellow bandmate from Modern Baseball. You can check out the official video for the fourth cut off the album, “Heart Attack,” above.
The third and most impressive of his Slaughter Beach albums, Safe And Also No Fear expands on his previously modest singer-songwriterisms with signifiers that do indeed recall the challenging, avant-folk of Wilco… pedal steels and other ‘organic’ instruments used sparingly to unsettling effect [and] an undercurrent of violence in the lyrics.
Stereogum on Safe And Also No Fear
Mellow out with Slaughter Beach, Dog‘s new album, Safe And Also No Fear, down below.
Julien Baker makes music that is incredibly personal and touching. Her sound can best be defined as near contemporary folk, but in many ways her intimately powerful ballads speak beyond genre. Through both of her full-length releases, Julien Baker‘s music knows how to tug at heart strings; both through calculated storytelling and passionate bursts of emotional expression.
I think that people cling to art that make them feel comforted, or that they see a reflection of themselves in. And that’s something that’s really powerful.
Julien Baker, NOISEY
In addition to her solo work, Baker was making headlines over the past year with her supergroup, boygenius (consisting of herself, Lucy Dacus, and Phoebe Bridges). She has collaborated with other artists such as Manchester Orchestra, Kevin Devine, and Benjamin Gibbard (of fellow Ernie Ball Band Death Cab for Cutie). Whether she is adding her vocals and instrumentals to other tracks or flying solo on the stage, Julien Baker‘s music does a good job of captivating her audience with her raw honesty.
Julien Baker depends on Ernie Ball Regular Slinkys.
Take a listen to the top Julien Baker songs below.
Japanese Breakfast is the solo dream-pop project of Michelle Zauner, hailing from Eugene, Oregon. After getting her start in her hometown of Eugene, she took to Pennsylvania to record her latest album, Soft Sounds from Another Planet. The album title is coincidentally a poignant description of her sound — ethereal, spacey, dreamlike.
Where Psychopomp struck a nerve because of the immediate and palpable grief that overshadowed the album, Soft Sounds looks at the aftermath of trauma, when the initial shock has worn off and all that’s left is a dull, aching absence. There’s a loose science fiction concept that threads itself throughout about feeling like an alien that doesn’t belong.
Stereogum on Soft Sounds from Another Planet
Though the subject matter on the release may be dark — Zauner often cites thanatophobia as a key element in her songwriting — her on-stage enthusiasm can convince an unknowing crowd otherwise. Her performances have been described as being strangely captivating, and that can be seen in the official video for her track “Boyish,” featured above.
Get lost in Japanese Breakfast‘s top tracks below.
Paul Cherry’s sound can be simply described as psychedelic pop, but a journey through album reviews of his most recent release, Flavour, will take you through labels like “dream rock,” “lo-fi,” “jazz,” and “bedroom pop.” He has once succinctly described is influence as “classics” — his mom named him after Paul McCartney, after all. But, despite his influences, his music has a modern twist.
Lyrically, Cherry touches upon millennial culture with references to love in the modern age, phone culture, and giving a conceptually new light-hearted twist to age old old themes of love lost, missed connections and polar political climates.
Paul Cherry Official Bio
In interviews, Paul Cherry often seems surprised or even caught off guard by his recently acquired fame in the indie-rock community, but his music doesn’t suggest that — Flavours has a smooth, casual sound that could come out of any grizzled pro that’s been there before.
Space out with the top tracks from Paul Cherry below.