Steal This Song: Delay Trees, “Cassette 2012”

All right, so here’s the pitch to anyone who was tuned in to modern rock when the scene first started coming together (that would be the late ’80s, in case you weren’t sure): “Cassette 2012,” the new single by Finnish quartet Delay Trees, is the best song the Ocean Blue never wrote.

And now, lets put that into context for anyone who was born after 1982.

The Ocean Blue were a alt-pop band out of Hershey, Penn. They released their debut album in late 1989 on Sire Records — back when, you know, the label you signed to made a very clear statement about what kind of band you were — and they quickly became darlings of MTV’s late-night modern rock show “120 Minutes.” Their songs were dreamy, jangly, and melodic beyond words. Singer David Schelzel’s low tenor was quite airy (possibly a precursor to the breathy Manchester bands a year or so later), and the musicianship was tight. Their self-titled first record remains a late ’80s alt-rock gem.

And “Cassette 2012” sounds just like that album.

The rest of their self-titled debut isn’t quite the dead ringer for the Ocean Blue, but it’s in the ballpark. Atmospheric arrangements, songs steeped in melody…it’s damn good. It doesn’t stand a chance of storming the charts on this side of the pond, but ten bucks says this will make a few soundtrack supervisors very, very happy.

Click to download Delay Trees – Cassette 2012

  

Candi and the Strangers: 10th of Always


RIYL: Blondie, Cocteau Twins, Lush

Forming a dream pop band is one of the ultimate acts of devotion one can commit. No band in the genre ever rose above cult status in terms of sales, but the ones that have done it well will live forever. You have to think that Austin quiintet Candi and the Strangers knows that their commercial potential has a visible ceiling, but God love them for reaching for it anyway. The band’s sophomore effort, 10th of Always, is like listening to the thoughts of a cool girl in love. She feels the same things that everyone else feels but refuses to let it show, so even when the songs swoon – and boy, do they swoon – it’s done so with impeccable taste and composure, and perhaps a bit of detachment. Cool girls don’t lose their shit, you know.

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Fans of Blondie are going to lap up this album, and not just because “Femme Sonique” is a toned-down re-write of “Atomic.” “Nico Regrets” captures both the smooth and edgy aspects of Blondie’s sound, and the epic closer “The Weather Is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful” is like the Jesus and Mary Chain getting their hands on some lost girl group song and turning it inside out. “Glide,” meanwhile, is positively blissed. There are times, though, when singer Samantha Constant’s vocals are a bit too far down in the mix, and despite the album’s consistently strong songwriting, it takes several listens before some of the songs leave a visible footprint. But such is love, even with a cool girl – you take the good with the bad, and with 10th of Always, it’s all so pretty that complaining about imperfections seems petty. (Candi and the Strangers 2011)

Click here to download Candi and the Strangers – Nico Regrets

Candi and the Strangers MySpace page
Click to buy 10th of Always from Amazon

  

Steal This Song: Candi and the Strangers, “Nico Regrets”

It’s great to see the ‘___ and the ___’ trend come back to music names. The world used to be full of them – the band behind the late ’70s one-hit wonder “Driver’s Seat”? That would be Sniff ‘n the Tears – but it fell out of favor in the mid-’80s and has rarely showed its head since. But between Fitz & the Tantrums and Austin dream poppers Candi and the Strangers, we may be witnessing the next new/old band name trend. Which is fine with us, if it means no more of those goddamn triple word score band names that were clogging marquees for a while there.

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A quick spin of 10th of Always, the band’s sophomore effort set for release in early February, makes us wonder how we missed their first album. This is gorgeous, shimmering pop, like Blondie covering the Cocteau Twins. And if you like this song, wait until you hear “The Weather Is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful.” Hypnotic bliss, this. Consider us entranced.

Click here to download Candi and the Strangers – Nico Regrets

  

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