Hailing from Grand Rapids, surfy psychy rock 'n' rollers Heaters have just released their new record "Baptistina." This record is a peek into the '60s, the group describes themselves as "heavy cream." Revolver-era Beatles and Thee Oh Sees collide on "Baptistina"; this release is one of the best psych rock records I've heard this year. Rather than centering the record around nostalgia, "Baptistina" merges techniques of the past with a fresh new sound. So many retro-releases are self-indulgent, solos last for way too long and nothing feels entirely cohesive. Not so with "Baptistina."
Andrew Tamlyn, Nolan Krebs and Joshua Korf comprise Heaters — a powerful sound for a three-piece ensemble. Fat basslines, 12-string Danelectros, forceful drumming and otherworldly vocals all give this release a certain swagger. Check out the tracks "Elephant Turner," "Centennial" and "Dali," and tune in to Radio 1190 KVCU to hear cuts from "Baptistina."
A four-song EP from Pi Ja Ma is an exuberant reprieve from college rock. "Radio Girl" is catchy, swingin' and light. French-born Pauline de Tarragon grew up listening to the Velvet Underground, Patti Smith and other '60s acts. She spent her teenage years covering these works and writing songs herself. This led to her primetime television premiere on the French program La Nouvelle Star at a mere 17 years old. "Radio Girl" draws influences from the '60s but demonstrates Tarragon's songwriting chops.
At first listen, you might think "Radio Girl" was a couple Cate Le Bon or Frankie Cosmos B-sides. While these artists are both incredible, Pi Ja Ma has something else going on. The songs on "Radio Girl" aren't as concise as Cosmos' tracks or as focused as Cate Le Bon's. Rather, the songs meander through a valley of floating melodies and dense instrumentation. Although "Radio Girl" isn't quite a full release, its enough to hint that whatever's next from Pi Ja Ma will be quite interesting.
After two '60s-inspired releases, let's hop on over to the '80s for Essential Tremors' "The Visitor." The title track is dark and spooky, vocals are akin to Dead Kennedys, The Cure and The Fall. "The Visitor" is only 14 minutes long, but its three tracks say more than many full-length releases.
It's strange picturing Essential Tremors in Nashville — their drum machines and synthesizers must garner some flack from the country music elite. Nonetheless, "The Visitor" was released through Jack White's Third Man Records and definitely holds a little bit of that White Stripes attitude. I'm certainly stoked to hear more material from Essential Tremors, and I bet you will be, too. Set your AM dial to 1190 and catch "The Visitor" spinning on KVCU.
Jarocki is Radio 1190's music director. Read more reviews: coloradodaily.com/columnists