Help 1190 thrive
Radio 1190’s pledge drive begins Friday, so help your favorite college radio station with donations to help keep us going. In return, you’ll get cool things, like T-shirts, sweatshirts, concert tickets, koozies, shot glasses, patches and more. Calls and online donations can be made until Oct. 9. For all the info, visit radio1190.org or call 303-735-7625 to donate.
Alex Giannascoli has been making bedroom pop for some time under the moniker Alex G. With simple, poppy and melancholic musical sensibilities and a delicate voice, Alex G has been compared to an emo-tinged Elliott Smith.
After a stint in the underground and DIY music scenes, Alex G signed to big-name indie label Domino in 2015 and announced his first official studio album, Beach Music. At first, fans and critics were skeptical this could take away from his authenticity, but uncertainty flew away after a few tracks were released. Lead single, “Bug,” is a mid-tempo jammer with one of the catchiest hooks on the album. Though the melodies are simple with a major key tone, the track is still emotive and strange. Another single, “Kicker,” is possibly the best of the album. The track sports spidery and squiggly guitar leads that are unpredictable, yet catchy and memorable. Beach Music is a fantastic collection of tracks that feel cohesive. The album shows Alex G is growing as a musician and songwriter. Without a doubt, this debut will be remembered not only because of its wide release, but because it’s a fantastic album from one of this generation’s most memorable artists. Beach Music by Alex G is Radio 1190’s CD of the Month for October. For a full review, log on to radio1190.org.
Here are some other awesome albums Radio 1190 has in rotation this week:
Out of Denver’s DIY scene, justinedrugs has released a new set of tracks on the album Newt Belgium. Though the band’s sound pulls heavily from ’90s emo, such as Cap’n Jazz, the influence of early indie pop and experimental punk make this album something different. Each track is melodic and fast, but laden with enough sour notes to make the record not too sweet. Tracks, such as “wörm lyfe,” are catchy, but also formless enough to fall outside of conventional song structures. The vocals on the album aren’t jam-packed with much lyrical substance, but the lead singer’s frantic screaming and yelling holds more emotional impact than the words on the page.
Justinedrugs’ extensive use of sampling — including snips from jazz great Ornette Coleman and Rural and Urban Children’s Songs — keeps the album unpredictable and off-the-cuff. Newt Belgium is short and sweet, but packs a punch while keeping the energy high.
Denver legends American Culture released a collection of songs originally recorded in 2013 called The Olympia Sessions. As the title leads you to believe, the record was recorded in Olympia, Wash., over the course of a few days.
In the same vein as the band’s March release, Pure American Gum, American Culture fuses together C86 indie pop with fuzzy Dinosaur Jr guitars and Bruce Springsteen pop sensibilities. Standout track “Blood Sugar” recalls ’90s suburban American childhood, with references to Red Hot Chili Peppers while waiting in the parking lot in your parent’s car. The song sports masterful guitar leads that are both catchy and noisy as hell. The opening track “Princess Music” warmly references a former Denver band of the same name and hits the listener with a left hook as the chorus screams, “I’m not gonna call you stupid anymore.”
The album also features a ripping guitar solo from Dinosaur Jr guitarist J Mascis. Yes, that J Mascis. The Olympia Sessions are raw, cathartic and fun. Even though they may not have as much impact as Pure American Gum, it’s still a great addition to the band’s small discography.
James Calvet is Radio 1190’s music director.