In Notes From Left of the Dial this week, Nooga.com spends time with new music from Las Rosas, The Fleeting Ends, Oberon Rose and Jodee Lewis. What have you been listening to lately?
Las Rosas, “Christa”
Brooklyn trio Las Rosas grab their Kinks-ian inspirations by the throat and force them to listen to “Here Are the Sonics” over and over again. Their pop-meets-garage rock sound is as well-worn as it is catchy, and they make it work, finding new ways to explore this noise that doesn’t rely on nostalgia or our embedded goodwill. Built around the dynamic interplay among singer-guitarist Jose Boyer, drummer Christopher Lauderdale and bassist Jose Aybar, the band’s roughed-up pop sound wraps itself around your head, angling for your attention with its infectious melodies and singalong choruses. The band is gearing up for the release of their sophomore album, due out this spring via Greenway Records.
On their new single, “Christa,” the band further explores their relationship with the Davies brothers and the lo-fi rumble of ’60s garage rock. They’re not looking to the past for influence—they’re taking a time machine back and setting up permanent residence. Las Rosas’ work hinges on the authenticity of their vintage sounds, and the fact that they can make them work without the benefit of actually having lived through those years makes it all the more impressive. It’s a crunchy little guitar gem that wouldn’t feel out of place on one of those psych-infested “Nuggets” compilations, a raucous poppy distraction that makes the world better for a few minutes.
The Fleeting Ends, “20 Something”
Philadelphia indie rock band The Fleeting Ends are back—that is, they’re back from the band’s dissolution in 2014. Founded in 2008, the trio of Matt Vantine, Matt Amadio and Russell Langley got together to dole out a particularly infectious brew of folkish rock that enraptured the senses of their fans. However, the band broke apart six years later. Now, they’re back with a lineup that includes original frontman-guitarist Vantine and songwriters Michael Kahana and Anthony DeSalvatore Jr. They’re leaning toward a more danceable rock sound now, and they possess a potent devotion to an emotional persuasiveness. The band will be self-releasing their new album, “I Know You Lie Cos So Do I,” Feb. 16.
On the latest single, “20 Something,” they indulge their garage pop tendencies a bit, livening up the dancey rhythms with a springy chorus and mile-high vocals. The guitars jangle and burst in the air while drums march along in the background, rising to a fuzzed-out roar that swallows you whole. The production is tight but allows for a bit of wiggle room when that chorus hits your brain, and everything just starts to move. It’s one of those songs you could swear you’ve heard before—there’s a classicism to its construction that belies its age. Despite the dramatic lineup change, The Fleeting Ends are still breaking down their pop-rock influences with all the spirit and energy that fans have come to expect.
Oberon Rose, “Tell Me All About It”
Recalling the working relationships of musicians like Elton John and Bernie Taupin or Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman, Oberon Rose is built around the musical contributions of Tommy Oberon and the lyrical offerings of Rebecca Rose. They make a nimble psychedelic noise that harkens back to the music that roared to life during the British Invasion of the ’60s. But they don’t consider their work vintage or retro; it’s simply a result of their influences and the effect they’ve had on their lives. Based out of New England, Oberon has been performing alongside drummer Mike Keyes and bassist-keyboardist Chris Listorti since 2015. The band’s sophomore record, “Tell Me All About It,” is set for release April 6 through their own imprint, ThouArt Records.
On their recent single, the title track from their forthcoming album, the band juggles bits of ’60s jangle pop, psych rock and modern indie rock, building a dense but uncluttered sound that stays in your head for days. You can hear echoes of bands like The Beatles, The Incredible String Band and Animal Collective in the song’s complicated movements. It shuffles along, with each verse possessing its own personality and atmosphere. It’s almost proglike in the way it handles these transitions, but the band never allows us to know exactly where they’re going—so the song continually shifts and alters its rhythmic trajectory, weaving a hypnotic and complex web in the air directly in front of us.
Jodee Lewis, “Buzzard’s Bluff”
From an early age, Missouri native Jodee Lewis was surrounded by music, with the sounds of Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris and Waylon Jennings floating through her home. With support from her grandfather (who also introduced her to artists Earl Scruggs, Patsy Cline and Lefty Frizzell), Lewis would develop a deep appreciation and affection for these sounds, eventually combining them to form her own musical history. And with the release of her second record, “Buzzard’s Bluff,” out April 6, she continues to merge these influences into a rustic sound that brings together traditional country tones and a more modern approach without losing the innate twang and shuffle.
On her new single, “Buzzard’s Bluff,” Lewis doesn’t appropriate pop’s mainstream rhythms but sticks to the shared histories of country and folk music. The track wanders through a lush Americana landscape filled with mournful strings, affecting slide guitar and her persuasive voice. It’s a throwback but only in the sense that it doesn’t try to latch on to any current trends and, instead, focuses on the details of its own bucolic lineage. It feels timeless, a song without age or dated accents. Equal parts sylvan barnburner and intense self-analysis, it speaks to the present by evoking the dramatic honesty that clings to the past. There’s also a wild temperament lodged within its blood, exuding the fury and force of a runaway freight train.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.