Norfolk • June 16, 2017
Super Doppler are a toe-tapping concoction of sixties pop-rock, filtered through equal parts soul and psychedelia. Their second album, Moonlight Anthems, gives recognizable cues to many legendary influences while it creates its own identity. On “We Are Doing Fine,” the verses recall Paul McCartney’s ramshackle morning routine from “A Day in the Life.” The sleepy sunshine of “Holidays” gives way to a Lennonesque sneer and an electric guitar that thinks that it’s a whole string section.
Fab Four bedamned, there is a lot more to this manifestation of a movement. This album is downright fun. Look to “The Clap” for a block party on Shakedown Street with Greetings from Asbury Park guitar licks that demand you to dance along. Final track “Happiness” layers beautiful vocal melodies up against honky tonk piano and dixieland jazz backing. Produced by Richmond’s own Matthew E. White, Moonlight Anthems plays like a glimpse into an alternate timeline where Sam Cooke is still alive and well, where genres existed together in perfect harmony and prog never got pretentious, no matter how hard it tried. Available June 16 on CD, pre-order at superdopplerband.com.
Editor's Note: Just after the time of publication, this band changed their name from Major And The Monbacks to Super Doppler. The online version here reflects the change, but the print version does not. Learn more about the reasons behind the change on their Facebook page.
♡ Major Crush ♡
Richmond • March 31, 2017
With a voice that balances the tightrope walk between glum and stoic, Cupid McCoy slings a sultry guitar over drum machine tickbooms to create lovelorn electropop. ♡ Major Crush ♡, his first full length, is a cohesive effort of original compositions, save a twinkling cover of Paul Anka’s “Puppy Love” midway through. “Orange Jubilee” sounds as if Wendy Carlos’s A Clockwork Orange theme was reworked to capture the nostalgic snapshot of a fractured relationship. Despite “Cross the Line’s” sharp opening notes, the track quickly establishes itself as a sensual come-hither call. Available on limited edition hand-painted cassette.
Fredericksburg • May 13, 2017
The Snuggalos sound as if The Vaselines were abducted by theremin-wielding aliens to form the spookiest supergroup this side of Mars. In actuality, the project is made up of just Morla McCarthy and Daniel Hicks, a duo whose work ethic and dedication to gorgeous simplicity has yielded four releases in less than two years. On Here Lies, elements of surf (“Romancing the Dead”) and girl-group vocal melodies (“Lost Your Way”) occasionally rear their expertly coiffed heads, but the music always leans toward a digital delicacy of mellotronic vibes. Closer “Sleep Reaper” features waka-waka guitar and haunting lullabies whispering in your ear.
Burned and Burnished
Fairfax • May 8, 2017
Cinema Hearts blends doo-wop aesthetics with a 21st century tech perspective on their second album Burned and Burnished. Singer and guitarist Caroline Weinroth’s witty lyricism lends itself to songs like “I Saw Her (In Your Spotify),” but she quickly trades it with agonizing heartbreak on “Loose Love.” “My wrist hurts and I can't sleep, spent all night scrolling through your feed.” Crystal clear vocals take center stage as the bass and drum backbone tightly wind around, pulled by sheer centrifugal force. This melding of classic sounds and current mores is available both on compact disc and cassette.
Charlottesville • March 3, 2017
Third Sister, the third album from New Boss, is an indie achievement, carrying the steadfast tradition of American singers with British accents (don’t worry, this trend goes both ways). The immortal spirit of Guided By Voices’s Robert Pollard is ever present in Jordan Perry’s anglophilic affect. “Strange Angles” plays either like a funkier New Pornographers or a less paranoid Talking Heads, depending on your viewpoint. Devon Sproule’s debut with group offers a genteel yet steadfast voice that carries tracks such as “Dreams” and “Fools” to their logical and emotional end. An impactful combination of atmosphere, lyrical ability, and power-pop punch.