My headphones are ablaze

By liz

I am so enamored with new sounds right now I can't hold my radio silence any longer... my headphones are ablaze. I know people love to pigeonhole me in my favorite self-proclaimed genre... but we (the royal) are breaking free of the eurosugarindiegirlvoxpop jello mold this autumn. Ladies and Gentlemen... (pause for dramatic effect)... this fall is officially softvoxguitarpop autumn. Let it be known far and wide that the world has been waiting for a bit of guitars and harmonies (all right, maybe it's what I've been waiting for).

Sorry, that was a bit of an overshot but my enthusiasm cannot be bridled at the moment. I am twirling about day and night to the sounds of so many pour-your-heart-out artists that I can't help but be a bit zealous. So what's got me so riled up?
Kevin Tihista's Red Terror - Wake Up Captain
"On my knees in the alleyway, crying out your name... people look at me in shame. All that I can say is that I never knew that I could ruin a life." - Damn The Weather
I know it's only October, but I am about to call this my front runner for album of the year. There, I've said it. Feel free to hold me to it. If any artist manages to change my mind I'll be absolutely shocked.
I was a fan of Kevin's music before... but he's taken this record so much further musically and emotionally than he's ever done before. The nuances and subtlety of this release are just crying out for headphones. Every time I hear Wake up Captain, I discover my new favorite song... as every track is so perfectly paired with kevin's forlorn vocals and orchestral/acoustic pop (with the occasional horn section thrown in for good measure to make you wake up and take notice).
Listen to a few tracks: Kevin Tihista's Red Terror - Good Wings | Kevin Tihista's Red Terror - Family Curse
Buy The Record at: Parasol

The Marlboro Chorus - Youth Medium
"Weird song and pictures and absolute sounds, form in your ears when you calm down. But there's no absolution, for freaks and their minds." - The Black Iron Prisoner
I know you all must think I have some sort of personal relationship with the Marlboro Chorus boys as often as I sing their praises. Really that isn't the case, I swear it. Their music, although relatively unknown, is JUST THAT GOOD. Yes, in an all caps shouty sort of way. They'0re like a pop merry-go-round that never ends... making you dizzy at every ironic slurring harmony until you're all smiles. Combine happy-go-lucky acoustic guitars, punchy drum beats, a sly banjo, slap happy tamborines, gruff yet idyllic vocals... and you might be in the vicinity of this sunny day paradise.
Listen to a track: The Marlboro Chorus - Youth Medium
Buy The Record at: Parasol or Insound

The Ocean Blue - Waterworks EP
"Orange glow, the radio reminds me that you're not here and I'm aware. Now I'm reminiscing all the things we share... staring at the leaves, talking to the trees, all of these especially sunshowers." - Sunshower
It's been far too long since we've heard new material from The Ocean Blue and this EP is only going to make the fans more antsy for a full length release. It's a simple six songs (including two instrumental)... but is all things good about the Ocean Blue, then some. A bit of jangle, a bit of celestial guitar and enough to convince the world that the Ocean Blue are far from gone.
Listen to a few tracks: The Ocean Blue - Golden Gate | The Ocean Blue - Ticket To Wyoming
Buy the record: The Ocean Blue
(If you're in California... don't hesitate to run to see them this weekend.)

Fancey - Fancey
"Melody on the airwaves taking me out." - Carry Me
Blissful... just blissful. A glorious solo effort by New Pornographer, Todd Fancey. All the greatness of synths, fuzzy guitars, male/female vocal plays and the occasional disco beat create an absolutely gorgeous record to get completely lost in. Snap along kids... Fancey's world of 70's inspired melancholy and bliss is too cool for words.
Listen to a track: Fancey - Rock n Roll Rhythm
Buy the record: FuturePopShop or Insound

Hercules - In The Alleyway
"Sometimes I look at all the brokenhearted fools and lose my mind. It's a mad world that helps you up just to knock you down another time." - Good For You
I'll be the first to admit that this record is a grower. A few listens on your standard stereo and you might miss it. This is definitely a headphones subtle record of straight-out-of-the-60's diddies. Yes, diddies. The minimalism on this record, is just the sort of thing to drive Brian Wilson mad (and by that i mean crazy excited, not psychotic). It's summer, autumn and winter rolled into one growling wurlitzer complete with strings and the occasional ethereal guitar.
Listen to a track: Hercules - Can't Go Out
Buy the record: FuturePopShop or Insound

Kings of Convenience - Riot On An Empty Street
"So I lost some sales and my boss won't be happy but there's only one thing on my mind. Searching boxes underneath the counter, on a chance that on a tape I'd find a song for... someone who need somewhere... to long for." - Homesick
A bit of a break from my otherwise American indie autumn... but it's really just a short jump to Scandinavia. There really isn't anyone doing contemplative acoustic pop better than this Norsk duo. You've got to be a little bit sappy and a lot a bit in love with the world to tackle the sticky sweetness... but it's oh so worth it. The simplicity of every chord change just pulls at my heart. Besides, I dare you to watch the video below without grinning like the village idiot.
Listen to a track: Kings of Convenience - I'd Rather Dance With You (Video)
Buy the record: Insound
(While your at it... pick up a copy of Erlend Ã~ye's DJ Kicks record... absolutely brilliant mix.)

Dogs Die In Hot Cars - Please Describe Yourself
"I get up when I like. Wear anything I like. Don't keep up with the cool. I make up my own rules." - Lounger
Ok this isn't quite softvoxguitarpop... in fact delete every word in that except "pop". This Scottish foursome hasn't even released their record domestically yet... and I know the hype machine is quickly taking hold but for good reason. Were you an XTC fan? How about Aztec Camera or Squeeze? You'll quickly recognize all the same enthusiasm of a band not-yet-jaded and playing their instruments the only way they know how... however they damn well please. It's all attitude, ska beats and dueling piano/guitar riffs.
Listen to a track: Dogs Die in Hot Cars - Lounger
(Click media... then audio and you'll find a link)

There are so many more records I could talk about... Stars, Mosquitos, The Brunettes, The Thrills, Le Concorde, Charlotte Hatherley, The Dears (although thank goodness the world has finally taken notice to the brilliance that is No Cities Lost)... oh I could go on and on... but let's leave a bit of the enthusiam for another day. So throw on some headphones and click a few of the links above for the perfect soundtrack to the falling leaves.