Discover more from Check This Out!
Here Are 5 August Records That You Should Be Playing This Labor Day Weekend
Playing a little catch-up with Marci, Tony Molina, Felipe Gordon, Cool Maritime, and the latest installment from Coast To Coast Collective!
August is always a doozy, but this year, in particular, it really kicked my ass. Between the dog days of summer, my air conditioner being out for two months and counting, and starting an indie label, I haven’t had the time to tell you about all the great stuff released this month.
But enough excuses. From my sweat-soaked keyboard, here is everything that fell between the cracks for Check This Out! during National Peach Month.
Have a great holiday weekend, and thank you again for reading, whether this is your first newsletter or you’re a CTO! grizzled past master with a wealth of indie rock knowledge. - Kiley ✌️
Marci - Marci
My love of Montreal dream pop group TOPS is no secret, as they always scratch the itch when I need that chilled-out pick-me-up that only northern soft rock can offer. Marta Cikojevic is integral to crafting their perfect formula, lending her keyboard expertise to their last few albums over the previous five years. Stepping out as Marci, Cikojevic’s solo debut is one of the feel-good records of the summer, drifting somewhere in a late 80s analog synth haze. Marci never leaves second gear, and that’s a great thing in this case, as Cikojevic doesn’t shy away from her indie-pop hook expertise. This record is one that I’m glad I’ve let stew for the month, as its small sophisti-pop accents bloom with each listen, and there isn’t a bad one in the bunch on this breezy 33-minute set
Tony Molina - In the Fade
When it comes to modern power pop, there are few in the company of Tony Molina. The former Ovens member has crafted his own Bay Area niche, one in which he continues to release short records of freewheeling perfection. With songs that typically don’t run longer than a minute and a half, fans will appreciate that his third record, In the Fade, runs at a whopping 18 minutes. Molina knows the ingredients to what goes into the perfect pop formula and also knows it’s not worth repeating a chorus a million times. Molina’s solo work is often lazily compared to Weezer, and if anything, sounds like Pinkerton era b-sides (a good thing), but more often sounds like ex-bassist Matt Sharp’s The Rentals project (a great thing). With Sarah Rose Janko lending vocals to many songs, this comparison to The Rentals rings even more authentic, combined with some Teenage Fanclub for good measure. There are plenty of new songs here, but much comes from Molina revisiting unfinished songs and demos from his Oven days, which lends to the compilation feel of In the Fade. Add a cover of Tony Iommi’s “Fluff,” an acoustic take from Black Sabbath’s Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, and Molina is an easy three-for-three on solo releases.
Felipe Gordon - Natural Born Climber EP
Producer Felipe Gordon is no stranger to the newsletter, as last year’s EP Keepin’ It Jazz landed on my year-end list for short players. Gordon is back again, with his seventh release for banging Bristol house label Shall Not Fade, and Natural Born Climber picks right up where we left off last year. Another quintessential blend of blissed-out house vibes and jazzy funk will have you starting your own day club in your backyard.
Cool Maritime - Big Earth Energy
If you’re an older Millenial, Sean Hellfritsch’s latest release as Cool Maritime is undoubtedly going to take you to a place. Based upon 90s RPG soundtracks for games like MYST and Studio Ghibli film scores, Big Earth Energy easily sounds like it came out 30 years ago. Atmospheric, meditative, and always playful, Big Earth Energy works so well by combining era-specific equipment, Hellfritsch’s genuine love for nature, and his cinematic mind as a filmmaker. The record may have come out earlier this year, but I completely missed it. After a recommendation from John Jagos, while working on the Brothertiger feature, Big Earth Energy has won me over with its bold New Age spirit and is the album I’ve had on repeat for the last week plus.
Coast to Coast Collective - Vol. II: Pacific Summer
I’ve covered Coast to Coast Collective a few times this year, whether it was the release of their debut EP or an interview with Teather to release her single, “Sinking.” This past Wednesday, the best underground chillwave collective celebrated the streaming release of their newest collection, Vol. II: Pacific Summer. While the EP tickled your vaporwave fancy, Vol. II: Pacific Summer brings most everyone back that you know and love and adds so many more for a fully envisioned LP release. C2CC founders Luxury Noise and patchnotes put in great efforts in which fans will hear their maturation happening in real-time. “Grow,” the aptly titled song from patchnotes, explores his ambient side with heavenly vocal refrains, field recordings, and a soothingly bouncy progression. Meanwhile, “Feelitmakeit” by Luxury Noise excels as a fresh offering in a variation on the genre that I can only call “mallcore,” and is a significant next step following Second Light from earlier this year. Teather continues her hot streak of quiet club hits, with “Tender” serving as the perfect opener to the collection. For the others who are back from Vol. 1, Simple Syrup fills “Pink Moon” with that magic formula of woodwinds and chimes, and Econojazz will have you floating way with “Gaia’s Stepdaughter,” which very well may be my favorite here. As for the new artists here, C2CC knows who the best in the niche scene is, with V4ngoe, Sacré Bleu!, and Jonie all sliding in perfectly with the usual crew. While I’ve added the entire collection to this year’s playlist, Device Operator’s “Give Me Joy” does just that and is one that has to be heard. While our capitalist overlords are pushing you towards pumpkin spice lattes and Halloween decorations, you know it’s still going to be hot for a few months, and Coast To Coast Collective is here to let your summer live on.
Hear songs from these albums and so much more on the Good Ass Songs 2022 playlist!