Staff Trax: Sweet Apple, A Sunny Day in Glasgow, Seabear and Teenage Fanclub
Sweet Apple -- "Do You Remember?"
There's something undeniably charming about the above, intentionally low-quality music video for Sweet Apple's "Do You Remember?" (not to mention its very, very beginning, which may or may not include a joke about Dallas' own Polyphonic Spree). A supergroup of sorts featuring Dinosaur Jr.'s J. Mascis, Cobra Verde's John Petkovic and Tim Parnin, and Witch's Dave Sweetapple (whose surname is the inspiration behind this new band's moniker), the band's riff-heavy onslaught fits nicely right alongside most of Mascis' catalog. Funny thing, though: In addition to playing guitar in this band, Mascis is also it's drummer. Still, his presence is unmistakable in the sound of this band, which released its debut full-length, Love & Desperation, earlier this year. The album's full of more classic rock 'n' roll-sounding efforts like the above one, bolstered by Mascis' always-welcome guitar work and Petkovic's gruff vocals. Great drinking music, for sure. --Pete Freedman
A Sunny Day in Glasgow recently released their newest album for free, but like Radiohead's In Rainbows, this sounds like something you should pay for. I usually shy away from modern electronic pop for various reasons, but I like what I hear here, especially with the vocals and pop simplicity evidenced in this track. --Eric Grubbs
There's just something cool about bands from Iceland, especially ones that sing primarily in English. Seabear is led by Sindri Már Sigfússon, a guy who has been called (by Rolling Stone no less) the Icelandic Beck. And such is not empty praise: Sigfússon's folksy talent with words and melodies is quite evident on all three of Seabear's full-length efforts. Currently a septet, the band released We Built a Fire earlier this year, but I prefer 2007's The Ghost That Carried Us Away and the great single from that album "I Sing I Swim." Seabear is currently on tour, but will sadly not make it to our parts this time around. They are definitely worth a road trip, though. --Darryl Smyers
Teenage Fanclub comes from a long line of brilliant, but somewhat over-looked, bands. My first exposure to their music came as a young whippersnapper when SNL started booking bands that MTV was making famous, like Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Teenage Fanclub's performance made just as deep of an impression for me as either of those bands' did, but for a different reason--they didn't need some emotional display or wash of distortion to get noticed. They were more bubblegum pop than grunge, and they added a certain levity to the time. Fast-forward 20 years, and they're still taking the edge off a musical landscape flooded with pomposity. Their latest album, Shadows, ranks as one of their best, full of their trademark hooks and ethereal harmonies. Ten bucks says one listen to "Baby Lee" and it'll be stuck in your head for a week." --Andy Odom