Reader, first off, our most sincere apologies for leaving you high and dry last week. We initially thought we were only excited enough about Presidents day for day’s worth of celebration. Turns out, we needed a whole week for that shit.
Now, as you may or may not recall, last fall we learned many lessons from the 2011 CMJ Music Marathon, prime among them—don’t miss Chad Valley, AKA Oxford’s Hugo Manuel (second from the right, above). Sadly, we failed to take our own advice, but this year, with Austin’s South by Southwest nearly upon us, we intend to learn from past mistakes and catch the electro aficionado as he smoothly rocks that town to its core.
But, after checking out their brand new full-length last week, we’re even more excited about catching Manuel’s full band, Jonquil, who’s happily also playing SXSW. The new release, Point of Go (out this week), pulls in Manuel’s catchy, plucky electronic melodies but builds off them using solid traditional instrumentation and some pleasingly upbeat rhythms, some of which veer surprisingly sonically close to a calypso feel, more in a Tanlines way than a Vampire Weekend way. Add to all that some smooth, brit-y, not-quite-as-crooney-as-Morrisey vocals and you end up with a seriously pleasant, pretty-pop start-to-finish album.
Check out “It’s My Part,” this week’s Song and then, if you like it, head over to Paste to stream the album while you can. It’s well-worth a full listen. If not two. Below, the video for the same song, featuring female models mouthing lyrics; strange, animal-headed beings playing in alleys; and *shudder* letters cut out of school-cafeteria-style pepperoni pizza rotating on turntables. We DO NOT condone this….