“The music biz is so slow in January and February it freaks me out every year!”, an acquaintance of mine lamented recently. Well luckily, with the rise of independent marketing and social media promotion we aren’t quite as bound to record label schedules as we once were. Artists are free to release an album, an EP, or even just a song whenever they see fit.
Case in point is the Bay Area group Strange Culprits. After a previously released debut EP the band, led by singer-songwriter Jason Buckingham have two new singles to tide us over. With a new batch of material due later this year, “Smith Creek” and “Namesake” serve as placeholders to keep their music out there. I personally think this is one of the smarter trends being taken advantage of by some musicians.
“Smith Creek” starts with a wonderfully jangly 12 string guitar, underpinned by a nice warm bass line and punctuated drums. The vocals give it an overall feel reminiscent of The Smithereens. It’s worth noting that the mixing is done well, with each part clearly defined and audible.
The next new track “Namesake” comes in with some of the qualities I liked most about early nineties alternative music (Whether intentional or not). It’s a straight ahead pop song dressed up with minimal distortion, energetic drumming, and an economic guitar lead fill.
So if you are a fan of solid Alternative Rock, look for the band’s Second Chances, due later this year. In the meantime, check out the new songs on their Soundcloud page.
By Peter Harris