Quick Spins: 5 High Energy Guitar-Driven Albums For A Rainy Day

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 31, 2017 5:09PM

Since we’re stuck in that dreary mid-point between spring and summer, when the weather is wet and everything is grey, it seems appropriate to share a couple recently released albums from bands whose sound is firmly rooted in summer vibes. Since these tunes are meant to blow the rain clouds away, the theme that runs through all these groups is that they’re guitar based, they love writing catchy melodies, and there’s nothing prefabricated about any of the groups’ sound.

Here are five bands, along with streams of their albums, that are getting us through this season. So crank up the amps and let’s let that sunshine in to chase away these rainy day blues.

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The Bombpops

The Bombpops
Fear Of Missing Out

It took The Bombpops ten years and a slew of line-up changes to get around to finally recording their debut album. And some of the songs on Fear Of Missing Out date back close to the band’s origination. The fact you would never be able to tell which songs are old and which songs were written in the last year is a testament to just how solid the band’s sound is.

If Josie and the Pussycats had a bunch of cooler older sisters with tattoos and an addiction to three chords, tearing shit up and a really good time, they would be in The Bombpops.

The Bombpops play Cobra Lounge on May 12.

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Snowball

Snowball II
Flashes Of Quincy

If Nada Surf and Teenage Fanclub had a baby it would sound like Snowball II. The Long Beach, CA sextet decided to release 3 albums over the course of a year and Flashes Of Quincy closes out that challenge spectacularly. The group’s chiming guitars channel The Byrds on a bender while being strained through distress fuzz and just enough atonal leads to keep things feeling loose and interesting.

Once you stop marveling at how compelling the songs are, prepare to get knocked every further back by the news that while the band has a bunch of members that play live, the album is a mostly one-man affair, with Jackson Wargo handling all the instruments save the drums and a few guest vocals. Maybe he was stuck inside during a rainy spell as well? I wish all of us could turn out stuff this great in our down time.

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Kestrels, I swear their music is sunnier than this photo looks.

Kestrels
Kestrels

If shoegaze-pop wasn’t a thing before it sure is now. Canada’s Kestrels conjure up walls of distortion, but back it with insistently driving beats that keep you from simply sinking into a pillow of the band’s noise. Instead the group seems more intent on keeping your attention, keeping the energy amped up and never allowing the usual shoe gaze haze to lull the listener into a state of suspended animation.

It’s great stuff. The sort of thing ‘80s college rock kids, ‘90s Britpoppers, ‘00s indie hipsters, multi-era shoe gaze nuts—aw, heck, pretty much anyone—can dig into and enjoy.

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The Courtneys, photo by Andrew Volk

The Courtneys
II

The Courtneys’ sophomore effort, inventively titled II, is filled with bouncy, fuzzy girl-group inspired indie pop. And I can’t be the only one to see that the trip of Jen Twynn Payne, Sydney Koke, and Courtney Loove have something special. II is being released by the legendary New Zealand label Flying Nun, the first ever non-New Zealand artist to join that roster. How Flying Nun got turned onto a killer combo from Vancouver escapes me, but I’m glad they did.

In the end the whole ting is pretty simple; The Courtneys’ magnetic charm is based on material that is simple but effective, and gets you humming along without realizing it. What more could you ask for when trying to conjure up the summer sunshine vibes?

Also, they have a song about The Lost Boys, so if I have to be honest they would’ve had me there even if that was the only thing the band had done.

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CJ Ramone

CJ Ramone
American Beauty

I confess, I always had the preconception that CJ Ramone’s music probably wasn’t good since I assumed he was just trading on the small amount of fame focused his way as the last bassist for the Ramones. Boy do I feel like a jerk now.

American Beauty is a collection of surprisingly solid punk-pop—and sometimes just plain old fashioned, charge forward power-pop!—that made me immediately regret I’d discounted CJ’s talents in the past. He’s not stretching any rules, or breaking any boundaries, and that is A-O.K. Sometimes you just need the musical equivalent of a hot rod charging in circles around a mall food court to make your day.

Throw this on repeat and you won’t need a drop of caffeine for the rest of the day. Just remember that next time you’re having a sluggish afternoon.

CJ Ramone plays Cobra Lounge May 11.