Nick Pagan – Hardly Use My Hands
Genre: Lo-fi Rock, Alternative Rock
Dedicating your life to music is a strange, but fulfilling way to waste your time. Die for something pretty is what Lou Reed advised. I can only bet that if one had the chance to use a device to show back and foresee one’s life, having spent one’s existence creating art is certainly one of least destructive things one could invest in.
After all, since history began, man’s objective has been survival. In order to reach that goal people will be willing to trample any principles thousands of times over. Getting enough to eat, shelter, and providing for your family, in these conditions, seems like more than enough. Creating art is extra-curricular material.
Whatever fate Nick Pagan’s career is to have, and we wish it is a long a successful one, he will no doubt look back with pleasure at singles like Hardly Use My Hands, the way a great novelist might look at some truly inspired pages in their diary. The lo-fi pop-rock sound of the record is the “You’re Here!” sign on a large and elaborate map, and we owe Pagan for taking the time to draw it up.
Turnpike Gates – Seasick
Genre: Punk, Alternative Rock
Writing the perfect power-pop single is the kind of task that falls somewhere between making the perfect sandwich and writing the Great American Novel. Some people will hate it. Some people will love it. A lot of people will foolishly ignore it.
Yes, there’s a time and place for music designed to help you trip out, for music made to assault your senses, and for music designed to shine a light on important issues. But, just like the rare sunny day spent without worrying endlessly about life, the perfect power-pop song is the thing that most music listeners search for endlessly.
I’m happy to report that Turnpike Gates’ Seasick is one of the tunes that ticks all of those boxes. It’s music made by folks who seem to have fallen in love with what radio used to be. It’s music made by people who love a great singalong, and who aren’t ashamed to admit that they hear a great Springsteen song and weep occasionally. Writing a great power-pop song remains one of the standards by which great bands should be judged on.