Higher Education – Masquerade
Genre: Surf Rock, Indie Rock
Has being in a band always been funny? Well, probably not during the time that having the papers that attested your founder status of a band could make you a millionaire. All you had to do was sell a few records. And, after all, everybody bought records. KISS, Twisted Sister, and Motley Crue weren’t chuckling when they were applying makeup to their faces.
But it’s all kind of funny now, and Higher Education arrive with both the jokes and the laugh track. Doing anything artistic is kind of funny these days. Expecting that people will want to reward you financially for your efforts takes either great confidence, humour, or a combination of both.
Higher Education’s “Masquerade” sounds like the band looks – funny, non-threatening, and clever. It’s music for people who are slightly embarrassed by their record-collecting habits. Musically, this is built on sweet surf-rock guitar riffs, indie-rock vocals, and the kind of musical production that should easily push the group toward the indie-pop playlists. It’s hard not to smile, and once you smile, it’s hard not to get in a good mood.
Coco Valli – Midnight Sun
Similar artists: Arctic Monkeys
Genre: Indie Rock, Alternative Rock
Does all reggae music come out of Jamaica and do you mind if it doesn’t? You probably don’t care. Is black metal exclusively a Norwegian phenomenon? Can you get away with making grunge if you’ve never even been to Seattle? Well, sure.
Coco Valli sound like they’ve been dreaming about the Sheffield streets for a long time and that all they need now is an airplane ticket and a British accent. But that’s fine. Audiences expect their stories, news and songs to be told in a certain way, and the ones that crack the code have the highest chance of getting their voices heard.
Coco Valli’s “Midnight Sun” is a pleasant guitar-driven indie-rock number that recalls British groups a la Arctic Monkeys. The vocals are delivered with confident world-weariness in the style of Alex Turner. Coco Valli work to ensure that their guitar obsessions are married to strong, hummable hooks and that they deliver the kind of beginner guitarist difficulty level so that future fans can strum along to this.