Baker Man: When We Collide

The six tracks on Baker Man’s When We Collide drift between the rough-hewn indie pop of early REM and the grinding garage punk of Dinosaur Jr. I also hear hints of the Decemberists and Ben Folds, particularly in the lead vocal of songwriter Mike Five on the album’s opening and closing tracks (“What Tradition Means” and “Keeping Score”). The latter of these is a shimmering six-and-a-half minute opus that’s equal parts dreamscape and early misty-morning hangover. Production on the album isn’t slick — nor is it meant to be — but it’s organic and has the feel of a live performance. These are the guys you saw performing in your buddy’s basement or your favorite dive bar in college. Smart lyrics, jangly guitars, and a healthy dose of world-weary cynicism.

 

“Sickle/Hammer” by Spirits

First, big thanks to Tim Whale at Emerging Indie Bands for his kind words regarding my EP, Garden Variety! Among those kind words are “honesty,” “vitality,” and “delight” (and the rest are good words, too!). But enough about me for a moment. Here’s a new track from a band that I’m enjoying…

Maybe I’m betraying my latent socialist sympathies, but I’m so glad that my friend Tom Powers turned me on to “Sickle/Hammer” by Spirits. The track opens with an acoustic guitar line that reminds me of Guster. After four measures, though, the song is pure eighties power pop. I’m thinking XTC meets Crowded House with some gorgeous backing vocals a la the Beautiful South? Some nice, fat synths in there, too. And listen for a wonderful lyrical sentiment at around the two-minute mark: “Harvest the moon. The darkness will digest the light.”

The track is a pay-what-you want deal — and so is the four-song EP that it appears on, Ubiquitous Possession. All of the tracks glow with their own magic, so check it out!

“West Philly Bedroom” by M. Zapatero

Here’s the latest Zapatero track. It’s a little different from the others. A little more rock, a little less electronic. But there’s still a nice synth break in the middle.

In any case, I’m charging $1 for it, but if that’s too rich for your blood, just drop me a line, and I’ll send you a code you can use to download the track for free.