Thursday, September 28, 2017

American Darlings-Glow, Park Church Co-op with Beverly, EZTV + Rips

With the recent release of their latest recording “Glow,” Brooklyn power-pop rockers American Darlings reach new heights for catchy hook-laden songs that still have an edge.

The six brand new tracks are available via multiple listening formats, including cassette tape (which appears to be growing in popularity once again, and a particular favorite of this blog).

Lead off track “Roll With Me” shows the three minute power-pop anthem is alive and well. While essential verse lyrics “days” and “haze” are as clean a rhyme as “take” and “heartbreak,” their function is all about setting up an instantly catchy chorus. Crunchy guitar and handclap percussion brilliantly usher in the hook that goes “If you say that you’re ready – come on roll with me baby. Till you say that you’re gonna – go and do what you wanna.” That perfect blend of hard rock and “first time” longing conjures up the influential pop of bands like The Raspberries and Badfinger.

There’s a tightly coiled urgency within the alternating paired two-chord crunch immediately powering “Ain’t Seeing Red.” While vocals on those verses straddle an appealing reference point somewhere between Nirvana and REM, lyrical content suggests a conflicted state of mind. An explosive power-pop chorus serves to answer those questions with a positive message that lays out a clear and simple choice. “But if you want me to I'll do - Whatever you wanna say. And if you wanna go, I'll go - If you don't wanna stay right now.”

 Once again dipping into the Beatles-to-Raspberries vocally seductive playbook, the background vocals come on particularly strong on that “wanna stay right nowwwww” line. It’s the perfect balance between rough-hewn and romantically sweet. Bonus points for the delightful little 10 second solo guitar coda at the very end.


A rich Americana feel emanates from the central guitar riff and melody that runs throughout “Take Me There.” The bended twang guitar lines create an anthemic feel over top of alternately strummed and arpeggio rhythm chords and easy in-the-pocket drums and bass groove.

A sense of longing is revealed through lyrics that go “Feel it fading fast- over the hill and down the line. Living in the past- Way too contrary, my sanctuary's in my mind.” That yearning turns proactive as one more memorable chorus serves up a dynamic plea to “Take me there with you” with the lock down hook of “Cause I wanna go, Yes I wanna go right now.”


The album title inspiring track “Watch You Glow” doubles down on pure pop vibes bathed in chugging garage rock guitars. With a tight turn rhythm section locking down the groove, a desire to move on “with the girl, incandescently” is told.

The sing-along-friendly descending chorus progression “I don't really wanna know, how things really got to go, I just want to watch you glow tonight” would slot nicely in any teen coming-of-age movie. Add in a delightful melody fueled guitar break at the two minute mark and Beatles-esque rising (and alternately descending) vocals on the word “toniiiiiight” for a near perfect three and a half minute song.

Bursting up through a previously unattainable level, “Game Over” explodes with clever lyrical metaphor of life through video screens. Dedicate gamers can relate to lyrics “every time you blow into that cartridge woah- You're stirring around all of that dust from years ago.”

Exclusive Atari 2600 Cartridge, Cassette and Game Source

Fast paced and full of energetic enthusiasm, the whole band shines with precise accents on a chorus that shouts “break down, break down, "Game Over" screen. 1Up, new year, know what I mean? Break down, break down, "Game Over" screen. 1Up, 2P, Know what I mean?”

 Meaning abundantly clear – our interpersonal relationships are mirrored via new media outlets, and vice versa.

Softer chiming strummed guitars and pitched-bended enhancements lead the way into closing track “My Minds’s Eye.” “I've been waiting here, like an illusion inside my head. Everything I fear keeps me from moving just like the dead” are the opening thoughts expressed. 

When the big chorus hits with lyrics “Just confiscate the negotiations” – the whole band pounds down on the riff like My Bloody Valentine.  It’s a gorgeous song overall and presents a possible future direction this band might be headed.

Rumored secret of the bands killer sound.

Merch table hang at a recent show. 

Being mentioned in the same sentence as the legendary rock music writer Lester Bangs is truly an honor.

Social media fun

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Keep up with everything American Darlings related here

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Tuesday September 12 presented a prime opportunity to revisit the beautiful Park Church Co-op in Brooklyn.

The chance to catch dreamy band Beverly in this special cathedral-like setting was simply too good to pass up.

Having witnessed the evolution of Drew Citron's band over the last couple of years, it was a pleasure to experience again how the sound and presentation of Beverly's live show continues to progress.

Performing a set that (not surprisingly) leaned heavily on their critically acclaimed latest album The Blue Swell, a noteworthy change saw core member Scott Rosenthal moving from bass to guitar.

A big part of the band's sound results from these meticulously crafted vocal harmonies.

At one point in the set Drew put down her guitar and sang directly to (and in) the audience - testifying to the congregation!

Showing an artistic growth as a performer and front-person.

Their song “South Collins” (a particular favorite) takes their incredible harmonies and bathes them in a haze that marries Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You” with The Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Some Candy Talking.”

One more step down off the altar (this time with guitar in hand) seemingly to enjoy what the band sounds like from an audience perspective.

The lovely sound emanates through a smoke filled haze.

Leading back to extended jams.

Wringing that very last note out in classic gazer style.

The band did an incredible cover of the classic Sundays song “You’re Not The Only One I know" that was magnificent, and revealed another level to Drew’s already impressive vocal abilities.

For their encore, Beverly invited up featured support act at this show EZTV for a final blow out jam.

The two bands meshed quite well, showing a familiarity that was surely established on their recently completed North American tour dates together.

An unexpected jam, covering classic Neil Young.

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Previous features about Beverly by Dave Cromwell, both here on This Site and on The Deli Magazine can be found here:

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Speaking of the band EZTV, their own performance on this night was quite impressive as well.

Bathed in vibrant lighting against the gorgeous architecture this building provides, they played an impeccable set featuring a number of songs from their latest album "High In Place."

Originating through the vision of lead singer, songwriter and guitarist Ezra Tenenbaum, lyrical storytelling fit seamlessly together with hooky vocal harmonies and indie guitar rock.

Their emphasis on the softer side of that spectrum, complete with ultra-smooth harmony vocals fit perfectly with the time-transcending feeling this venue provides.

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While bands like The Feelies are mentioned as initial role-models for their sound, elements of classic Byrds can be heard in their soaring harmonies and chiming guitars.

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You can listen to and acquire "High In Places" here on their Bandcamp.

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Opening the night's festivities were young guitar-riff indie rockers Rips.

Having gotten to know theirs songs via an impressive debut record (Produced and Mixed by Austin Brown of Parquet Courts) , their live show did not disappoint.

Theirs is the sound of homegrown New York City guitar rock.  Taking inspiration from pioneering bands like Television and Sonic Youth, their songs offer an appeal worth taking notice of.

Find out more about Rips here.

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The incredible lights and sound behind every show at The Park Church Co-op is the sole responsibility of Nick and Jasno and their Union Garage Productions.

It's quite impressive how effortlessly they make it look despite all the hard work that goes into setting up their consistently high quality show.
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Having stood now for over a century, this majestic Lutheran Church is being served by the creative leadership of its forward thinking Pastor Amy. Her commitment in encouraging neighbors to feel welcome and engage this community center in new and creative ways has already had a considerable positive effect.

Find out more about Park Church Co-op here.

Read the DaveCromwellWrites 2017 Northside Fest recap featuring The Park Church Co-op here.

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Mirror said...

American Darlings shared:

NEW FEATURE REVIEW of ENTIRE new record, Glow, over at DaveCromwellWrites! Huge thanks to Dave for the extensive review and for getting it with "the perfect balance between rough-hewn and romantically sweet" #killerhooks #davecromwellwrites #davecromwell #brooklynindie #indierock #nycmusic #musicreview #newmusic #awesome

DaveCromwell said...

It was my pleasure to dig in to your record American Darlings. Each song is a perfect slice of pop that (as I say at one point) would slot perfectly in a modern movie! Keep up the great work guy,

Mirror said...

EZTV wrote:

Thanks for the kind words and pics dave!

DaveCromwell said...

Glad you like EZTV! It really is a beautiful location to have a show and your songs and performance there came together quite well.

Mirror said...

Willie Cry Records posted:

WCR's very own American Darlings entire new record, Glow, reviewed in full by the Lester Bangs of modern day NYC, Dave Cromwell. "The perfect balance between rough-hewn and romantically sweet"...Thanks Dave! #musicreview #nycrock #nycmusicscene #powerpop #altrock #indie #brooklyn #rockreview #davecromwellwrites

DaveCromwell said...

Having grown up as a devotee of everything the legendary writer, editor and driving force of Creem Magazine wrote - it is nothing but an honor to be mentioned in the same breath as Lester Bangs. I think he would had positive things to say about a record like "Glow."

Misty said...

another thorough track by track review here! that American Darlings record is excellent. i love that it’s available in cassette format, which has always held a special place in my heart. it’s great to see the new generation of musicians and fans embracing this easy format that offers up a physical keepsake.

the Park Church Co-op, Beverly, EZTV and Rips show looks like it was a lovely one to be at. Props also to Beverly for doing that beautiful Sundays song (one of my all time faves)!

DaveCromwell said...

I literally listen to my cassettes every single day now. That wasn't always the case for a long period when I'd burnt out every player I had and didn't see many options for a new one. Recent times, however has brought the Radio/CD + Cassette boombox back on the shelves right next to all the modern tv's and laptops. So I've gotten three of them over the last few years and play my extensive collection in all rooms of the house!

Without a doubt “Glow” is a killer record and I enjoyed digging in to each track. As for The Park Church Co-op, I doubt there is a more heavenly location for a rock show anywhere.

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Mirror said...

Jason Maksymilian Szkutek wrote:

NEW FEATURE REVIEW of ENTIRE new American Darlings record, Glow, over at DaveCromwellWrites! Huge thanks to Dave for the extensive review and for getting it with "the perfect balance between rough-hewn and romantically sweet" #killerhooks #davecromwellwrites #davecromwell #brooklynindie #indierock #nycmusic #musicreview #newmusic

DaveCromwell said...

One of the top records I've reviewed all year Jason. Keep doing those "bended twang guitar lines create an anthemic feel over top of alternately strummed and arpeggio rhythm chords and easy in-the-pocket drums and bass groove."

Mirror said...

Scott Orr wrote:

Great write-up, Croms. I'm with you, love the cassettes.

I got a boombox to play then on ebay a few years ago for like $15 and it is awesome.

DaveCromwell said...

That is one sweet ride, Scott Orr!

I'll bet Jody Porter's "Month Of Mondays" sounds kick ass on that!

I have bought 3 new boomboxes in the past 2 years (giving 2 to others) - they are readily available again in department stores (over by the tv's) - and listen to my cassettes every day.

Mirror said...

Scott Orr wrote:

“Month Of Mondays” isn't on cassette yet, but I have Popdropper by the Belltower on tape.

DaveCromwell said...

Oh, wow – you’ve got that classic 1992 album on original cassette!?! Such an innovative record. For the curious, here’s a link to the whole thing on Youtube:

And check out these great fan comments:

Andrew Drummond

Belltower rock. Wish I'd seen them live. When effects pedals had an emotional resonance that can't be matched today


I saw them live in 1992 supporting the Primitives at the Duchess in Leeds they were excellent.

Matthew Olson
This is amazing

mac timred

great great stuff, bought the cd way back when - thanks for posting!


i had just made a comment to some people how this album sounds to me, what Fleetwood Mac might have sounded like if they were shoegazers.


I used to have this album when it was released. Cassette tape, UK release but it didn't have track 10. Plastic Man on it.


didn't have Solstice on the UK release either but had the excellent Crawl


Yes, you're right, it did have Crawl! Solstice is an amazing track, shame it wasn't on the UK release.


It was a real shame this was their only album, One of the best debut albums ever in my opinion, still sounds fresh today.


I know, they made such a beautiful sound and then vanished. And you're right, it still sounds great today, not dated or old at all.

Mirror said...

Carol Szkutek wrote:

Wow, Dave, incredibly poignant and precise review...whew! I was hangin on every word...thanks. These guys in American Darlings deserve the "to the point" review you presented...a nice gift to them for sure!

DaveCromwell said...

They DO deserve it, Carol - and thanks for the kind words on my writing!

Mirror said...

Jasno Swarez Wrote:

Check out this beautiful review of Beverly - Band and EZTV live at The Park Church Co-op 🌷🌷🌷 love the pics of Nick the fireman and I - thank you Dave Cromwell!

DaveCromwell said...

You apply your craft at one of the most unique venues in the city (and probably the whole country) Jasno. It's always such a great experience attending one of your presentations there.