Vagabon

If you think the sun has set on the shoegaze craze of the 90s, you would be mostly right.  But the genre is far from fading away completely, thanks to up-and-comers like Snowball II, who have already released three albums in just their first year of existence.  The latest, Flashes of Quincy, was released in February of 2017.  The album shows off the band in their comfort zone, with 10 finely crafted morsels of LA pop produced with minimalist care.

Though you may recognize Snowball II as the name of The Simpsons’ second cat, in the LA music scene, it signifies a band blazing ahead with DIY passion, or as they put it: “Strictly West Coast Sad Clown Music.”  At the helm is Jackson Wargo, the man responsible for writing, recording, and playing nearly every sound you hear on the new album, which shimmers with a SoCal brilliance that makes the songs as catchy as they are lush.  The tracks are laden with familiar shoegaze sounds: waves of fuzzy guitars, floating filtered vocal harmonies, and a wash of bombastic drums.  But lest you think the studio magic on Flashes of Quincy overpowers the songs themselves, just give a listen to the lead off track, “Anais & Me.”  The song kicks the album into gear with a hook that would not be out of place on today’s top college or AAA radio stations.  Other tracks like the whimsical, “Resident of the United States,” or the funky speak singing of “Meet Yr Dad” are good reminders that the LA of the 90s is not dead.  In fact, maybe it’s having a resurgence.  If Snowball II keeps working at their current rate, then we have a lot to look forward to.

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