Smith Westerns Are Back With ‘Varsity’

The best pop music feels injected, with one big rush, directly into your brain’s pleasure center—and Smith Westerns know it. The indie Chicago three-piece, coming off an extensive tour in support of Dye It Blonde, have followed up with new material that indicates a band in its prime. 

The last song written and recorded for third full-length record Soft Will, out June 11, "Varsity" is also last in the tracklist but the first single—and with good reason. Its infectious bounce, playful bass and slippery, unmannered vocals conspire to have you wagging your head and tapping your toes in no time flat.

Extra luck if you’re in L.A.: Smith Westerns are playing The Echo on April 16, and Coachella on both the 14th and 21st of the month. You could go see other bands, but you wouldn’t walk out in such a good mood.

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BlackBook Tracks #11: Summer is Ending

Labor Day approacheth, signaling the death knell of summer. It’s time to put on your finest jean shorts and seize the end of the season. Here’s the playlist for your long weekend. Wear some white shoes.

Is Tropical – “Land Of The Nod”

The London trio pairs a laid-back vibe with a driving beat to create a perfect soundtrack for soaking up the sun.

Slam Donahue – “Cmon Cmon”

This highlight from the recently released Hemlock Tea EP sums up all of the summer romances that could have been. Sure, there’s some amount of regret involved, but the Brooklyn duo stays cool and breezy.

ALB – “Brand New Start”

There’s not too much information out there about the French indie-pop artist ALB, but he’s an immensely gifted songwriter worth seeking out. “Brand New Start” is an ode to moving on that’s equal parts joy and tension. Also, there are handclaps!

TV Girl – “Misery”

True to retro-pop form, the LA duo makes a song called “Misery” that actually sounds pretty happy.

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – “My Terrible Friend” (Washed Out Remix)

Lovelorn shoegazers stating the facts of heartbreak get an assist from the sunbleached stylings of Washed Out.

Smith Westerns – “All Die Young”

The garage-glam trio’s been working on their third LP, and 2011’s Dye It Blonde is worth revisiting on hot, late nights.

Beck – “Black Tambourine”

Guero may not be old enough to be a part of the classic Beck canon, but it speaks of summer in a way that needs to be capitalized on right now.

Kitten – “Cut It Out”

There’s a lot to love about the current wave of young women in electro-pop, and L.A.’s Kitten capture teen longing in the airy, immediately memorable “Cut It Out.”

The Strokes – “Take It Or Leave It”

It’s a classic.

JEFF the Brotherhood – “Hypnotic Mind”

Go hard and shred forever with these Nashville bros. End the summer on a high note.