Free and legal MP3: Heyrocco (catnip for ’90s fans)

Tricky of a power trio to wrap its sensitive side into a thunderous song that appears to be about premature ejaculation.


“Melt” – Heyrocco

Here’s a shot of adrenaline for you ’90s rock fans, full of loud crunchy guitars, gratifying melodies, slightly affected-while-trying-not-to-sound-affected vocals, sexually forward lyrics (“When you undo/My belt/I melt”), and some of that loud/soft oscillation that worked so well before smartphones took over (not that there’s a connection…necessarily…). In the bigger picture of things, “Melt” is timeless rock’n’roll—young men making their desire desirable via backbeat, melody, and loud crunchy guitars.

But notice the tempo here. It’s got a backbeat, yes, but a deliberate one. For all the mighty, bottom-heavy sound on display, “Melt” is nearly a ballad, albeit a loud and R-rated one. (Tricky of a power trio to wrap its sensitive side into a thunderous song that appears to be at least partially about premature ejaculation.) And yet this is not to be confused with those treacly so-called “power ballads” arena rock bands used to churn out back in the day. This is maybe just a slowed-down rock song, but with such brawny vitality that the crowd’s going to dance anyway. From start to finish, the sound is stout and bracing; the simple, declarative chorus is the definition of killer; and the guitar solo you have waited patiently for (2:46) is a concise, off-kilter triumph. For three minutes and forty-nine seconds you can pretend Bill Clinton is still president.

Heyrocco is a young trio from Charleston, South Carolina with one digital-only full-length release to date, 2012’s Comfort, which you can listen to and/or buy via Bandcamp. A full-fledged debut album is expected later this year.

Free and legal MP3: Brave Baby (yearning, rock-solid rock)

“Living in a Country” is all yearning momentum and indelible chorus.

Brave Baby

“Living in a Country” – Brave Baby

Charleston’s Brave Baby aims big here, drawing inspiration not only from the heroic/nostalgic sounds of Arcade Fire but from the granddaddies of earnest yet incisive rock’n’roll, U2. Front man Keon Masters does sing with an air of Win Butler about him; his vulnerable tenor has a rope-like strength to it, and a subtle intricacy, as he offers different aural qualities at his different registers.

“Living in a Country” is all yearning momentum and indelible chorus. You’ll hear that without even trying. Give a closer listen, though, and you’ll encounter any number of oddly satisfying details—the Star Trek-y synthesizer (first heard in the introduction), the late entry of the bass (0:29), the ghostly octave vocals (1:40), the deconstruction of the time signature during that asymmetrical interlude after the second verse (1:54), and maybe best of all, the burnished spaciousness of the sound in the chorus, which feels partly like some kind of wall-of-sound voodoo and yet partly organic and explainable. Only I can’t explain it; all I know is that the chorus’s urgent hookiness has probably as much to do with its sonic landscape as its melody.

Three of Brave Baby’s four members have been playing music together since 2008; the quartet coalesced in 2010. “Living in a Country” is the first single available from the band’s debut album, Forty Bells, due out in January on Hearts and Plugs Records. Thanks to the record label for the MP3.