So full disclosure I run a record label and I’ve come to an agreement with Blood Makes Noise to let me promote releases every week. The idea is every week I will present a playlist with some new Mint 400 Records music and what I think inspired our songwriters. This weeks playlist has us all over from New York & New Jersey to San Franciso and even Glasgow. We’ll start off with the more straight forward rock and roll with Black Cat Revue and The Campbell Apartment and then move into some emo with Blue Vervain and then we’ll end it with A Carousel Moon and their special brand of jazz infused Indie Pop. 

First we’ll go across the sea to Glasgow Scotland’s Black Cat Revue who have a new EP on the horizon but offered us up the first single “Heavy Peace” earlier in August. This band is what you want out of modern garage rock. It’s paying homage but it’s also new and feels like the persona that the band has created. I compare it to Brian Jonestown Massacre because it’s on par with how they have paid tribute to The Rolling Stones without overly sounding like The Stones. From the tambourine to the harmonies this track screams 60’s garage rock revival and it’s great from start to finish. 

Next up from San Francisco but formerly from New York and Massachusetts comes The Campbell Apartment. I shouldn’t say just The Campbell Apartment as their newest “Best Of” also combines front man Ari Vais’s former bands Humbert and the Pelicans into this treasure trove of power pop. The first track I put up there with Fountains of Wayne’s “Hackensack” because it’s that good! It’s no wonder it’s compared to Fountains of Wayne since FOW Guitarist Jody Porter is on some tracks on TCA’s best of and singer Ari Vais was even offered a gig playing with Fountains of Wayne in the 90’s. The next track I include on this playlist is one of their earlier songs but I feel like it’s one of those tracks where upon first listen it has a familiarity to it, mostly from the almost Canon in D Major chord progression. I compared it to The Strokes track on this playlist because it has that similar feel and syrupy sweet chord progression. 

Next we get to one of our younger acts in Blue Vervain who’s singer and creative force Jon Khan recently graduated law school. With the stress of having to take the Bar exam it had been a while since we had heard from the band. These new songs have more emotion and urgency than past tracks, which is evident from moment one of the new single “Medicine”. I compare it to Saves The Day mostly for the similar vocals and overall feel but I wouldn’t say it’s anything more than one small influence on Blue Vervain. This new track seems so much more energetic and less subdued than previous tracks, looking forward to more in the future from Blue Vervain in this style. 

A Carousel Moon is a side project from Michael and Eric of the NY State band The Racer. Over the course of 2021 they have been on a tear compiling 2 EP’s and an upcoming album. It differs from The Racer in it has a more pop feel and on this particular EP it delves into jazz with saxophone taking over as the focal point on some tracks. I actually ended up comparing them to another Mint 400 Records band called Clamb who similarly have tracks that are a mix of indie pop with synths and jazz. I think the new Carousel Moon track comes off as a little more straight forward with less avant garde aspects but I hear a kinship. Might be a fun pairing for a live show.  


- Neil Sabatino

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