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Combustible Gems is out now on Slumberland, stream or purchase it HERE

“Combustible Gems is a striking debut, on par with some of the work that informed it in a continuum of gorgeously imperfect indie pop.” -Fred Thomas / All Music Guide

Lightheaded are, simply, a great pop group. Their songs are full of melody and harmony, are bittersweet and memorable, familiar yet original. Their sound is a perfect mix of jangling guitars — featuring Sara Abdlebarry’s exquisite, tasteful, but punchy Gretsch lead played over Stephen Stec’s Rickenbacker chime — anchored to singer Cynthia Rickenbach’s Hofner Violin bass, which sounds like the bass on Michel Polnareff’s first LP.

Cynthia and Stephen write pop songs in the classic sense, and though they are young they’re already familiar with the good stuff. Cynthia wears a Gene Clark tee shirt and is a fan of Dusty Springfield, The Aislers Set, and Joan Jett. Stephen worships at the altar of Big Star, The Clientele, and The Go-Betweens. As with bands like The Aislers Set and Belle & Sebastian, you hear an aural kaleidoscope, the history pop music and the best rock and roll, in the music of Lightheaded.

Their debut LP Combustible Gems – is an LP about a band finding their sound, exploring notes, chords, and melody and making uncannily great music along the way. First single “Dawn Hush Lullaby” features an electric folk-pop sensibility that starts like a waltz, but goes into Greenwich Village pop time, like a sweet Norma Tanega tune. “Moments Notice” is a killer tune, rhythmic and catchy. It starts off like Motown or The Jam, but then Sara’s hypnotic, hooky guitar riff takes the song some place else, shooting off into soft pop heaven, like kid siblings of the Free Design.

“Hugging Horizons” is the Sound of Young New Jersey. It’s soul music, but by experimenting and playing around, they have accidentally invented some sort of New New Pop. “Because of You” ends the album on a real high, featuring Johnny Marr style guitar and some gorgeous strings. It’s poignant and sophisticated, but still eager, slightly gauche even. And as always refreshingly, wonderfully, naively sincere.

Combustible Gems is a jump into the sparkling blue water, excited experimentation, exploration, finding themselves, with the effervescence of youth that makes for great debut LPs. It has the youthful urgency of Comet Gain, the wide-eyed nostalgia of early Orange Juice, the suss and anti-macho swagger of those early Pastels singles. It yearns for something, it is an exciting, stumbling, falling, laughing , charming, great pop debut. -Hoffner Burns, Spring 2024


May 18 Red Bank, NJ – album release party / in-store at Jack’s Music Shoppe, 3pm
May 25 Providence, RI – Lost Bag w/Little Oso
May 26 Brooklyn, NY – 18th Ward w/Little Oso
May 28 Asbury Park, NJ – Johnny & June’s w/Little Oso
May 29 Philadelphia, PA – Abyssinia w/Little Oso
May 31 Brooklyn, NY – Market Hotel w/Heavenly
Jun 06 Oakland, CA – Oakland Weekender at Thee Stork Club
Jun 08 Los Angeles, CA – Permanent Records Roadhouse w/Uni Boys & The Smashing Times
Jun 14 New York, NY – The Broadway w/The Umbrellas & The Smashing Times
Jun 23 Cleveland, OH – The Happy Dog w/The Laughing Chimes
Jun 25 Athens, OH – The Laurel w/The Laughing Chimes
Jun 26 Columbus, OH – Dirty Dungarees w/The Laughing Chimes
Jun 27 Baltimore, MD – The Crown w/The Laughing Chimes
Jun 28 Philadelphia, PA – Cousin Danny’s w/The Laughing Chimes
Jun 29 Richmond, VA – TBA w/The Laughing Chimes & Young Scum
Jul 19 Brighton, UK – Rossi Bar w/Mt Misery
Jul 20 Cardiff, UK – The Moon w/Mt Misery
Jul 21 Oxford, UK – Tap Social w/Mt Misery
Jul 22 Leeds, UK – Royal Park Cellars w/Mt Misery
Jul 23 Sheffield, UK – The Delicious Clam w/Mt Misery
Jul 24 London, UK – SLR Showcase at The Lexington w/Birdie & Tony Molina
Jul 25 Manchester, UK – Gulliver’s w/Mt Misery
Jul 26 Glasgow, UK – Glas-Goes Pop! festival
Jul 28 Glasgow, UK – Monorail Music

Combustible Gems
Street Date: May 17, 2024
Purchase it HERE

Track Listing:

1 Always Sideways
Dawn Hush Lullaby
3 Moments Notice
4 Still Sitting Sunday
Bright Happy Girls
6 Hugging Horizons
7 You and Your Mother
8 Because of You



Slumberland Records