Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Redspencer - Redspencer EP

At the risk of being overly bossy, I think that everyone needs a bit of Redspencer in their lives.  I think that David, Aiden and Andre would agree, but they have a clear bias as they are the members of the band.  The trio resides in Melbourne, and plays melodic guitar pop that to my ears is perfect for the transition from summer to fall.  The recently released a four-song EP via home town label Deaf Ambitions, and I give it my firm endorsement.  From the shimmering opener "Everyday" to the garage pop of "Happy Slow Riverbends" to the dreamy showcase tune "Ride It Out" to the county-inflected closer "Someday's Gone", there isn't a bad note in the set.  The only complaint I could muster is that there weren't enough of them.  But because I'm a self-help kind of guy, I found an older track that is available to download and linked in below.  But don't let that stop you from getting this EP.  You'll have it on repeat.

And here is a video for Respencer's song "Tell", which can be downloaded for free here.

Bandcamp for Redspencer EP
Deaf Ambitions

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Crepes - Cold Summers EP

We featured a song by Melbourne's Crepes last year, but somehow managed to miss their release of the Cold Summers EP in the spring.  I'm quite sure we have an excuse.  In fact, we keep an entire file of excuses in the office.  I just can't remember which one I'm supposed to use this time.  Since the interns have all headed back to school, we'll just blame it on the interns.

But excuses aside, Cold Summers is a record you don't want to miss.  In fact, the shimmering, jangling title track would be worth the price even if the following four songs were filled with tuneless humming which, of course, they aren't.  Slacker guitar lines jangle away, but the rhythm section adds genuine muscle and the keys glue it together.  The vocals are excellent and the songwriting is too adept to be termed slacker pop.  This band has a bright future, so this is your chance to get in on the ground floor.

Cold Summers is out now via Deaf Ambitions.

Deaf Ambitions

The School - Wasting Away And Wondering

Sorry, noiseniks, it is a rainy Tuesday morning and the day demands to be jump started with some indie pop.  Fortunately, The School has things covered with their new album Wasting Away And Wondering.  The sweet spot for this assembly of musicians from Cardiff, Wales is retro-tinged pop music that will recall your favorites from '60s artists such as Dusty Springfield, The Shirelles and The Ronettes as well as contemporary bands such as Scotland's Camera Obscura, England/Australian outfit Allo Darlin' and the US' Saturday Looks Good To Me.  And that tells me that I will hear sweet female vocals, rich instrumentation, and classic but bouncy melodies.  But knowing what I am getting does nothing to lessen the familiar and welcome rush I feel when this music hits my brain.  The School is a savvy band, knowing when to punch things up with horns or smooth them out with strings.  But nothing is done to be showy or announce 'aren't we clever'.  It all is in the service of delivering the pop goods to your ears.  Give yourself a treat; not everything good is spanking new.

The School are Liz, Steph, Harri, Ryan, Fran, Kay, Andy, and Kit.  Wasting Away And Wondering is their third album, and it is out September 4 via Elefant Records.

Bandcamp for previous releases
Elefant Records page for album

Monday, August 31, 2015

"Modern World" by Future Elevators

When I think of electro-pop, Birmingham, Alabama doesn't spring to mind.  But after listening to "Modern World" by Future Elevators, I need to adjust my expectations.  The song features shimmering synths over a chill groove and playful vocals.

Future Elevators are Michael Shackelford, Alex Mitchell, Ramy Noureddini, Matt Devine, and John-Mark Dorough.  Their debut album will be release in 2016 by label Communicating Vessels.


"Sometimes Accidentally" by The Goon Sax

Monday mornings can be a bit rough, so it is greatly appreciated when the early emails bring treasures like the new single from The Goon Sax.  They are three high school students from Brisbane -- Louis Forster, Riley Jones and James Harrison -- and recently became the first band that Melbourne's Chapter Music signed based on an unsolicited demo.  Chapter will release the band's debut LP, Up To Anything, in 2016, but are sharing their good fortune with the single "Sometimes Accidentally".  The song is a charming little almost-love song, with vocals that will remind you of The Go-Betweens and instrumentation and melody that will remind you of The Pastels.  I think that is a smashing combination that will work on the rest of the days of the week as well.

The single is a digital release.  See links below.

The Goon Sax
Bandcamp for "Sometimes Accidentally"
Chapter Music page for "Sometimes Accidentally"

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Lizzy Mercier Descloux - Press Color

Press Color is an interesting slice of rock music history.  It also is a very good, and excitingly different, album.

In 1976 Lizzy Mercier Descloux and her then boyfriend Michel Esteban left France for the big time scene in New York City.  Working in punk rock journalism circles, as well as performance art and poetry, they made a lot of contacts, and ultimately broke up as couple while retaining an artistic relationship.  Lizzy formed the band Rosa Yemen with Michel's brother Didier and began to perform and record.  In 1979 Lizzy, Didier and two others recorded Press Color in ten days.  While a group effort, it was decided to release the album under Lizzy's name.  Her drive, and her adventurous and unconventional artistic expression made her the the natural frontwoman.  Her work was intensely visceral and rhythmic.  Words were chosen for their sounds rather than for the meaning or grammatical sense.  The arrangements often had a jazz feel, featuring Lizzy's self-taught minimalist guitar lines and danceable Afrobeat grooves.  The naive approach arguably pushes this music towards the punk rock category, but Lizzy's indomitable spirit and vivacity pull it back to no wave and experimental pop.  Listening to it for the first time is like opening a window to let fresh air into the room.

Of course, you would expect that an album like Press Color could only be found in rare used vinyl bins.  And until now, you would be correct.  But Light In The Attic Records has released an extended version of the album.  The release includes Press Color and other songs recorded by Descloux (including one with Patti Smith).  It is available as a CD or two-LP vinyl plus mp3s.

Light In The Attic Records
Light In The Attic page for release

Friday, August 28, 2015

West Thebarton Brothel Party - West Thebarton Brothel Party EP

It is the weekend, so it it time for a brothel party; specifically, time for a West Thebarton Brothel Party EP.  I learned of this band via "Misophonia", a kick ass garage anthem about the condition of not being able to tolerate certain sounds.  I then was overjoyed to discover that the song was but one of six on the debut EP from West Thebarton Brothel Party.  And although it seems to me that the referenced condition could be quite troublesome, I assure you that none of the songs will invoke the malady in any of our readers.  Loud, fuzz-soaked garage driven by multiple guitars, inspired gang percussion and on the edge vocals (a bit of Glasgow's Mummy Short Arms on that score, which is a compliment Ray), the edge-of-chaos vibe leaps from the speakers.

The EP comes out of the gate racing with the grand fuzz track "Billions".  By the time I was part way through the following "Chemotherapy", I was crediting the band, producer and engineer for creating a set of songs that captured the energy of a live performance while still providing decent fidelity.  The third song is the previously mentioned "Misophonia", which is my anthem for the summer, and thereafter until some other song manages to take it down.  "Touchy Feely" is all fuzz, noise and energy and if you can't shout, you can't play along.   "Two-Bit Loser" is a gritty blues jam that I expect is an absolute crowd-pleaser in live shows.  The EP closes with an ode to cricket player "Glenn McGrath".  And in case you are wondering, it is the kind of ode that produces smiles, not tears.  You may, however, shed tears if you don't get this record and you find yourself a bit short of appropriate music for your next party -- or your next tailgater.

And as a bit of housekeeping, if my wife is reading this I've never been to a brothel party and I have no idea who Ashley Madison is.

West Thebarton Brothel Party is out now via Mirador Records in digital and 10" vinyl formats.  Hit the Bandcamp link below for details.

Bandcamp for EP
Soundcloud for EP
Mirador Records

Acid Tongue - I Died Dreaming

Most of us probably woke up with at least four dollars that could be spent to make your day a bit brighter.  And what could make your day brighter than a four-song EP from a new band with a great sound?  (By the way, that was a rhetorical question, I really don't want to hear your perverted, sordid hopes and dreams that President Ted Cruz will probably make illegal just before the mass baptisms.)  Today's gem is I Died Dreaming from Seattle's Acid Tongue.  Leading off with your and my favorite song of the month, "Lately", the EP delivers soul-influenced retro '60s garage pop, country rock, blues rock with touches of glam and psychedelic rock.  Four guys with a great vibe going and we hope to hear more from them.

There isn't a lot of information about Acid Tongue, although it includes members of other Seattle bands Motopony, Fox and the Law, the Mama Rags and Dark Hip Falls.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

"Pop snuff-it" by Andrew R. Burns & The Tropicanas

Our dear friends at Andrew R. Burns & The Tropicanas have another tasty snack of dreamslop headed our way on October 17 via Glasgow's Flowers In The Dustbin.  You can sample the goods below with lead track "Pop snuff-it".  If you pre-order the three-track record you'll get an immediate download of the song.

Bandcamp for release
Flowers In The Dustbin

"We Go Back" by Chinah

While we still have to wait for the debut EP from Chinah, the Danish trio has given us another song to help the passage of time.  With assured vocals, rich synths and a mellow R&B vibe, "We Go Back" is my Thursday delight.  The band's label is No. 3 Records, and our coverage of their debut song is here.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

"Ui Yia Uia" by NO ZU

When faced with a decision about which elements to include in their new single, "Ui Yia Uia", NO ZU considered a menu of synths, deep funk beats, semi-human chanted vocals, horns, bass from ten fathoms deep, and various other bells and whistles.  They then said "yes" to the entire menu.  The resulting track is hard to describe, but it is easy to like.  Mysterious, funky, energizing and yes, a bit weird, it is just what the doctor ordered if you thought things were all sounding a bit alike around your homestead.  If fact, that may be your doctor grooving out in the corner over there.

The single is out via Chapter Music, which also will be releasing the bands next LP, Afterlife, early in 2016.

Facebook for NO ZU
Chapter Music page for single
Bandcamp page for single

Joey Kneiser and Kelly Smith - Live From The Standard Deluxe

Very few people reading this were at the Standard Deluxe in Waverly, Alabama on July 18 (OK, most of us have never been in Waverly at any point).  But there was some music magic in the air that night.  Joey Kneiser (mainstay of Glossary, the best heart-on-the-sleeve, booze-soaked southern rock band you may not have heard of) and Kelly Smith (also a Glossary vet and Joey's ex) decided to record a live show at The Standard Deluxe in Waverly.  While I like to choose my own words here, I'll borrow what another wrote about the event - it was capturing lightning in a bottle.  The trade off for not having a professional studio, multiple takes and computer editing is more than compensated for by the raw emotion and electric atmosphere that is evident in the record of the evening.  Two excellent performers with years of history singing together played a set of old Glossary tunes and songs from some of Joey's solo work for an appreciative audience.  Live From The Standard Deluxe is available in digital and CD formats.  See the Bandcamp or This Is American Music links below, or visit your usual digital sales outfit.  You also can stream the entire album at the Bandcamp link, which should help you decide that you need a dose of Joey, Kelly and The Standard Deluxe in your life.

The Wildness, Joey's next studio album, will be released by This Is American Music in late November, featuring Joey, Kelly and a full band.

This Is American Music page for release