Good dreampop provides a soundtrack for visualizing someone else's well conceived version of a dream. It seems to us that Joe Stevens of Peel Dream Magazine takes a deeper dive and puts the listener in the dream. Our first taste of his approach was his album of a couple years ago, Modern Meta Physic. The new Agitprop Alterna further refines the in-dream approach. Just as our dreams give us scenes from our lives, or from our imagination, manipulated or skewed and then only partially remembered, Peel Dream Magazine gives us songs reflecting music from the '90s, altered, spliced, and blurred as if the listener is hearing a playback of the remembered portions of last night's dream. Pleasant memories will be evoked, but not always distinctly. Best not to overthink it, just go with the flow. And make no mistake, the beating heart of this album is a dreamy flow embellished by sweetly-sung male/female vocals. For prospective fans desirous of a reference point, consider Stereolab with a good dose of Velvet Underground influence. A very intriguing and pleasant listen that we keep going back to.
For this album Peel Dream Magazine are Joe Stevens, Jo-Anne Hyun, Brian Alvarez, and Kelly Winrich. Agitprop Alterna is out now via Slumberland Records.
Liam "Snowy" Halliwell's musical chops are beyond question. Writing and performing with The Ocean Party and other bands, producing, mixing and mastering -- he excels at it all. And now his own baby, Snowy Band, has its very own album. Titled Audio Commentary, the LP consists of 11 tracks of impeccably crafted pop, embracing folk and jazz elements. Unsurprisingly, the uptempo songs such as "Never Change", "The Rest of Your Life" and "More Than Enough" hit the sweet spot immediately. But equally impressive and very satisfying are the sparsely adorned, quieter songs like "East West", my new favorite "Coast Road", and the superb "Love You To Death". The emotions are raw and palpable, and the band delivers the materials with nuance and skill. Moreover, Snowy plays the sax on "Coast Road", which makes it one of our favorites. We have provided two of each below for your own evaluation, but be assured we could have chosen others.
Snowy could have played it safe and offered up 11 delectable pop tunes. He didn't, and that enriches the rest of us. The album is a triumph.
Snowy Band are Liam Halliwell (vocals/guitar/other), Emma Russack (vocals/guitar), Nathalie Pavlovic (vocals/bass), and Dylan Young (vocals/drums). Audio Commentary is out now via Osborne Again and Spunk Records.
We love UK guitar pop, and we love dogs. So we think that Jetstream Pony is a perfect band for tonight's feature. This four piece is named after a retired racing greyhound. Fortunately for our ears, the members have not yet retired. They have featured here several times in the past, but are back for the special announcement that their debut LP is being pressed, and to share the first single therefrom -the terrific opener, "It's Fine".
Jetstream Pony are Beth Arzy, Shaun Charman, Kerry Boettcher, and Hannes Muller. The album will be released May 22 via Shelflife Records and Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten.
The DIY label sticks to The Hannah Barberas with the ferocity that we pretend characterized all our old girlfriends devotion to us when we are bragging to each other instead of writing about music (keep that between us - our partners don't need to know). And I guess it is accurate, but don't assume that DIY means that this London band is anything other than a talented, purposeful guitar band. Following the footsteps of many beloved '80s guitar bands and wielding sharp lyrical pens, the band rides enthusiastic musicianship and excellent harmonies straight into our hearts. Whether railing about politics, or examining romantic entanglements, the songs are well paced and the sound robust. We've provided a few of our favorites below, but deliberately let off gems such as the angry anti-royalty "What Are You Celebrating?" and the '60s British Invasion style "No Mystery". Why? Because we want to entice you to go to Bandcamp, fall in love with the album, and buy it. We really are that transparent.
The Hannah Barberas are Damien (guitar/vocals), Lucy (vocals), Ian (bass/vocals), and Matthew (drums/vocals). Into The Wild is out today in digital, CD, cassette and vinyl formats via Subjangle, Sinout Nuggets, and Gazer Tapes.
Yes, it is still over two weeks before the new Kluster B album is released via Rama Lama Records. But we have yet another single to tease us. "Graveyard' starts as a pop tune, but shifts to rock mode about a minute in. But don'e get settled, because the cute pop tune returns. Then the rock section repeats (and we are only halfway to the finish!). We float through the finish with a bit more pop. It is a fun ride, and probably should go for twice the price.
Kluster B are Sebastian Hegedus (guitar), Adam Jonsson (guitar), Pontus Ornstrand (keys/synth/bass), Andreas Pollak (drums), and Linnea Hall (vocals). Their music is released via Rama Lama Records.
We have proudly featured a number of releases by Chicago's Sunday Records, and here is another we regard as very special. Aptly titled Shelter, it is a compilation consisting of seven songs by artists who have releases out on the label. And Sunday is making the record available for free digital download to help you pass time sheltering in place.
We suggest that you take Sunday up on the kind offer and download the album. But if you like the tunes, note the links on the Bandcamp page to the artist's own albums. Check those out and perhaps you will find some new favorite albums.
Upbeat, good-natured tunes to entertain us while staying at home and maintaining social distancing? Right here, right now with Head Sounds by Super 8. The project of UK musician and songwriter Paul Ryan, Super 8 crafts melodic, upbeat songs that infuse our days with fun and sunshine. This album consists of nine of Paul's own songs recorded over the past year, plus a cover each of a John Lennon tune and a Brian Wilson tune. He does justice to both covers, but we were drawn more to the original material. Three of our favorites are below, but we encourage you to find your own bliss at the Bandcamp link.
Head Sounds is available now in CD and digital formats via Subjangle.
There is no musical direction that Amalie Bruun could take that would surprise us, and no musical genre that she would fail to master. Her roster of projects includes black metal, electronic, pop, rock and folk. But our favorite Bruun guise is her Nordic folk recordings as Myrkur (a name she also uses for black metal recordings). Her latest record for that project is Folkesange. Playing Nordic folk with Gothic and Celtic shadings in some tracks, some classical choral elements and employing traditional Scandinavian instruments, she had created an album of exceptional beauty and emotional resonance, and has completely captivated our ears. We humbly suggest that you need this in your lives.
The album was produced by traditional European folk musician Christopher Juul. Folkesange is out now in digital, vinyl and CD formats.