We live for up-tempo guitar pop, and right now Melbourne's Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever are creating some of the best up-tempo guitar pop on the planet. This may strike you as a surprising claim about a band that has just dropped their debut LP. But we have seen this band live, we have worn out the electrons on their previous EPs, and we have had that new album - Hope Downs - blasting out of our speakers for a couple of months, so we are confident in our assessment. Hooks, passionate songwriting and able performances are in abundance here, with a consistency that demonstrates the value of having three songwriters on the roster. Those songwriters, Fran Keaney, Tom Russo, and Joe White, are joined by Joe Russo and Marcel Tussie. The songs adroitly walk the line between urgency and pleasure, with robust but breezy arrangements, just as the guitars alternate among jangling, chunky and spiky riffs. Lyrically, the album addresses the uncertainties and fears of the current state of the world (the album title is taken from the name of a large open pit mine, the edge of which invites you to stare down into the abyss), but rarely has disillusionment been presented in such warm, inviting colors. In our view, this is a fantastic opening LP from a promising band, but most importantly for all of you, it is an album you will never regret adding to your collection.
Some Mondays are consumed by doing what we need to do the eat and put a roof over our head, and this is one of those Mondays. But we can't ignore our self-imposed obligation to bring you some fine music. So here is "The Falls" by Tucson, Arizona musician Nic Pool. His voice is soulful, and the beat delightful. We hope there is more to come.
If you are a fan of jangle pop with plenty of fuzz, you will be thrilled to explore the catalog of The Catherines. It is the project of Hamburg, Germany's Heiko Schneider, who offers us classic melodies, bittersweet (and often amusing) lyrics, and arch song titles, all packaged in one or two track digital singles. Listen to some streams below, and then go to Bandcamp and explore some more. It may make you late for a meeting or keep you up late, but life is to be lived.
D.A. Stern (whose mom probably knows him as Daniel Aaron Stern of New Jersey) has DNA that matches pretty well with pop genius Harry Nilsson, and probably has plenty of similarity with Lennon/McCartney, Brian Wilson, and the ghosts of the Brill Building. Now living in Los Angeles, the man is churning out music that simply demands listening. He released full album Aloha Hola in 2017, but it only got limited traction in an increasingly crowded music world. Fortunately for Daniel, and us, Slumberland has re-released Aloha Hola and Daniel's 2018 four track single Isn't It Obvious? So you now can have your very own D.A. Stern collection.
You man have gotten out of bed this morning unaware of the delights of Stern's music, but now you need it in your life. "Isn't It Obvious?"
Friday has arrived at WYMA headquarters, so it is time to test candidates for weekend beverage consumption (this is scientific research, people, don't scoff) and pick some weekend music. A trending candidate is Turn Around Or by Super 8. Not only is the name of the band evocative of road trips, conjuring motels, gas stations, or motels with an adjacent gas station, but the songs on Turn Around Or suggest parties, good times, and weekend beverages. The man behind the Super 8 mask is Trip, who also is known as Paul Ryan. But if we had a name that risked us being mistaken for the emasculated Speaker of the US House of Representatives, we would choose a stage name as well, and Trip works just fine.
Turn Around Or is packed with scrappy indie nuggets that should have you bouncing all weekend long. The songwriting is tight, the arrangements are bold, and there are enough hooks to prompt envy in Big Star. Trip's performance has the grit and panache that we want in a frontman. And it should be noted that while Trip did most of the work himself, he had help from the likes of Nick Bertling, Bill Philips, Owen Hodgson, and Sunnie Larson. Picking representative songs from among this consistent menu could have been done with darts, but we manned up and made four selections. Trip composed all except "Serious Drugs", the BMX Bandits standout penned by Scots heroes Duglas Stewart, Norman Blake and Joe McAlinden. This man is prolific as well as talented, as it is his second release in 2018.
Turn Around Or is out now in CD and digital formats via Futureman Records.
You may be one of the music lovers who is not familiar with Virginia Wing, and if you are such a person you may wonder why your go-to blogs and zines are spending precious pixels discussing the Manchester band's new album, Ecstatic Arrow. We could be snarky and suggest that you read one or more of those blogs or zines to fine out, but since you are here we will offer you a more constructive suggestion - stream the songs below, realize that the album will enrich your life, and go to Bandcamp and buy the album while streaming it in its full glory. In our opinion, Ecstatic Arrow is a synthpop triumph, echoing the genre's glory days of the '80s and burnishing them for modern days. Core members Alice Merida Richards and Samuel Pillay, with able collaborators (including XAM Duo's Christopher Duffin on sax), have created music that is incisive, inventive and entertaining. While the lyrics can be serious, the arrangements are light filled and uplifting. Virginia Wing's previous recordings were always interesting and worth exploring, but after listening to Ecstatic Arrow, those efforts seem like practice for the big game, and the new album is the first team showing their stuff, full game face in place.
Ecstatic Arrow is out now in digital, CD, LP, and deluxe LP (with zine and poster) via Fire Records.
There have been a number of good bands coming out of Spain in the past few years, and we have discovered yet another one -- Martes Niebla. Comprised of Cristian, Davis, Erica, Ines, and Paco, they are based in Seville, Spain. The band's sweet spot is a muscular shoegaze with dream pop elements. Their debut self-titled EP includes four songs, three with Spanish lyrics and one, "Marble", with English lyrics. While melodic, the songs have a palpable authority and invite repeated listens. Martes Niebla is available now as a digital download for 'name your price'. This is the best deal of the day, folks.