Jófríður Ákadóttir became known to the music world as a member of Samaris, Gangly and Pascal Pinon, but she also works solo as JFDR. Her deft combination of arresting vocals, evocative wordplay and delicate soundscapes was well-showcased on her recent album, Brazil. Today we bring you the video for one of the album tracks, "Destiny Is Upon Us".
When some people hear the term "synth pop", their assumption is that the music will be sweet, a bit fey, and probably blandly canned like a lot of mainstream pop. Well, that may accurately describe some of the synth pop they encounter in the daytime, but tonight we are welcoming them to the nightshift. Or, specifically, to Nightshift, the latest album from Johan Angergard in his guise as The Legends. This synth pop is a knife's edge wrapped in velvet, made for late nights, dark clubs, frenetic dancing, sweaty encounters, passionate clinches, and assignations made and broken. And throughout, Angergard wields his synths like a ninja wields his knives -- big strokes, little stabs, deft cuts, feints, and the killer thrusts, each precisely and the moment requires. Like the costumes and makeup denizens of the night employ to create an image, Angergard processes the sounds, fattening the bass, stretching the percussion hits, and running the vocals through a vocoder.
In different hands, all the electronic wizardry could become a distraction. But in Angergard's hands the focus remains on the songs, and like the sweet hooks and melodies, everything is done in service to making the best possible songs. And to add depth, and a bit of sugar to sweeten the mix, The Legends enlist guest vocals from Kristina Borg (Red Sleeping Beauty), Elin Berlin (Eternal Death), and Maria Usbeck. Nightshift is generous in length, and generous and adventurous in spirit. It should fill your nights well into the summer.
My favorite songs are "Summer In The City", "In Love With Myself", "Space Jam", and the haunting "Cocaine".
Nightshift is out now via Labrador Records. You can even play it in the daytime.
Froyo capture the emotions of young romance -- the good, and the less good -- and wrap it into the kind of nugget that brings us back for more. Their latest gem is "Darling", dreamy by still substantial, it is a great way to start your Sunday.
The members of the band are Michael, Allyson, Sonia, and Tom, and they are based in Sydney.
Rips could be your favorite new guitar band. Based in Brooklyn and channeling local heroes of the past such as The Feelies and Television, the quartet offers buzzing guitars and a robust rhythm section driving uncompromising rock that is both tough and smart. Their debut album will be available in June via Faux Discx, but you can experience the rough charm on "Malibu Entropy" below.
It is said that man does not live by bread alone. Of course, that is a correct statement, because if you have bread, you need butter. This shouldn't be in the least bit controversial. So consider the self-titled album from Seattle's Bread & Butter to be your perfectly balanced comfort food. It is ten tracks of crunchy, hook-filled rock and roll. This is the kind of stuff that formed the backbone of indie rock in the '79s and every decade since, withstanding changing fads and not so much defying the charts as simply not giving a damn about them. These songs radiate sunshine and chug along with a friendly swagger. Be warned, when you start consuming Bread & Butter, it is almost impossible to stop.
The members of Bread & Butter are Shane Herrell (vocals/bass), Ryan Kraft (guitar), Lars Swenson (guitar), and Mason Lowe (drums). The album is released by Seattle's Killroom Records. See the Bandcamp link for details.
What are teenagers these days up to? Well, if we focus on Isabelle Fields, Eva Chambers, and Anastasia Sanchez, they are up to some very good things. These LA teenagers form the band Pinky Pinky, and they are one of the most refreshing new acts I've heard this year. You can be forgiven not having heard of them before, because their self-titled EP, which is out today via Innovative Leisure, is their first record, and they've never toured because two of the members are still in high school. But with the release of Pinky Pinky and the upcoming graduations, you can hope that will change.
Opening song "Ram Jam" takes '60s retro and surf pop, washes it in dark tones, and then tosses it in your face with attitude. Perhaps none of those elements are new, but the combination and execution here deserve accolades. Next up is "Hot Under The Habit", a surging post punk tune with a dominant bass line. "Spiders" has a bit of a middle eastern surf vibe reminiscent of regional guitar hero Dick Dale. The EP closes with my second favorite song on the EP, the California-country shaded "Nest" (a cover of an old song written by Darby Slick). This EP is a tasty treat indeed -- it sounds great and promises great stuff in the future from this trio. Enjoy a couple of tracks below, and hit the Bandcamp link for a full stream and ordering information.
The Shakers are from Southwest London and consist of friends and cousins Jack Hawkins (vocals/guitar), George Service (guitar/synth), Matthew Wright (drums), Charlie Gardner (bass), and Christian Spruit (guitar). Their infectious sound combines '70s guitar rock with funk-oriented bass and drums, resulting in a style of indie rock with a groove that hits our buttons in the right sequence. The latest single from the band is "Banana Tsunami!", which is out now via Infinity Cactus Records. Enjoy below, and then check your favorite digital retailer. You can check out other songs from The Shakers at the Soundcloud link at the bottom of this post.
I recently told a friend that one Mikey Young, of Melbourne, Australia, has had a greater involvement in music on this blog than anyone else in music. My friend wondered how this is possible, given the blog is named after a song from the prolific Robert Pollard of Guided by Voices, is based in the US, and covers a large amount of music from the UK, Europe, and North America, in addition to music from Australasia. I explained that the answer is that he not only plays in bands that attract our attention, such as Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Ooga Boogas and Total Control, but he has produced, mixed and/or mastered many albums that have featured on these pages. And that conversation is quite a coincidence, because Mikey is releasing a solo synth pop album titled Your Move Vol. 1 in June via Moniker Records, and we have the first single here to stream.
By the way, Mikey's album is one of a series of synth pop albums by different artists that will be released by Moniker in the ensuing months. The unusual name has an interesting explanation. Each artist will make a move on a chess board when the artist's album is released. Then Moniker will make a move, followed by the next artist, and so on. There is no word on whether ESPN will cover the match.
We've long been fans of the gentle and experimental psychedelic folk offered by New York's Woods. With that as background, we have to say that Love Is Love is our favorite Woods album in some time. The rhythms are pronounced, and the band has expanded its use of horns to good effect. Normally, I wouldn't be enthusiastic about a ten minute instrumental in the middle of a thirty-three minute album, but that "Spring is in the Air" is and exception helps underscore our fascination with Love Is Love. Departing from the psychedelic folk of its companion tracks, "Spring is in the Air" is a measured foray into synth, horn and percussion dub that I think would win approving nods from King Tubby or Lee Perry.
Most of the tracks are seemingly simple, but the consistent chord patterns, reverbed production and thoughtful atmospherics enhance the themes of the nature of love and the search for commonality. Bristling with emotions ranging from disappointment and uncertainty to hope and optimism, the music is invariably bright and promising. Born of the disappointments of the recent past, it directs our eyes toward the future.
Woods are Jeremy Earl (vocals/guitar/percussion), Jarvis Taveniere (bass/guitar), Aaron Neveu (drums/percussion), John Andrews (piano/organ/wurlitzer), Alec Spiegelman (sax/flute), and Cole Kamen-Green (trumpet). Love Is Love is released via Woodsist as of April 21 for digital and May 19 for vinyl.
Thu-May-18 Los Angeles, CA @ The Teragram Ballroom Fri-May-19 San Diego, CA @ The Casbah Sat-May-20 Fresno, CA @ Strummer's Sun-May-21 San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel Wed-May-24 Vancouver, BC @ The Cobalt Thu-May-25 Victoria, BC @ Copper Owl Fri-May-26 Seattle, WA @ Sunset Tavern
"Reference Books" starts out smoldering, and then bursts into a full conflagration. In my view, it is one of the best songs yet from Edinburgh's Mt. Doubt. The song is the second single from the band's upcoming The Loneliness of the TV Watchers EP, which will be released on Scottish Fiction Records on June 2. This is dark pop with substance and no pretense. Enjoy!
We started the day with the cool electropop, disco-flavored grooves of Lovespeake, but we end it with excitement of another kind. Here are The Cherries, a San Francisco quartet that makes the sort of full-on, forward push garage pop that, quite frankly, we live for here at WYMA World Headquarters. Self Titled 2 is lo fi and high energy, with all four members singing. The songs range from crunching indie rock to surf pop to a few dialed back tracks to song fragments, with 17 offerings spread over 32 minutes. Take a deep breath and hang on, it is a great ride!
Self Titled 2 is out now in CD and digital formats via Jigsaw Records. See the Bandcamp link below for details.
I expect that if we surveyed our readers and asked them to associate certain words with countries, "sunshine" and "Norway" would not be a dominant pairing. We're here today to tell you that such results may be 'fake news', because the electro pop of Norway's Lovespeake is the perfect soundtrack for the emerging Spring weather and glorious rays of, yes, sunshine. The Sandvika-based six member band has released one album, titled DNA, as well as a number of singles. This is unapologetically feel good music, warm and pulsing with plenty of pop and bubbling rhythms. Their latest offering it "Novocaine", that just might make you put on your disco clothes. And to double your pleasure they have added Austin, Texas' Max Frost.
Lovespeake is Alexander Pavelich, Andrew Murray, Stian Aasen, Christian Balvig, Teodor Dysthe Lyngstad, and Martin Kaasa. The band's music is released via Toothfairy.
Los Campesinos! aren't interested in musical trends. That band we got to know in the last decade (with a bit of line-up shuffling) still believes in the power of their brand of punk pop. So on their new album, Sick Scenes, the energy is high, and the melodies sweet. And no one is a bigger believer in the redemptive power of a sing-along chorus. But while the vocal inflection still tends towards the bratty side, and lyrics have a telling bite, this album also includes songs more contemplative in tone and pace. And as good as this band is in dishing out the pop punk, it is the promise of the new style mixed in with the old that promises Los Campesinos! will continue to entertain us in this decade.
Los Campesinos! are Tom, Kim, Gareth, Matt, Rob, Neil, and Jason. Sick Scenes is out now via Wichita Recordings.
Well, I must say this little gem rocks in all the right ways. I'm not surprised -- when Seattle quartet Bod's past/other projects include Oberhofer, EZTV, Telekinesis, Sloucher, Crater, and Boat, you know that there will be an abundance of rock and pop talent to fill every nook and cranny of every song. Perhaps the result is power pop, but it is power pop with big muscles and loud crunchy guitars borrowed from the '90s. And there is the sly Seattle music industry humor as well, with songs titled "Fleetwood Zach" (in honor of member Zach Dimmick?), "Jet Ski", and "Fake Cinnamon", a 33 bit of barely audible ambient sound preceding title track "True Cinnamon". But make no mistake, in the four true songs on this EP Bod firmly establishes their chops for psychedelic garage, post punk, power pop and '90s alt rock, with plenty of hooks and harmonies riding the waves of guitars, drums and synths. Is this what the kids are calling rock these days? Well, then, give us more of it.
Bod is Jonathan Angle, Zach Dimmick, Lance Umble, and Ben Roth. True Cinnamon, the band's second EP, is out now as a digital download or double 7" vinyl via Tacoma's Swoon Records. Happily, the band is working on a full length.