Monday, February 8, 2016

Dan Stuart with the Twin Tones - Marlowe's Revenge

Cutting the back story to the essentials, this is music born of hard-earned experience in alleys, foreign cities, drug hazes, the last drip of the bottle, lost love and guiltily fulfilled lust.  Hearts and minds have been broken and repaired with duct tape, spit, false hope and pretend bravado.  Sliced to the bone, Marlowe's Revenge is rock and roll, bare and bloody but showing the will to go on.  And quite honestly, we love musical moments like this.

Dan Stuart's past includes Green On Red with Chuck Prophet and Danny & Dusty with Steve Wynn, and a long hiatus from music in which the goal was writing novels (the has been published; the second may be published soon).  His current residence is Mexico where he began writing music again and hooked up with Mexico City's Twin Tones.  The result is Marlowe's Revenge, on which Stuart and the Twin Tones bring the new songs to life, in all of their ragged glory.  Guitars twang, snarl and chug.  The vocals illustrate the twisted tales with world-weary resignation.  The Twin Tones play with the assurance, verve and respect that the material demands.  Ten songs - ten musical short stories with tears and a beating heart.  At the end of 2016 there will be lists of excellent albums that may have fallen under the radar.  If you jump on this one, there will be one less regretful surprise when you read those lists.

Dan Stuart sang and played acoustic guitar.  The Twin Tones are Gabriel Lopez (guitars/bass/keys/percussion/vocals), Dario Maldonado (guitars/vocals), Enrique Casasola (drums/percussion/vocals), Julian Huerta (keys/vocals), Israel Martinez (bass/vocals), and Alex Villa (trumpet).

Marlowe's Revenge is out now via Fluff and Gravy Records in the US and Cadiz Music in the UK.

Dan Stuart's website
Dan Stuart on Facebook
Bandcamp for Marlowe's Revenge
Twin Tones on Facebook
Fluff & Gravy Records
Green On Red website

Sunday, February 7, 2016

"Good Girls" by Bad Wave

 A new tune from Tucker Tota and Patrick Hart of Bad Wave always captures our attention.  These guys have a knack for writing a chorus that makes you want to sing along and press replay a few times.  We featured "Runaway" in early January (here).  Now they are back with "Good Girls", which like the preceding song is released by 10K Islands as part of its singles series.  Listen below, and if it moves you you can capture the good vibes at your usual digital retailer.

10k Islands

Friday, February 5, 2016

"L.U.V." by Catholic Action

Not to get all religious on everyone, but it seems to me that it is time for some Catholic Action.  There are no mandatory rites involved, although some may be prompted to dance, or at least bob the old noggin, to the somewhat garagey glam rock this Glasgow four-piece creates.  Their latest creation is "L.U.V.", which will be released on vinyl and as a digital download on March 18 via Luv Luv Luv Records.  This is a band that will go places -- get in on the action.

Luv Luv Luv Records

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Porches - Pool

Porches isn't a band that sits still.  Past albums have mined lo-fi guitar pop and Americana.  For their new LP, Pool, they offer accessible synth pop tunes with easily digestible melodies and sparkling hooks.  The straightforward and generally sweet arrangements are counterbalanced by somewhat denser, more complicated, and darker lyrical content, providing a multi-textured set of songs that are intellectually satisfying as well as aurally pleasing.  The vocals are sensitively delivered and bring the lyrics to life.  The overall effect is pop music that is both sensuous and cinematic.

Porches are Aaron Maine and Greta Kline.  Pool is released via Domino Record Company on February 5.

Bandcamp for Pool
Domino Record Company page for Pool

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

NO ZU - Afterlife

If you've ever seen old clips of Dick Clark's American Bandstand from the '60s, you'll recall that Clark would briefly interview some of the teenagers in attendance after spinning a new song, and asking them what they thought of it.  The most typical response was something equivalent to "I like it - it has a good beat and I can dance to it".  One wonders what those interviewees, probably in their 70s at this point, would make of Melbourne's NO ZU, because NO ZU is all about the beat.  And NO ZU's beat music is earthy, exotic, sexy, inventive -- they call it 'heat beat' -- and not very much like the music Dick Clark played.

How different? I'm glad you asked, because it is time to find out for yourself.  This Friday, February 5, Chapter Music will release Afterlife, containing eight tracks of NO ZU's polyrhythmic global music, emphasizing percussion and completely club-ready.  And riding the percussion are distinctive male/female vocals, jazzy frills and funk horns.  It most probably is like nothing you've heard before, but chances are it will end up on your permanent playlist.

Of course, we wouldn't suggest you buy without trying the goods, so we've included some clips below.  And we strongly suggest the wonderfully bizarre video for standout song "Ui Yia Uia".  You may decide to buy this album just to have that song and a couple of others available for your party mix.  You won't be the only one.

NO ZU are Nicolaaas Oogjes, Andrew Noble, Adrian Vecino, Mitch McGregor, Daphne Camf, Kieran O'Shea, Cayn Borthwick, and Becky Sui Zhen.  Additional credits go to Nao Anzai, Adrian Tregonning, Sal Principato, Maria Minerva, Margarita Strateas, and Luke Hodgson, presumably because you can never have too many people contributing to your heat beat.  And given the results, who can argue?

Bandcamp for Afterlife
Chapter Music page for Afterlife

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

"Ran Out Of Love" by Paltsa-Kai Salama (free download)

We've been happy to feature the recordings of Finnish band Black Lizard on several occasions (features for Solarize, and self-titled debut), as we are fans of their brand of psychedelic shoegaze.  But today's post is to introduce the solo work of one of Black Lizard's members, Paltsa-Kai Salama.  As is the case with Black Lizard, Salama is signed to Helsinki label Soliti Music.  His first single is "Ran Out Of Love", and it reveals a very different approach than Black Lizard.  A sunny, upbeat acoustic tune with a '70s country-influenced approach that may remind the listener of The Grateful Dead, it has been one of my most pleasant discoveries of the week.  And it is available as a free download.  Life is good!

And for those of you who are hungry, here is a link to a video of Salama demonstrating how to cook a vegan "ham" with "Ran Out Of Love" as the soundtrack.  Of course, you could cook the dish without the song, but why would you want to do that?

Soundcloud for "Ran Out Of Love"
Soliti Music page for Paltsa Kai Salama

Friday, January 29, 2016

Halfsour - Tuesday Night Live

Tuesday Night Live tickles my inner music lover like few albums debut albums.  It jangles, buzzes and snarls.  It discusses the confusions, frustrations and anxieties of young adults, but does it with a casual delivery that underscores the implicit understanding that it likely will all work out, but if it doesn't the worries will be different tomorrow anyway.  It doesn't hide its ragged edges, but doesn't display false pride in them either.  The creators, Boston's Halfsour, are DIY realists in the finest tradition of Guided By Voices, the band whose lyric provided the name for this blog.  And that makes sense when you learn that the band's beginnings were as a GBV cover band.  But this trio carves their own path, gravitating to concise, punk-inflected garage pop tunes with sardonic delivery and blasts of energy.  A younger, slacker GBV?  A Beat Happening on speed?  You decide.  Check out the streams below and take the whole album out of the garage for a test drive below.  I expect you'll like it.  For my money, it is a prime example of why this blog avoids major label releases and looks for indie gems.

 Tuesday Night Live is out today on Jigsaw Records in digital, vinyl and CD formats.  See the links below for your choice.  Baltimore label Nebraskan Coast offers the album on cassette.  And yes, I know that this is successive days for a Jigsaw release.  But the label tends to batch its releases and Animal Daydream and Halfsour have both earned contemporaneous recognition for their art.

Halfsour are Zoe, Ina and Matt.

Jigsaw Records page for LP and CD
Bandcamp page for Tuesday Night Live (digital/LP/CD)
Bandcamp for prior releases

Philco Fiction - Talk/Brag

Talk/Brag is an album of ambition, with songs that touch on the interior/spiritual and the dance floor, with neo soul and gospel elements adorning a platform constructed with bountiful bass and flashes of horns.  If you are an electro-pop fan, this is going to be one of your most welcome releases of the new year.  But even if you aren't ordinarily drawn to the genre, I think you will find Talk/Brag to be a very rewarding record.

The album is the creation of Philco Fiction, the Oslo Norway duo of Turid Alida Solberg and Andreas Lønmo Knudsrød.  Our first introduction was via showcase song "Runimals" - a soulful triumph that any band would be happy to leave as their aural calling card.  The title track is an playful and appealing pop song that translates well to the dance floor.  "Bodies" merges R&B with '80s synth pop.  But those are just a few of the highlights.  For example, "Hold Your Breath" is a sleek and slinky gem that could be a single.  Talk/Brag is both smooth as polished steel and burning with emotion.  Dance the night away!

Talk/Brag is out today via Killing Moon Records.

Killing Moon Records