Wednesday, August 15, 2018

"Cactus Country" by Cool Sounds

You know what it is like when you get up in the morning after a wildly successful romantic encounter, shower, put on clean clothes, and walk down the street toward your favorite coffee shop.  The sun is warming your face, the people and dogs are friendly, and the birds are singing.  You don't have to work today and life is good.  Well, that is what listening to "Cactus Country" sounds like -- the sound of a morning that makes life so worthwhile.  So of course, we have listened to the song approximately 3,009.5 times since it dropped in our box yesterday (the fraction represents the fact that the song remains on repeat here).

The summery, soulful gem is the creation of the Melbourne band Cool Sounds, whose name choice is just about perfect.  The members of the band are Dainis Lacey, Nick Kearton, Ambrin Hasnain, Lauren Huynh, Steve Foulkes, Jack Nichols, and Liam "Snowy" Halliwell.  And to pile on great news, the song is the title track for their album, which will be released October 26 via Osborne Again Music.

Label page to pre-order album

"Starlight City" by New Silver Girl

We are conflicted.  We don't want summer to leave us (although the forest fire haze could blow away anytime soon, thank you very much), but we want a little bit of October to be here right now.  Which part of October?  Well, you probably are thinking of Octoberfest, but that isn't the right answer.  While we are quite fond of the brew, we are thinking of the debut album from Finland's New Silver Girl, which is coming via Soliti Music in a couple of months.  And to justify our conflict, we offer the video version of the "Starlight City", the second track from the album shared by the band.  The song is a eminently danceable jolt of glam-inflected rock and roll, and we think it fully justifies our anticipation of the album.

New Silver Girl are Olli Happonen, Samuli Sulku, Ilmo Cantell, and Niilo Suihko.

Soliti Music

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Ophelias - Almost

Darkly shaded themes swathed in bright art rock and related in delicious harmonies are the order of the day on Almost, the second album by Cincinnati's The Ophelias.  The quartet get the balance just right, and aided by the unconventional deployment of a violin, as well as keys, bass, percussion and guitar, the ten songs present a fresh take on pop music.  And while the band never disguises the serious themes (what would one expect from a band named after a character in Shakespeare's Hamlet?), these ten songs seem to be lighter than air and listening to them is like being surrounded by a sparkly mist.  And that experience is as good as it sounds -- give it a try.

The Ophelias are Spencer Peppet (guitar/vocals/songwriting), Grace Weir (bass), Andrea Gutmann-Fuentes (violin/piano), and Micaela Adams (drums).  Almost is out now in digital and vinyl formats via Joyful Noise Recordings.

Bandcamp for Almost

Monday, August 13, 2018

"Meeting Halfway" by School Damage

Melbourne's School Damage consists of Carolyn Hawkins, Dani Damage, Jeff Raty, and Jake Robertson.  At the end of this month they are hitting us with their second album, titled A to Z, but they aren't going to make us wait until then to give us a hint of what they have been cooking.  So treat your ears to "Meeting Halfway", a nice slice of the band's trademark woozy DIY pop.  And you can treat your eyes, as well, with the stop-animation video created by School Damage's Carolyn.

A to Z will be released in vinyl, CD, and digital formats by Chapter Music.

Links to pre-order A to Z
Chapter Music

Four Band Comp

Album titles don't come more descriptive than Four Band Comp which, as you no doubt have guessed, is a compilation of songs from four bands.  The underlying concept is simple genius.  Take four bands critical to the late Sarah Records, and include two previously unreleased songs from each.  The chosen worthies are Even As We Speak, Secret Shine, Boyracer, and Action Painting!.  Showcasing the variety, as well as the quality of the label, they bring indie pop, dream pop, and punk.  The UK was treated to a joint tour by the bands in July, but everyone in the world can own this record. And they probably should.

Bandcamp for album

Sunday, August 12, 2018

"Roll It Out (feat. M.anifest)" by Iris Gold

Iris Gold is a London-based Danish singer of Jamaican and Indian ancestry.  Her latest single is "Roll It Out", with a featured performance by Ghanaian artist M.anifest.  Upbeat, positive, and proud, it is well worth our time.


Friday, August 10, 2018

"A Song About Holding Hands" by Gregor

Melbourne has more than its share of rock and guitar pop bands, and we've been happy to expose our readers to many of them.  But we would be remiss in not bringing to your attention the talented, unabashed pop eccentric known as Gregor.  His new album Silver Drop will come in October via home town label Chapter Music, but we has a first listen -- "A Song About Holding Hands".  The song has an early '80s new romantics feel, and is as sincere and charming as the title suggests.

Bandcamp for Silver Drop
Chapter Music page to pre-order Silver Drop

"Baby I Want You" by Alessio Peck

We continue celebrating Friday with the rocking delights of "Baby I Want You" by Alessio Peck.  Peck resides in Paris, although he has worked with Seattle/New York band Acid Tongue.  You can have a free download of this strutting gem by signing up for Alessio's mailing list on his website.  Seems like a great deal to us.


"Seasons" by Natvrals

Today's first feature is "Seasons" by Spanish electronic duo Natvrals.  The track is taken from their debut EP, Loss Is Change.  Featuring swirling synths and dominant bass, it is a terrific start to our day. 

The band consists of Arturo and Gabriel, who reside in Madrid.


Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Beths - Future Me Hates Me

We know what your first question will be -- how many Beths are there in The Beths?  According to our crack research team, the answer is one Beth (also known as Elizabeth Stokes), and several deputy Beths -- Jonathan Pearce, Benjamin Sinclair, and Ivan Luketina-Johnston.  Based on the quality of music they create, it seems to us that the band has intuitively arrived at the perfect number of Beths (this opinion is limited to music; we don't offer relationship advice when sober so we have no opinion on whether this number of Beths in your life would be appropriate for romantic purposes).

That important point sorted, cue music.  The Beths' new album, Future Me Hates Me, is the sort of poppy indie rock that fuels our days.  The arrangements are lean and uncomplicated, leaving the spotlight on melodies, hooks and lyrics.  The themes are reflective and, at times serious and melancholy, but the music is punchy, propulsive and even euphoric, and glazed with a bit of sugar.  Stokes is a talented and versatile vocalist and hits the right emotional inflection on each track.  This is a triple threat album, satisfying the brain, the heart, and the feet in equal measure.

Future Me Hates Me is out on August 10 in digital, vinyl and CD formats via Carpark Records.

Carpark Records page for album

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Cuddly Shark - Cuddly Shark

Mid-week, hump day, only half way to the weekend -- how do we jump start our morning?  Glasgow cowpunk, that's how!  OK, Cuddly Shark, the new album by the band of the same name, isn't all cowpunk, but it has a thick vein of that style.  More broadly, it is an indie rock album with plenty of punk style.  However, Cuddly Shark is happy throw into the grinder whatever seems useful (a bit of gypsy on "La Barba"?).  The lead vocals are often deadpan talk-sing, but the choruses invite everyone to sing along.  The lyricism is quirky but very appealing, and often shaded with bittersweet or ironic humor.  The performances heavily lean towards the up-tempo keep-the-patrons-dancing end of the spectrum, but penultimate track "Move On" displays a deft touch with the country ballad.  We suggest you give this album a chance, and experience just how cuddly misunderstood sharks can be.

The band consists of Colin Reid (vocals/guitar), Ruth Forsyth (bass/vocals), and Jason Sinclair (drums/vocals).  The band was formed in the Highlands, but now resides in Glasgow.  Cuddly Shark is their third album, and is out now in digital and CD formats via Armellodie Records.

And a cover of Jonathan Richman:

Page for purchase/stream of Cuddly Shark
Armellodie Records