Saturday, May 10, 2014

REVIEW: Watoo Watoo - Une Si Longue Attente

We at WYMA tirelessly cast our suave cosmopolitan eyes … um …. ears over the landscape looking for good and interesting music.  We also have a soft spot for the cute and endearing.  Where these lines intersect is at Une Si Longue Attente, the delightful springtime musical breeze from from married French couple Pascale and Michael Korchia (with help from some friends), performing as Watoo Watoo. With doses of synth pop, jangle pop, cabaret and twee, and echoes of Belle & Sebastian, Stereolab, Galaxie 500, Serge Gainsbourg, movie soundtracks and Francois Hardy, this is bright pop that will put a bounce in your step and, quite possibly, a bit of sex allure in your sigh.  Une Si Longue Attente band's fourth full length album and, in my view, suggests that if the elevator car on the album cover represents their career, it is going up, not down.

Nine of the ten tracks are sung in French by the lovely Pascale, but I suspect that those of us who struggle with French won't mind a bit.  While Pascale handles the cooing, Michael creates the music and plays most of the instruments.  The quality of their connection and artistic pairing is evident in the result.  The songs are cinematic, and you can imagine them as backdrop for scenes of happy couples.  When you began reading you probably didn't know that you need this album for the sake of your mental health.  That is understandable -- I didn't know I needed it until I started listening.  But it is Saturday morning and I've listened to it two more times while writing this review, and I'm convinced that this is going to be a good day.

This pop gem was created in Bordeaux, France, but comes to us from Seattle's Jigsaw Records.  You can stream the entire album at Jigsaw's Bandcamp page, which is linked below.  The album is out now.  In fact, it has been out since early this year, but I had assumed that the French culture ministry required aging for all French products before marketing -- or is that only for wine?

Jigsaw Records page for album
Bandcamp for album

Friday, May 9, 2014

REVIEW: Mac DeMarco - Salad Days

Part woozy, summer beach psychedelic pop, part contemplative Lennon/McCartney, part soft rock, part house-party balladeer, and 100 percent authentic Mac DeMarco, Salad Days offers a full meal of laid back, idiosyncratic summer tunes. The young Canadian's guitar work is adept, distinctive and mellow, adding a playful foundation for his lyrics.  The latter vary between wry, sincere and even romantic, but the vibe is never too intense to handle.  In terms of songwriting and arrangements, while Mac remains Mac, there is evidence that while engaged in an ambitious touring schedule and following a slave-driving muse, there has been a little time for maturity to seep in.  And with some of the youthful rough edges and prankster urges sanded down, a bit more of the brilliance shows through.

The songs are bright, well-constructed, eminently accessible, and deceptively rich.  A couple of tracks are provided below for your evaluation.  Other favorites of mine include the title track and "Goodbye Weekend".   While Mac himself reportedly isn't fond of "Let Her Go", it also is a very good song.  My favorite times for this album have been sunny weekend mornings, and mild evenings on the patio.  And guests in the latter venue have been uniformly appreciative of this set of songs.  I submit, however, that looking beyond current enjoyment, this is an album that I anticipate wanting to turn to for a very long time.  And unless I'm wrong (for the second or third time in my life, depending on scoring systems), Mac is the kind of guy who will be able to deliver very satisfying music for a long time.

Salad Days is out now via Captured Tracks.

Captured Tracks

VIDEOS: Cheatahs feature acoustic versions of "Fall" and "Kenworth", tour dates

The Cheatahs, whose terrific album we reviewed here earlier this year, recorded a couple of acoustic duet performances at a recent stop in France. Given that their appeal to me is largely based on layers of sound, built-up vocal harmonies and guitars, I will admit I wasn't sure how well acoustic versions would go over. But they are terrific - with two acoustic guitars and two voices, the vocals and the songs' melodies really shine. Here's "Fall":

Here's "Kenworth":

And just in case the earlier review and tracks we posted didn't close the deal, they've shared another single online. Here's "Leave to Remain". Layer upon layer of guitars and vocals - just wonderful rock music:

They're out on tour, Europe now and U.S. in June:

19 – Melkweg, Amsterdam, Netherlands (With Cloud Nothings) (Tickets)
20 – La Fleche, Paris, France (With Cloud Nothings) (Tickets)
21 – 100 Club, London (with Great Ytene and Henge) (Tickets)
22 – Deaf Institute, Manchester, UK (With Cloud Nothings) (Tickets)
23 – Stereo, Glasgow, UK (With Cloud Nothings) (Tickets)

4 – The Crocodile, Seattle, WA (with Eagulls) (Tickets)
6 – The Shred Shed, Salt Lake City, UT (with Eagulls) (Tickets)
7 – Larimer Lounge, Denver, CO (with Eagulls) (Tickets)
9 – 7th Street Entry, Minneapolis, MN (with Eagulls) (Tickets)
10 – Beat Kitchen, Chicago, IL (with Eagulls) (Tickets)
11 – Brillobox, Pittsburgh< PA (with Eagulls) (Tickets) 12 – New York, Mercury Lounge, NY (headline – early show) (Tickets) 22 – Best Kept Secret Festival, Netherlands (Tickets) JULY 3 – 6 – Vida Festival, Vilanova i la GeltrĂș, Spain (Tickets) 26 – Deer Shed Festival, UK (Tickets) AUGUST 9 – Beacons Festival, UK (Tickets) 20-23 – Paredes de Coura, Portugal Cheatahs website
Wichita Recordings

Rolling Stones Friday: Ride On, Baby

We've been featuring well known songs of the Rolling Stones most Friday's here at WYMA. But this week we're digging deeper into the catalogue for a true gem you might not know.

"Ride On, Baby" was recorded in 1965 for the Aftermath sessions, but not released until 1967 on the Flowers collection. It was not a single, got no airplay, and in England at least, was more associated with Chris Farlowe whose Mick Jagger-produced version was a hit single in 1966.

It says a lot about the Stones during this period that they had a song this good which didn't even make the record it was recorded for. "Ride On, Baby" certainly represents Brian Jones at his peak - he contributed harpsichord, piano, marimbas, autoharp, congas, and Rickenbacker guitar - creating such a striking sound here.


Late Friday addendum:
WYMA's Founder / CEO / President, John Hyland, reminded today there is a very fine and recent cover of "Ride On Baby" by WYMA favorite Tommy Keene, which appeared on Excitement At Your Feet (WYMA review here.  Listen to Keene's "Ride On Baby" here:


Thursday, May 8, 2014

"Expensive Dog" from Total Control

We recently featured "Flesh War" from Typical System, the upcoming LP from Melbourne's Total Control (link).  That track was a gloomy, synthy dose of post-punk.  The second track from the album is not available, and "Expensive Dog" stays with the post-punk gloom, but proudly displays bulging biceps and rough edges.  Where "Flesh War" held you at a distance, this track is breathing on your neck, whether you like it or not.  What does this mean for the album?  Same thing as before, mark your calendars and be prepared for shock and awe.

Typical System will be out in late June, self-released in Australia and New Zealand and via Iron Lung Records in the rest of the universe.

Iron Lung Records

REVIEW: Tunabunny - Kingdom Technology

Athens, GA's Tunabunny has released Kingdom Technology, their followup to last year's Genius Fatigue (WYMA review here).

It's a very good record, and it's all over the place... there's dance-rock, guitar-based postpunk, intensely focused krautrock, and throughout, in selected spots, the soaring vocal harmonies that first attracted most folks to their previous records. I get the sense that Tunabunny (Brigette Herron & Mary Jane Hassell) doesn't particularly care what you call their music, as long as you listen and recommend it to your friends. Which is what I'm about to do.

First song is "Airless Spaces", which calls to mind the Deal sisters fronting Kraftwerk, or something like that. That segues directly into "Canaries in Mine Shafts", which is pop-punk perfection along the lines of Breeders, GbV - opening with guitar feedback, and featuring squalls of guitar and vocal noise - a lot in less than 2:00. "Save It Up" is one of the dance numbers, featuring heavy bass, breathy vocals, synths and what sound like handclaps but are probably just snare cracks.

Here's "Different Jobs":

This is the advance track, and though it's not the catchiest one, it's very representative of their approach on this album. The catchiest track, to me, would be "Coming For You", unless it's "Empire", which anybody reading this who is a GbV/Breeders fan should go download immediately.

Here's "Power Breaks", a bit along the lines of "Save It Up", kind of a dance number based on a motorik beat, building out of some electronic blips that sound completely random at the beginning and somehow coalesce:

"Pump on the breaks now", they say, and somehow it makes perfect sense. Not brakes. Breaks and beats.

Somehow, they pull all this together into an album that flows pretty well, and the sequencing sustains interest from song to song, until the final track, "They Say This Is Where Our Dreams Live". While longer than the two more ambient numbers, it's intense and guitar-based from the beginning - at times featuring nothing but a ragged electric guitar line and vocals, and the vocals are beguiling... and then it changes, the second half serving as a narrative. Like the rest of this album, it's strange, beguiling and holds your interest all the way through - if for no other reason than to answer the question: "how are they gonna end THIS one?"

The album is out now (released late April) on HHBTM Records.

Tunabunny at HHBTM Records

Wild Cub cover Chvrches - "The Mother We Share"

Nashville electro-rock band Wild Cub has made this song, a cover of Chvrches' "The Mother We Share", available for free download - just in time for Mother's Day:

Apparently, if you will "Shazam" their song "Thunder Clatter" (which we shared previously on WYMA), you will receive this new song as a free download. Wild Cub's music is pretty invigorating stuff, and they certainly have raised their visibility lately. They will be on Conan next week (5/13) and you can view upcoming tour dates at their Facebook page.

Wild Cub Facebook

REVIEW: The Moles - Flashbacks and Dream Sequences: The Story of the Moles

We welcome you to the wonderland that is the musical genius of Richard Davies' work as The Moles.  It is a tribute to Davies broad palate that writers invoke as comparisons artists as diverse as The Bats, The Chills, Mercury Rev, Guided By Voices and The Flaming Lips.  It is wide-ranging, lo-fi pop that shouldn't be approached with expectations, but rather a open mind to be taken where Richard wants to take you.  The delightful music is collected in Flashbacks and Dream Sequences: The Story of the Moles from Fire Records.  With 35 tracks over 2xCD or 2xLP +2xCD, it covers The Moles' two albums, Untune the Sky and Instinct, as well as other songs

Davies formed the original iteration of The Moles in the late '80s in Sydney, Australia, where they recorded Untune the Sky.  They moved to New York, and then London.  By '94 the original line-up disbanded.  Davies moved to the United States, and continued The Moles as a solo project, recording Instinct and other records with the help of such able friends as Hamish Kilgour of The Clean.  This later work displays the evolution from a more punk approach to the chamber pop Davies created later in his career in Cardinal.

This set was a 2014 Record Store Day release, but copies remain available.  There have been other collections, but this is the only one that contains all songs and retains the original order of tracks.  Long-time fans likely will consider it essential, but it delight any indie pop fan.

"Bury Me Happy" shows the band's New Zealand influences --

The lead track from Untune the Sky will resonate with fans of Guided by Voices --

Psychedelic "What's The New Mary Jane" was an attempt to write what a supposed lost Beatles tune would sound like --

Fire Records page for album

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

New music from Glaciers

Sim, Nals, Tom and Tilly are the Glaciers.  We featured them a few months ago (here) when they made a couple of great tracks available.  They create jangling, atmospheric guitar pop that seems to suggest wide vistas and long horizons.  I love what they do, and I wish I had more of their music to fill my day.  But today's good news is that their latest track, "Learning", is available for "name your price".  Yes, I know, I made your day.  You are welcome.

"Learning" --


"Electricity" from Model Aeroplanes

As you can discern for yourself, well, those of you who are sober enough, the lads of Dundee's Model Aeroplanes are not exactly grizzled veterans of the indie music scene.  In fact, I'm not sure that any of the young Scots has reached age 20 yet.  But they are appearing on these pages for the second time, so they clearly are doing something right (and according to my banker, the "something right" does not, sadly enough, include bribes).  Last August we featured their track "Crazy" (here), and now we are happy to present "Electricity".  It seems to me that the band is maturing fast, and this track is a great stride forward.  It sounds good, it makes me feel good.  What more could anyone want?

Model Aeroplanes are Ben Buist, Grant Irvine, Kieran Smith, and Rory Fleming-Stewart.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

"Used To Be The Shit" from Miniature Tigers

I'm beginning to think that Miniature Tigers' Cruel Runnings, set for a June release, may end up being one of the better albums this summer.  Bright pop tunes, sweet melodies, a sense of humor and a keen understanding of the kind of music summer demands.  We featured the infectious "Swimming Pool Blues" recently (here), and now they are back with the dreamy sugar that is "Used To Be The Shit".  With those two tracks and the previously released "Oblivious", that's at least three great tracks for the album.


NEW SONG: Radio Moscow - "These Days"

Radio Moscow is back... here's a hard-stomping, heavy guitar freakout "These Days" which will be featured on their next album, Magical Dirt. It's been a couple of years since their last album The Great Escape of Leslie Magnafuzz (WYMA review here), and Parker Griggs' voice and the psychedelic guitars sound better than ever.

They're heading over to Europe for the next month or so, then back to the states to support the album:

May 15 @ L’escargot – Hossegor, France
May 16 @ Bootleg – Bordeaux , France
May 17 @ La Nef – Angouleme, France
May 18 : France TBA
May 20 @ Secret Place – Montpellier, France
May 21 @ Sala Appolo – Barcelona, Spain
May 22 @ Shoko Club – Madrid, Spain
May 23 @ Cafe Antzokia – Bilbao, Spain
May 24 @ Sala Bukowski – San Sebastian, Spain
May 25-26-27 : France / Spain TBA
May 28 @ Vk – Brussels, Belgium
May 29 @ Freak Valley Festival – Siegen, Germany
May 30 @ De Piek – Vlissingen, Netherlands
May 31 @ Winston – Amsterdam, Netherlands
June 1-2 : Benelux / France TBA
June 3 @ TBC Cav’Conc TBC – Mayenne, France
June 4 @ Glazart – Paris , France
June 5 : Germany TBA
June 6 @ Loppen – Copenhagen, Denmark
June 7 @ Truckstop Alaska – Gottborg, Sweden
June 9-10 : UK TBA
June 11 : Germany / Swiss TBA
June 12 @ Init – Roma, Italy
June 13 @ L’ars Festival – Siena, Italy
June 14 @ Rocka ‘n’ Roll Festival – Mentova, Italy

We'll have more here once we have had a chance to hear the album...

Radio Moscow website

Monday, May 5, 2014

"Perfect Vision" by Cheerleader

Sometimes what the beginning of your week needs to make the world seem in place is a bright shining gem of a pop song.  One that reaches anthem territory and allows, even demands, repeated plays.  Today's suggestion is from Philadelphia.  No, really.  From Philadelphia.  Cheerleader is a five-piece from the City of Brotherly Love that combines guitars, synths, and hazy vocals into a beachy power pop that is uplifting and sticks to your ear canals.  Riding a well-received set of demos and an enthusiastic reception at SXSW, the band is releasing their first official single, "Perfect Vision".  The track is available digitally now, and the vinyl will be available in June from Young and Lost Club in the UK, and from Bright Antenna Records in North America.  For UK fans, note that the band is touring your island this month.

The band was founded by Connecticut natives Joe Haller (vocals/guitar) and Chris Duran (guitar).  The duo moved to Philadelphia and completed the line-up with Joshua Pannepacker (keys/guitar), Paul Impellizeri (bass), and Carl Bahner (drums).

Young and Lost Club
Bright Antenna Records

REVIEW: Tuff Love - Junk EP

Today, we brink you junk -- and you will thank us.  Specifically, we bring you the Junk EP from Glasgow trio Tuff Love.  Kicking off with the standout "Sweet Discontent", which could be a C86 Popguns/Flatmates nugget except for the fact that this band loves putting the bass up in the mix (and I love the band for loving to put the bass up in the mix).  Next up is the more garaged/grunged, but still jangling, "Flamingo", with echoes of Big Star or Teenage Fanclub.  Track three is "Copper", which adds a dose of Pavement-style alt rock to the set.  Tuff Love gives us their biggest muscle flex on "Poncho".  The sweet "Penguin" closes the proceedings with a taste of the band's soft side, and leaving us wanting much more.

The easiest thing to write about the EP is that it is well executed garage pop.  However, that really doesn't do it justice.  The vocals transcend that genre, with well inflected lyrics bracket by timely oohhs and aahhs.  However, perhaps most notable is the range.  There are beefy guitar lines and stout rhythms, but there is plenty of summery shimmer to balance the noise.  At times their music reminds me of the late Leeds outfit Manhattan Love Suicides, but Tuff Love has a more direct and accessible approach.

Tuff Love are Julie Eisenstein (guitar), Suse Bear (bass) and Michael O'Hara (drums).  The Junk EP is out now in vinyl and digital formats from Johnny Lynch's Lost Map Records.

Lost Map Records

Sunday, May 4, 2014

New Guitar Rock Discovery: Sam Page - The Slog In Uncertainty

Sam Page is an Orange County-based singer/songwriter playing well-realized, catchy guitar rock. His music pulls together a number of notable post punk influences - as an example, check out "Doubt", which calls to mind Dinosaur Jr.:

And here's album track "Shine Your Little Light" - a fine piece of power-pop with a good backbeat and strong lead guitar, and what might be Page's best vocal on the record:

But the guitar is the best thing about most of these songs - like the lead-in with strummed electric and acoustic that opens up "Release Me":

The Slog In Uncertainty is his third album - Page is a very assured performer, but I'm sure the process of creating, mastering, releasing and marketing one's own music is chock full of uncertainty. And it's to our advantage that guys like Page continue onward, slog and all. This is a very good album. Listen, buy and learn more at his website.

Sam Page website