Friday, October 31, 2014

Wolf Girl - Mama's Boy

May I introduce Wolf Girl, a South London four-piece consisting of Chris, Carl, Becky, and Christabel?  They make incredibly infectious garage pop with male/female vocals, high energy, and wit.  There are jagged edges, and maybe even some jagged hearts, but the doo wop choruses hook you in and the vein of sugar binds it all together.  Their art is getting an official physical release via the cassette version of the five-track Mama's Boy EP.  Opener "Good For Nothing" and the following "Freudian Slips are racing twee at a punk pace.  "I Will Be" is a very sweet '60s-style nugget.  Rocking out in garage mode is the game plan for "Hear In Your Head".  The record's closing song, "Sampson", is the only song to break the two minute mark, and the only one that doesn't race at full speed.  But while all the tracks are good, "Sampson" also is the track that one might point to in predicting that Wolf Girl is a band that will have much to offer us in the future.

The Mama's Boy cassettes will be available from Soft Power Records.  Although the release date is November 17, the release is limited to 100 copies, and a record this good is likely to be snapped up in the pre-order stage.  Buy yourself a copy, wrap it in Christmas paper with your name on it, and sign "a secret admirer".

Bandcamp for record
Soft Power Records

Rolling Stones Friday: Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow

"Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow" has always been a guilty pleasure for me. It feels a bit tossed off, I have no idea what it's about, and overall it is not a great Stones song. The Stones themselves reportedly didn't like the final mix and believe the rhythm tracks got watered down to the song's detriment.

But regardless, I like the rumbling feel of the song, the horn lines (it's the first Stones song with horns) and the overall psychedelic vibe. And it's just catchy as can be and sounds great.

Here's the recorded version from 1966:

And we'll leave you with a terrific live version from the Ed Sullivan Show in 1967, with Keith on piano, Charlie playing it cool on the drums, and check out Brian Jones' suit!:

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Los Tones - Psychotropic

Please don't tell Sydney's Los Tones that the '60s are over.  Please.  Their brand of bluesy, psychedelic, surfy garage rock is perfect for ears that crave such sounds -- like mine.  And now that the band has given us Psychotropic -- a full LP of the delicious stuff -- we can band together to protect this treasure and keep the pipeline going.  We can do it -- don't mention the date!

This is dirty, gritty, primal garage, the stuff you fell in love with when you first heard The Sonics' belt out "Psycho", "The Witch", or "Strychnine".  The band has released singles previously, some of which were featured here, but I believe that Psychotropic is their debut album.  It is available in digital, CD and vinyl versions.  All versions can be sourced, and the entire album streamed, via the Bandcamp link below.

Los Tones are Bodie (guitar/vocals), Shaun (bass/vocals), Leigh (drums/vocals), and Nick (guitar/vocals).  They recently completed a European tour.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tomorrows Tulips - When

When, the latest album from Costa Mesa, California's Tomorrows Tulips, is raw and lo-fi, with a '90s fuzz rock core and hints of glam and slow rock.  At times is sounds like a recently discovered trove of acoustic demos from the Velvet Underground or The Jesus and Mary Chain.  Perhaps the vibe could be called 'garage rock on codeine'.  I'm not going to pretend that everyone will read that description and exclaim "oh goody, that's for me".  It is, however, something I like.  The guitar tones are just right, and for me the album appealingly matches raw emotions with a raw sound.

The album begins with "Baby", a 1:11 garage glam burst.  The following "Surplus Store" is a throbbing mid-tempo song that manages to bounce along while creating a bummer atmosphere.  "Laying in the Sun" dials down proceedings another notch at the beginning, but offers a pleasing vocal hook.  Then it turns electric before returning to acoustic, while remaining languid.  Following tracks include rumbling lo-fi electric songs (for example, "When") and atmospheric acoustic tunes.  Some songs, such as "Favorite Episode", offer both.  For my tastes, "I Lay in My Bed" and "Glued to You", and "Plan It Peace" work the best, perhaps because they all remind me of TJAMC's The Power of Negative Thinking.  Tomorrows Tulips doesn't invent anything here, and their songs won't change your world.  And of course, it was never their intent to do so.  But I expect that they made the songs they wanted to make, and I'm happy to have them.  For me, after the opening track, the second half of the album is better than the first, but your experience may not be the same.

When was released on October 7 via Burger Records in the US, Strange Yonder in Australia and Ayo Silver in Europe.

Here are videos for "Baby" (NSFW) and "Glued to You" (NSFW), and the steams for "Glued to You" and "Papers by the TV" --

Burger Records (US label)
Strange Yonder (Australian label)
Ayo Silver (European label)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

REVIEW: Tangerine - Behemoth! EP

It isn't hard to be enthusiastic about the Seattle music scene.  Vibrant and varied, it offers indie pop, psychedelic, blues, metal, hip hop, electronic, pop, reggae, country and probably anything else your heart desires.  Not surprisingly, in Seattle and everywhere else a lot of gems get lost in the shuffle, and that's where we step in;  we champion the bands working for attention, and with the talent to deserve attention, rather plug someone with a big label contract.  But even given our self-selected mission statement (and our steadfast and noble refusal to accept the under the table money and perks offered to us by the major labels), some bands stand out as more ready for prime time, more deserving of major exposure, than others.  One of those bands is Tangerine.

Yes, tangerine is a lively color and a nutritious snack.  But Tangerine also is a Seattle band that deserves to be nationally known.  Their range is impressive, from pristine pop to west coast indie rock.  In Marika Justad (vocals/guitar/keys), Tangerine has a frontwoman with an incredible voice, powerful and equally capable of rocker girl mode or plaintive pop siren.  Her sister Miro (vocals/drums), provides vocal support, and counterpoint, as demanded by the material.  Ryan Baker (bass/vocals) teams with Miro as the band's rhythm section, and rarely do you hear a young indie band with a backbone so on point, so, well, consider it a party within the party.  Toby Kuhn (lead guitar/vocals) possesses a remarkable range of guitar skills, and delivers confident shredding episodes that solidify the band's rock credentials.  Moreover, the foursome seems tight knit, cohesive and, relevant in today's market, photogenic.

Of course, the foregoing positive attributes might not mean much without good material, but Tangerine also write excellent songs.  Their two 2013 EPs, Pale Summer and Radical Blossom, were stuffed with indie rock nuggets, with equal measures of ragged fuzz, sugar, gnarly rock and promise.  Today, the band self-released the Behemoth! EP, a seven-track fulfillment of that promise.  The ragged edges are trimmed a bit, but not so much that the band could be accused of abandoning rock.  The performances are tighter, and the material is expertly crafted.  Behemoth! starts out strongly with the bright and energetically chugging opening track "You'll Always Be Lonely", displaying the band's vocal and instrumental abilities, and loud-soft, fast-slow dynamics.  The following "Tidal Wave" dials back the volume but delivers one of the sweetest songs of the set, and notable vocal interplay between Mariko and Miro.  The previously released "Nothing Better" establishes the band's pop credentials in triumphant fashion.  "I Fell Down", the fourth song has a wonderfully retro sound, with Mariko's yearning vocal lead and Toby's garage chord accents.  Every time I hear it I'm tempted to ask someone to save me the last dance (you may now feel sorry for my secretary).  The fifth track, "Tiny Islands" is a bright slice of garage with pop flourishes.  "Runes" gives the rhythm section a chance to take the stage for the first minute and a half, and then the song explodes into indie pop perfection.  Album closer, "Northern Line", is four and a half minutes of delightful dream pop.

Three tracks are available to view/stream below.  But you also can listen to Behemoth! EP on Spotify.  And I urge you to do so because as good as those songs are, my current favorite tracks are "Tidal Wave", "I Fell Down" and "Runes".  For those who are as impressed with Behemoth! as I am, the record is available at the iTunes link below.  If you are lucky enough to attend a Tangerine show, there probably will be physical copies available as well.

iTunes link for EP

Monday, October 27, 2014

Shivery Shakes Three Waves & A Shake

Austin's Shivery Shakes are a breath of fresh air -- their Three Waves & A Shake delivers a bit of jangle, a bit of twang, a bit of roots rock, a bit of surf, and plenty of reverb and polish.  Although the lyrical content nestled in the nostalgic chords re-imagined for the slacker world can defy the happy sound, the songs bounce along with buoyant bass and energetic drumming.  So while someone might cry to the heartache and #youngguysproblems, it probably won't be the listeners.  In style of composition, the band seems to borrow a bit from fellow Texans Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly, and Britt Daniel of Spoon, while coming across as an imitator of no one.  And given the quality of the songs, I think Roy, Buddy and Britt would be proud to be listed as influences.  As there are no filler tracks, everyone may have different favorites, but for me, "Hold On", the jangling "Remember When", and the '60s flavored "Summer Lover".   So play the tracks below and stream the entire album at the Bandcamp link.  I suggest that you may be prompted to hold on to summer a bit longer by buying piece of The Shivery Shakes.

The Shivery Shakes are William Glossup (vocals/guitar/bass/piano/vibes), Marcus Haddon (vocals/percussion), Andrew Penmer (bass) and Jack Thorton.  Three Waves & A Shake is out now via Punctum Records and Austin Town Hall Records.  The boys are touring a bit in November; the dates are listed at the bottom of this post.

Bandcamp for album (and digital download)
Punctum Records
Austin Town Hall Records order page for album


11.12.14 – Phoenix, AX @ The Lost Leaf
11.13.14 – Los Angeles, CA @ Ham & Eggs Tavern
11.15.14 – Oakland, CA @ We Are Scandinavia
11.16.14 – San Francisco, CA @ Amnesia
11.18.14 – Portland, OR @ Valentine’s
11.19.14 – Seattle, WA @ Victory Lounge
11.20.14 – Boise, ID @ The Crux
11.21.14  - Salt Lake City, UT @ Diabolical Records
11.22.14 – Denver, CO @ Savoy