Friday, February 20, 2015

Milton Star - Sorryville/Salvation

It seems that sometimes the most vivid mental images originate from sparse stimulus.  Perhaps the mind takes inspiration and colors in between the lines.  This really isn't a random thought, because I have been thinking about the effect the double A-side from Scottish duo Milton Star has on me.  The guitars shimmer and the percussion pounds insistently, even ominously.  And the vocals travel the mournful baritone channel previously dug by Nick Cave and Mark Lanegan.  But the duo of Alan Wyllie and Graeme Currie choose restraint rather than noise.  Is is country? Post punk?  Lynchian film soundtrack?  Well, yes, I suppose it sounds like all of that.  The effect is simultaneously beautiful and bleak, but it always is evocative and satisfying.  Recorded in a converted church in Fife where Wyllie lives, the music is enhanced by the unique acoustic environment.

The songs are out now via Sterogram Recordings.  Listen below, and source at the Bandcamp links at the end of the post.

Stereogram Recordings
Bandcamp for "Salvation" download
Bandcamp for "Sorryville" download

"Look Out" from Bad Wave

Tucker Tota and Patrick Hart comprise the duo known as Bad Wave.  I don't have much of a basis for analyzing their music, but based on "Look Out" there seems to be an electro-pop base with a vein of woozy dance rock.  They've drawn comparisons to Toro y Moi, Phoenix and Vampire Weekend, as well.  All good company to be sure, but this song has earned it.  They have been pick up by Crazy Heart Records too, so, um, look out, things are trending upward for Bad Wave.

Crazy Heart Records

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Autumns - Blonde EP

Feeling a bit blah? Considering a few Red Bulls or a triple espresso?  Let me suggest a far healthier alternative.  In fewer than ten minutes Derry, Northern Ireland three-piece Autumns will thrill your ears and elevate your heartbeat with their just released Blonde EP.  Splicing together elements of the early urban indie pop of Postcard Records and the noisier approach of, say Creation Records bands or early works from The Delgados or Teenage Fanclub, the EP provides an exciting look at a band carving out its sound.   If you like what you hear on "I Can See Them Looking At Me", stream the entire EP below.

Blonde EP is out now via CF Records on limited edition 7" vinyl and as a digital download.

Autumns are Christian Donaghey (vocals/guitar), Marty O'Carroll (bass), and Ruairi Coyle (drums).  The band plans a full LP release later this year via Desire Records.

CF Records

"Find Yourself" from Jacco Gardner

Touring heavily and flourishing creatively, Dutch multi-instrumentalist Jacco Gardner is on a journey worth our attention.  His LP for Trouble In Mind, Cabinet of Curiosities, brought him some deserved name recognition, including a stint playing keys for Allah Las on tour.  His brand of baroque pop and psychedelia will be on display again in early May with the release of Hypnophobia.  The first single from the upcoming album is "Find Yourself", which is available now as a digital purchase.  In mid April Polyvinyl will release it on 7" vinyl paired with "Mixed Feelings".

Hypnophobia will be out on May 5th in North America via Polyvinyl Records and Burger Records (for the cassette edition) and on May 4th in the rest of the world via Excelsior Recordings and Full Time Hobby.

Gardner will be touring heavily in the next few months, including SxSW.  The dates and locations are listed below.

Polyvinyl Records order page

Fri. March 6 - Zeewolde, NL @ Where The Wild Things Are
Sat. March 14 - Denton, TX @ Denton Music Festival
Mon. March 16 - Austin, TX @ Hotel Vegas (Do512 SXSW Party)
Wed. March 18 - Austin, TX @ Dutch Impact on Cedar St (Dutch Impact SXSW Party, 11am)
Wed. March 18 - Austin, TX @ Waterloo Records
Thu. March 19 - Austin, TX @ Flamingo Cantina (Under The Radar SXSW Party)
Thu. March 19 - Austin, TX @ Hotel Vegas (Austin Psych Fest SXSW Party, 4:15pm)
Thu. March 19 - Austin, TX @ Cheer Up Charlie’s (Polyvinyl SXSW Showcase, 9pm)
Fri. March 20 - Austin, TX @ Hotel Vegas (Panache SXSW Showcase, 11:25pm)
Sat. March 21 - Austin, TX @ Hotel Vegas (Burgerama SXSW Party, 3:30pm)
Sat. March 21 - Austin, TX @ Spider House (Panache SXSW RAGER, 6pm)
Sun. March 22 - Austin, TX @ Beerland (Panache SXSW Hangover Party, 6pm)
Wed. March 25 - San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel *
Thu. March 26 - Santa Cruz, CA @ Catalyst Atrium *
Fri. March 27 - San Diego, CA @ The Casbah *^
Sat. March 28 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo *%
Sun. March 29 - Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory (Burgerama IV)
Tue. April 21 - Cologne, DE @ Studio 672
Wed. April 22 - Paris, FR @ Point Ephemere #
Fri. April 24 - London, UK @ 100 Club @
Wed. April 29 - Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso at Tolhuistuin #
Thu. April 30 - Zwolle, NL @ Hedon #
Fri. May 1 - Gronigen, NL @ Vera #
Sat. May 2 - Utrecht, NL @ De Helling #
Sun. May 3 - Nijmegen, NL @ Doornroosje #
Wed. May 6 - Tourcoing, FR @ Grand Mix
Thu. May 7 - Luxembourg, LU @ Floor
Fri. May 8 - Lyon, FR @ Epicerie Moderne
Sun. May 10 - Brussels, BE @ Les Nuits Botanique
Mon. May 11 - Bordeaux, FR @ Barbey Rock School Club
Wed. May 13 - Barcelona, ES @ Le 2 De Apolo
Thu. May 14 - Valencia, ES @ El Loco
Fri. May - Madrid, ES @ El Sol
Sat. May 16 - Lisbon, PT @ Music Box
Sun. May 17 - Porto, PT @ Hard Club
Mon. May 18 - Orense, ES @ Auditorio De Orense
Tue. May 19 - San Sebastian, ES @ Intxaurrondo
Thu. May 21 - Capri, IT @ Mattatoio
Fri. May 22 - Ravenna, IT @ Hana Bi
Sat. May 23 - Padova, IT @ Mame
Sun. May 24 - Vienna, AT @ Arena
Tue. May 26 - Munich, DE @ Kranhalle at Feierwerk
Wed. May 27 - Berlin, DE @ Private Club
Thu. May 28 - Hamburg, DE @ Molotow Club
Fri. May 29 - Copenhagen, DK @ Loppen
Sat. May 30 - Oslo, NO @ Revolver
Sun. May 31 - Stockholm, SE @ Strand
Thu. June 4 - Rotterdam, NL @ Rotown
Fri. June 5 - Eindhoven, NL @ Psych Lab at Effenaar
Sat. June 6 - Maastricht, NL @ Muziekgieterij

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

"Everyone" from TEES

I won't bore you with details about TEES, at least in part because I know little other than the duo is from Sydney, Australia, and consists of Sean from the band Virgo Rising and Liz from The Grease Arrestor.  But what I do know is that they have a great feel for deep house grooves and winning vocals.  Here is their latest single "Everyone", and the You Tube streams for a couple of previous songs.


"Hammer and a Nail" from Vienna Ditto

Cabaret, rockabilly, electro-rock, psychedelic pop, and theatrical pop -- all in one glorious song.  Yes, "Hammer and A Nail" demonstrates Vienna Ditto's ability to be audaciously different, and completely captivating as well.  Hatty Taylor's voice is a seductive, smokey, bluesy force of nature, and I want to hear it all day and night.  Nigel Firth's production is inspired, and deliciously dirty.  This single from the London duo will be released on February 23, in advance of the May 4 release of their LP Circle.  Take the goods for a test drive below.  Then have a smoke and a shower -- you'll have earned it.  Damn, May 4 seems like such a long way away.

Bandcamp for 2014 single

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

"Bond" from Mumrunner

Tampere, Finland's Mumrunner plays an explosive version of dreampop and shoegaze.  Gauzy tones and layers of sounds are punctuated with alternative rock elements, resulting in a dynamic listening experience and suggesting a wide range of possibilities for future songs.  Their latest effort is "Bond", which follows their two-track 'name your price' single "Zit/Rut" (see Bandcamp link below).  They have signed to Helsinki's Soliti Music, which will release the band's first EP this spring.

Mumrunner is Kati (bass), Sauli (guitars), Juuso (drums), and Jukka (vocals).

Soliti Music

Monday, February 16, 2015

REVIEW: Zebra Hunt - City Sighs

Seattle boasts several well-known icons, such as the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, and simultaneous views of the city skyline and snow-capped mountains from the ferry boats.  It also has lesser-known treasures such as dim sum at Jade Garden, multiple places to fill your growler with local microbrew (including some branches of a local drug store chain), and Zebra Hunt.  Be at peace, animal lovers, Zebra Hunt does not involve the hunting of zebras.  It is a trio of musicians that have the same love of  jangling garage bands such as The Feelies, The Clean, The Chills and the Woollen Kits as all of us on the senior editorial staff of WYMA.  They can be distinguished from us, however, by virtue of the happy (for them) fact that they can write and play great songs.

From the opening notes of "Delaware" City Sighs envelopes you in warm, jangling guitar tones, thick bouncing basslines and crisp percussion.  The band has an excellent feel for the kind of upbeat garage pop tunes that dominate this album, and despite their love of Dunedin bands of the '80s the rumbling, muscular tones make this album sound distinctly American to my ears (e.g. stream "Call It Off" or "Already There" at the Bandcamp links).  While the pace generally is brisk, Zebra Hunt proves equally adept when they slow it down, as on the affecting "Memphis" and "Always", or delve into psychedelia as on "Beaches of LA".  My favorites include the previously released "Half Right", the aforementioned "Always" and the brilliant closer "Haze of Youth" -- five minutes and thirty-eight seconds of bliss.

I love the songs, the tone and the range of City Sighs.  But more than that, I like that this album seems to reveal a certain ambition.  Unless you live in Seattle or read posts about Zebra Hunt by one of us writers fortunate enough to have been exposed to their music, you likely haven't heard their music.  But the band's response isn't to start small with their first LP and mine a narrow channel such as jangle pop or dusty California guitar pop.  Rather, they dare to be a rock band that can jangle, get your feet moving, make you sigh and pump your fist.  Check out the streams below and if you think I may be right, go to one of the links and stream this album a couple of times.  I can't think of a better start to your week that doesn't involve being naked (although you are allowed to listen to City Sighs sans clothes, just don't send us pictures).

The release date for City Sighs is today, February 16 via Madrid label Tenorio Cotobade Records.  The digital release for US fans is at the designated Bandcamp link below, and the link for vinyl purchases in the US is Jigsaw Records.  The physical release for the rest of the world is by Tenorio Cotobade, which will also have digital downloads available (link below)

Zebra Hunt is Erik, Mitch and Robert.

Bandcamp for digital
Tenorio Cotobade site for vinyl and digital