Saturday, June 27, 2015

Midnight World Pop Scout

Another installment of our not always reliable weekend feature of new music of note.  These aren't reviews -- just alerts to music you may find interesting.
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We start in out in London with a house collaboration between Shift K3y (Lewis Jankel) and Born Dirty for Dim Mak Records.  The thumping rhythms of "Misbehave" should get your night off to a good start.  The single is available as of June 29.




Shift K3y's Website
Shift K3y on Facebook
Shift K3y's Twitter

Born Dirty on Facebook
Born Dirty on Soundcloud
Born Dirty on Twitter

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Next is Melbourne, Australia electro-pop duo Alta.  Consisting of Hannah Lesser and Julius Dowson, they releases a five-track EP Awake For Days last Friday.  We think it is very interesting.



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And now for a more straightforward pop song, "I Won't Cry", from young Australian Mia Milan.



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Our stop in Brooklyn is to feature "City Lights" by synth pop trio DF3.  If you like this, note that their eight-song album After A While will be out later this year.



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Silicon is Kody Nielson, an islander -- from Hawaii, and now in New Zealand.  His LP Personal Computer will be out in late August via Weird World Record Co.  You can sample it via track "Burning Sugar" below.



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Weird World Record Co

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Finally, we are in Los Angeles for alt rock trio Raw Fabrics.  Ahead of their release of EP Plastic Joy they have unveiled record track "Move Over".  The band is Jack Franco, Jon Fredrik and Justus Dixon.



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Friday, June 26, 2015

"Voyeur Guy" from Andrew R Burns and The Tropicanas


Sometimes our Friday posts are dreamy, and sometimes they are sloppy.  Today, we have a post that is dreamslop.  Yes, dreamslop is the term that Andrew R Burns and The Tropicanas apply to their brand of guitar pop.  We featured their debut single last month (link here), and heaped upon it the sort of praise that reflects true admiration or a fair amount of under the table payola.  The lads have a new one out, and it hits the spot again.  "Voyeur Guy" is woozy, with lots of reverb over a retro-sounding pop tune.  By the way, the Soundcloud link below offers downloads of several tracks from the lads.



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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bob Collins and the Full Nelson - Telescopic Victory Kiss


Today is Bob Collins Appreciation Day.  For what are we appreciative?  Most generally, for Telescopic Victory Kiss by Bob Collins and the Full Nelson.  Specifically, we love the weathered by rich vocals, the songwriting that is personal and direct enough to have the lyrics stand for something, and the performance that passionately delivers the lyrics.  But most of all, we are thankful for an album that is all about guitar pop, with no pretense to be anything else.  The opening ringing guitar and rolling drums of opener "Sunshine Of Your Soul" sets the bar high, and the band achieves the standard for the remainder of the album.  "Your Star Is Fading" and "Emily" follow the same approach of full-blooded arrangements with muscular rhythms and crunchy riffs.  A few, such as "Espionage", "Golddust", and "Holy Man" showcase the band's ability to dial it back for a more reflective approach, and songs like "Seven Lives" display a mastery of power pop.  "Shaking Down The Secrets" has a breezy, country feel.  If you love guitar pop like we love guitar pop, we recommend this album.  The band has decades of experience, but the result is fresh and vital.

By way of background, Bob Collins was a member of the loved and defunct The Dentists.  In the years since that band dissolved, Bob has continued to write and perform as a solo artist and with a couple of other musicians as The Full Nelson.  Telescopic Victory Kiss presents his recent songwriting via a fully plugged in band.

Astute readers may have noted that this is Bob's second appearance on this blog this month, as he played with fellow alum Mark Matthews on the Matthew's The Treasures of Mexico project (review here).









Bob Collins and the The Full Nelson are Bob Collins (guitar/vocals), Rob Grigg (drums) and Mark Aitken (bass).  Telescopic Victory Kiss is available via Jigsaw Records as a digital download or CD; see the links below.

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Bandcamp page for Telescopic Victory Kiss
Jigsaw Records page for release


"Phonecalls In The Bath" from The Deadline Shakes


A series of singles from a young band over a few years is like a set of photographs of your nephew at various stages over the same time span.  In each of the pictures the young nipper is cute as a button and you are happy to look, but the kid looks pretty similar in each.  Then, at some point, there is a photo in which your nephew appears to have grown quite a bit.  He's still your nephew, but has clearly hit a new stage of development.

That all seems relevant to me today because we have been enjoying singles from The Deadline Shakes for a couple of years now.  Each of them has been an exciting pop nugget, worthy of carrying on the Glasgow tradition of fine indie guitar rock.  But with the new single "Phonecalls In The Bath",  we find fresh dynamics to the arrangement, more adventuresome instrumentation and, it seems to me, increased confidence.  The song begins slowly with minimal instrumentation, then explodes into a racing pop tune, then dials down again before building to a wall of sound finish.  The spaces are filled with harmonies, and there are just enough ragged edges to the instrumentation to avoid excessive polish.  "Phonecalls In The Bath" is the sound of our little 'nephews (and neice)' growing up.  And it pleases our ears.



"Phonecalls In The Bath" is out new week via Flowers In The Dustbin.  You can pre-order now.

The Deadline Shakes are Greg Dingwall (lead vocals/guitars/banjo/brass), Iain McKinstry (guitars/vocals), Martin McLeod (bass/ukelele), Thomas Booth (drums/percussion), Michael Muir (violin/tenor banjo), and Kiera Pollock (guitars/vocals).

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Label's order page for "Phonecalls In The Bath"

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

"Beach" from Will Joseph Cook


We generally don't cover artists covered to major labels here.  In fact, if we've covered you before and then stop, you've either hit it big or you've really turned to shit (ignoring for the moment the possibility that we are drunk again and lost your files).  But I'm making a little exception for the talented 18-year old Will Joseph Cook.  With only one EP under his belt, his forthcoming four-song sophomore EP Proof Enough will be released by on August 11 by Atlantic.   The young man has a songwriting gift, and an engaging crooner's voice.  "Beach" gives us our first glimpse of the new EP.  Will deftly combines a shimmering summery guitar with skittering beats and a breezy vocal, and it seems a perfect summer song.



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Night Dials - "I've Done More Things"/"I'll Sleep When I'm Dead"

"I've Done More Things"/"I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" swaggers into your head with the kind of leather-jacketed strut and 'what are you looking at' attitude that brings to mind The Jesus and Mary Chain and the Velvet Underground.  Did the Night Dials' confidence in their abilities precede or follow the execution?  I can't claim to know.  But I've heard a lot of rock music in my life, and "I've Done More Things" is a jangling, buzzing, hook-filled calling card that ranks among the best in the business.  The second track on this double A-side, "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead", is a paisley underground nugget that dials back the slashing rock and suggests an intriguing depth.

On this two-track introduction the band skillfully blends pop smarts, energy, reverb, focused noise, a dash of danger, and generous measure of who-gives-a-fuck.  And they wisely leave the package of "pop preciousness" unopened.  The single is out now via Ciao Ketchup Recordings, and you can stream/buy the vinyl or digital at the Bandcamp link below.  iTunes has it as well, if you are an iTunes kind of person.





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Bandcamp for release
Ciao Ketchup Recordings page for the release


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Solvents - Modern Dystopia

The Pacific Northwest has been sitting on a secret called Solvents for too long.  We apologize, but sometimes you hang on to good things for yourself even though we're supposed to get joy from sharing.  A DIY duo .... well, I suppose most duos are DIY except, perhaps, Milli Vanilli so I'll start over.  Solvents are a duo of DIY musicians from Port Townsend, Washington, a small town on the state's Olympic Peninsula.  Loud and soft, snarling rock and acoustic reflections, pointed social/political commentary and inward looking reflection -- this husband and wife team fills Modern Dystopia with ten fuzzy rock songs with a live-to-record feel and a palpable conviction that make you want to stomp your feet and sing along in full voice (this may explain the pounding on the wall from the guy in the next office).

Solvents have released 8 to 10 albums by their own account, yet remain at the most a cult band here in the mossy upper left corner of the country.  And that is sad, as any band that can package well-articulated grown up thoughts in a slightly punky indie rock package with a violin as a regular part of the arrangement is a band to cherish, in our view.  You can stream the entire album at the Bandcamp link below.  And note that a digital download is a mere $7 (it is only $7 to you, but it might keep this nice couple from having to venture into the woods and pick potentially dangerous mushrooms to keep from starving).  You can sample a few of the fine songs below, and I will suggest that "Reeling Out" may well become your favorite song of the week.









Solvents are Jarrod Paul Bramson and Emily Madden.  Modern Dystopia is out now and is available as a digital download or cassette.  Rabid fans have already cornered the market for the CD version.

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Introducing: Kelly Lee Owens


Kelly Lee Owns is a London-based songwriter and producer.  Earlier this year she released a two track single "Lucid"/"Arthur".  At the end of July she is releasing "Uncertain" paired with a club reworking of "Lucid".  To my ears, there is a lot of promise in her work.  Check out the sounds below.  The July release is available to pre-order now.



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Monday, June 22, 2015

Woodenbox - Foreign Organ

Of course, Scottish indie/folk-rock/country/mariachi is a crowded genre these days, but on Foreign Organ Glasgow sextet Woodenbox still manage to elevate themselves above the others.  More seriously, Foreign Organ displays Woodenbox's ability to use their folk storytelling abilities in a pop rock setting -- with a dash of horns.  And who doesn't love a dash of horns?  Think of your favorite Calexico songs; think of Saint Max and the Fanatics; think of some of the songs from Eric Bachmann's Crooked Fingers.

On this outing Woodenbox nearly crawls completely out of their folk rock skin, with muscular arrangements, assured vocals and the kind of full sound that a talented five-piece can deliver when all of one mind.  They haven't lost their sense of fun so much as beefed up the overt rock drive.  And it fits them like a glove.  However, the band haven't lost their touch for quiet and happy killer tracks either, as demonstrated by "A9 North".  The performances are tight, but not overly polished, and they pop with vitality, conviction and warmth.

Try out a few tracks below.  You can stream the entire album at the Bandcamp link.








Woodenbox is Ali Downer (guitars/vocals/harmonica), Nick Dudman (drums/vocals/ukulele), Fraser McKirdy (bass), Jordan Croan (electric guitars/vocals), Phil Cardwell (trumpet), and Sam Evans (tenor saxophone).  Foreign Organ is out now via Olive Grove Records in vinyl, digital download and compact disc formats.

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Olive Grove Records  

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sweet Madness - Made In Spokane 1978-1981 Volume 2

Why the hell didn't I know of this band sooner?  Why didn't all of us know of this band sooner (you can't blame music bloggers, because the "art form" didn't exist back then)?  I suppose the answer is that Spokane, Washington was no more a major music capital in the 1978-1981 span than it is today.  But during that time span Sweet Madness created a wealth of songs that strut the boundary where punk, garage, new wave and power pop join.  So at times they will sound like The Jam, and at times they will sound like The Clash, and there are definite strains of the British invasion and their Pacific Northwest brethren such as The Sonics, The Fastbacks and the Wipers.

Sweet Madness is Jan Gregor (vocals/guitar), John Robison (vocals/keys and synths), Mark Fenton (drums/backing vocals), and Don Lynd (bass/backing vocals).  Benefiting from two talented songwriters in Gregor and Robison, and solid vocals and musicianship throughout the lineup, their significant role in their area of the Pacific Northwest is that they were the first band to push past the rock and blues rock common in their area and fuse the underground sounds of new wave to their garage rock and punk.  Their songs are concise, sharp and focused.  Stuttering rhythms support spiky guitar lines and well-crafted lyrics.  Listening to this collection I can't help thinking that I'm listening to the greatest hits of some past band with decades of prominence and multiple major label albums.  The reality that this is the second fifteen songs from a short period of productivity of a Spokane, Washington band is mind-blowing.

Get a copy for Dad for Father's Day.  Then get a copy for yourself so you can discuss it with him, but really just because it is that damn good.  After a few spins, you likely will be motivated to chase down a copy of Volume 1.  I second that emotion.

The digital album is a mere $7 at the Bandcamp site below, at which you can stream the entire album.  The vinyl version is distributed via Seattle's Light In The Attic.










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Bandcamp for release
Light in the Attic page for release