Friday, November 13, 2015

"Soak" by Mt. Doubt


Mt. Doubt is an Edinburgh-based band that plays dark, brooding indie rock.  The frontman is Leo Bargery, who writes the songs and them brings them to life with the band.  This is perfect music to play late at night when finishing your last drink before bed.  There are some similarities with American band Pela (now defunct) and its successor, We Are Augustines:  Good writing; and sincere performances.  Their recent song "Soak" can be streamed and downloaded below.

You can buy a physical copy of the band's EP My Past Is A Quiet Beast here.  If you are satisfied with digital, a number of their recent songs are available for free download at the Soundcloud link below.




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"My Right Hand" by Peter Astor

This week's primo good news is that Peter Astor will release a new LP in 2016 via Fortuna POP!.  Astor, veteran of The Loft and the Weather Prophets, as well a considerable solo work, has featured on these pages several times this year for his single Mr. Music (link) and his single with Keith Negrus for a project titled The Fairlight Myth (link).  The album, named Spilt Milk, will include Mr. Music, as well has "My Right Hand", which can be streamed below.  The album was recorded at the home of James Hoare (Veronica Falls, The Proper Ornaments, and Ultimate Painting), with James providing much of the instrumentation.  Based on what we have heard so far we think we will love this album.



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Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Moonlight - The Moonlight


The Moonlight may never be well-known outside of New Zealand, but if such is the case it won't be my fault.  Their recently released self-titled album is superb guitar pop, and I intend to sing their praises to anyone who will listen.  Softly sung harmonies riding jangling guitars over a chugging rhythm section, sometimes dissolving into swelling dream pop.  Songs with appealing melodic structures and gentle but insistent hooks, then painted in melancholy shades.  For fans of jangle pop we could just write "New Zealand" and folks would nod knowingly.  But true fans know that there is no template, and while hints of other bands are audible here, the trio of Tim Lewton, Nich Cunningham and John Crocker are mining their personal existential vein in their own vision.  And it is well worth your ears.  And speaking of worth, a digital download is only ten New Zealand dollars.  Test out three tracks below and stream the entire LP at the Bandcamp link -- where you will be prompted to buy.  And which you will do ...







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Wimps - Suitcase

Aspiring punk and garage rockers must always remember to KISS.  Yes, 'keep it simple, stupid', is the mantra.  And if they are looking for the principle in action, they need look no farther than Wimps.  The Seattle trio's brand of rock is rapid fire, with downtrodden slacker themes, the right amount of attitude, and no distracting frills.  To be perfectly honest, the musicianship is much better than usually is found in this genre, and the keepers of the secret punk rolls may be tempted to kick them out because they really are too good.  But to be blunt about it, that is the Wimps' problem (or they might say that is a problem for wimps).  As fans, we can just be happy to have a really good punk and garage band on the scene.

Wimps latest effort is the 12-song Suitcase, the band's second full album  Channeling the cynicism, boredom, angst and drudgery of life in concise nuggets of self-effacing lyrics and chugging punk and garage rock, it is the band's best work and among the best punk to be released this year.  Guitarist Rachel Ratner shout-sings and tosses of angular riffs, while Matt Nyce's bass and Dave Ramm's drums provide energetic drive to the proceedings.  The songs are varied, with plenty of pop hooks and a good dose of humor leavening the sharp observations of life in the hipster city.  The video version of the opening track and a stream of the title track are below.  But because the band, the label, and WYMA are all very nice people, a full album stream is provided as well.  It is almost Friday, rock on, crash, and then line up to purchase a suitcase.

Suitcase is out tomorrow, November 13, via Kill Rock Stars.  And Seattle fans should note that the band's release show is at the Funhouse Lounge with Stickers, Mombutt, and Boyfriends.  The following night they will play at The Know in Portland.








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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Chorusgirl - Chorusgirl


I take no credit for Chorusgirl. But I will take the time to point out that I was on this bandwagon early, as just short of two years ago I featured the band based on a couple of demos (here).  Twenty-three months later the London-based outfit has presented us with their self-titled debut LP for evaluation of their progress.  After multiple spins, and noting that we are most of the way through 2015, my verdict is that Chorusgirl is a top fifteen album for the year.  Consider all the promise we've heard in the best tracks from emerging indie guitar bands in recent years (I won't mention names), and imagine a greatest hits compilation.  Wait, no need for such speculation.  Just get a copy of this album and let the fuzz pop, new wave, alt-rock and '60s revival tunes with layered harmonies and walls of sound make sweet love to your ears while the rhythm section knocks the air out of your lungs.

There are many reasons why this album feels special, starting with the high quality of the vocals and musicianship.  But that should be expected of an album worthy of review.  What Chorusgirl brings to the party to put them near the top is tight, fresh songwriting and a palpable joy in performing.  The lyrics have weight and, in some cases, an edge, but the music always lifts you up.  German-born Silvi Wersing, a musician in other bands, composed most or all of these songs on her laptop, and then recruited a band to bring them to life.  The name of the project is a wry nod to her prior roles.  And maybe that background goes part of the way to explain the euphoric sound the band produces.  Silvi is now doing her own thing.  And we're very glad for that.







Chorusgirl is Silvi Wersing (vocals and guitar), Udo Westhoff (bass), Michael Boyle (drums) and Diogo Oliveira (lead guitar).  Chorusgirl is out this Friday, November 13, via Fortuna POP!

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Introducing: Cloves




Another day, another new talent to follow.  Cloves is a young singer songwriter from Melbourne, Australia, with an undeniable knack for singing the song you wish you could sing after your heart has been broken.  And thank goodness she does it so well because in those situations we are usually too busy sobbing to try and sing a note, so we're happy to delegate.  The arrangements are simple: Cloves and a piano or guitar, and some percussion.  But what a voice!  She's toured in the UK and US, and has a vinyl-only three-song EP titled XIII.  Three songs are below - listen and weep, with joy.








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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

hd hausmann - Wring The Moisture From The Surf

Wring The Moisture From The Surf is one of the more interesting releases I've encountered this year.  Created by a UK collective called hd hausmann, whose members are helpfully identified as AS, TS, MR, LP, SD, JH, AL, RH, AO, AO, and NJ.  LP is the vocalist and lyricist, and apparently the others variously contribute their parts, recorded in isolation in different locations and without hearing the contributions of the others.  And perhaps defying expectations, the result is a soaring, uplifting celebration of melody and textures.  Acoustic and electronic elements combine, building tension and emotion to grand musical statements that evokes wide spaces, racing clouds and a pounding surf.  With little biography, back story or geographic detail, one can only focus on the music.  I assure you, that is enough.  This is a wonderful LP that will live on your playlist for a long time.

Wring The Moisture From The Surf is out now via Marshall Teller Records.


hd hausmann - 'Old Satellites' from Nicholas Jones on Vimeo.








Monday, November 9, 2015

Terrible Truths - Terrible Truths

The vital elements of the self-titled LP from Terrible Truths are rhythmic post punk and a super cool vibe.  Long respected in their homeland, their self-titled debut LP for Bedroom Suck Records is their first album, despite five years together.  While the band obviously didn't hurry into the album format, focusing on EPs and singles, their decision to release Terrible Truths provides listeners with a readily accessible method of experiencing the band's new songs, as well as some old tunes.

The songs are tightly wound, with guitar lines by Rani Rose that alternate between jagged/angular and soothingly jazzy.  Anchoring the songs is the steady groove provided by bassist Stacey Wilson and drummer Joe Alexander.  In fact, while the guitar and twin vocals by Rani and Stacey are top class, what repeatedly draws me to the album is the groove.  At times it reminds me of a more sophisticated brand of the adventurous '70s work by Lizzy Mercier Descloux.  The final result is an album of evocative and varied textures of sound that is deeply satisfying and completely addictive.

The band was formed by Rani Rose and Stacey Wilson in Adelaide, and were joined by Brisbane's Joe Alexander.  Terrible Truths is now based in Melbourne.

Terrible Truths is available now on vinyl and CD, and as a digital download, via Bedroom Suck Records.








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Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Style

I must admit that I don't know the background of the decision to name a musical project Car Seat Headrest.  Perhaps it was a game to close one's eyes and name the band after whatever one sees first when opening one's eyes.  In that case, the name chosen may not have the sparkle of Beautiful Blue Sea or Majestic Waterfall, but is a damn sight better than Unidentifiable Mess On My Lawn or Suspicious Mole On My Friend's Arm.  But we won't dwell on it, because we are here about the music, and the music that brings us here today is decidedly feature-worthy.

Car Seat Headrest is young Will Toledo.  A prolific musician, the Seattle-based transplanted Virginian has just released Teens of Style, which I expect to be his breakout album, via Matador Records.  The songs are a bit scruffy at the edges, but the hooks and melodies are great, the production crisp, and Toledo never forgets to flex his rock muscles.  Add in an outsider's observational perspective and an adventurous craftsman's approach to structuring his songs, and you get an album that sounds like Guided By Voices songs reinvented by a talented, voluble young young man with an appreciation for orchestral pop.  In the wrong hands, that could be a messy combination, but on Teens of Style, it is magic.  Not all of the songs on the LP are recently, but rather represent selected songs that Toledo has penned over the last several years and recorded (or re-recorded) in the first half of 2015.  But unless you have collected his prior work, that detail should be of no consequence to you.  Perhaps that makes Teens of Style a bit of an appetizer, as a following release of new songs named Teens of Denial is planned for 2016.  But I suggest that you don't wait. This album is too good to ignore and who knows what will really happen tomorrow, much less next year.









The players on Teens of Style are Andrew Katz (drums), Jacob Bloom (bass), Amanda Schiano di Cola (trumpet on tracks 5 and 10), Eleni Govetas (sax on track 8), and Will Toledo doing everything else.

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