Friday, January 29, 2016

Halfsour - Tuesday Night Live

Tuesday Night Live tickles my inner music lover like few albums debut albums.  It jangles, buzzes and snarls.  It discusses the confusions, frustrations and anxieties of young adults, but does it with a casual delivery that underscores the implicit understanding that it likely will all work out, but if it doesn't the worries will be different tomorrow anyway.  It doesn't hide its ragged edges, but doesn't display false pride in them either.  The creators, Boston's Halfsour, are DIY realists in the finest tradition of Guided By Voices, the band whose lyric provided the name for this blog.  And that makes sense when you learn that the band's beginnings were as a GBV cover band.  But this trio carves their own path, gravitating to concise, punk-inflected garage pop tunes with sardonic delivery and blasts of energy.  A younger, slacker GBV?  A Beat Happening on speed?  You decide.  Check out the streams below and take the whole album out of the garage for a test drive below.  I expect you'll like it.  For my money, it is a prime example of why this blog avoids major label releases and looks for indie gems.

 Tuesday Night Live is out today on Jigsaw Records in digital, vinyl and CD formats.  See the links below for your choice.  Baltimore label Nebraskan Coast offers the album on cassette.  And yes, I know that this is successive days for a Jigsaw release.  But the label tends to batch its releases and Animal Daydream and Halfsour have both earned contemporaneous recognition for their art.

Halfsour are Zoe, Ina and Matt.

Jigsaw Records page for LP and CD
Bandcamp page for Tuesday Night Live (digital/LP/CD)
Bandcamp for prior releases

Philco Fiction - Talk/Brag

Talk/Brag is an album of ambition, with songs that touch on the interior/spiritual and the dance floor, with neo soul and gospel elements adorning a platform constructed with bountiful bass and flashes of horns.  If you are an electro-pop fan, this is going to be one of your most welcome releases of the new year.  But even if you aren't ordinarily drawn to the genre, I think you will find Talk/Brag to be a very rewarding record.

The album is the creation of Philco Fiction, the Oslo Norway duo of Turid Alida Solberg and Andreas Lønmo Knudsrød.  Our first introduction was via showcase song "Runimals" - a soulful triumph that any band would be happy to leave as their aural calling card.  The title track is an playful and appealing pop song that translates well to the dance floor.  "Bodies" merges R&B with '80s synth pop.  But those are just a few of the highlights.  For example, "Hold Your Breath" is a sleek and slinky gem that could be a single.  Talk/Brag is both smooth as polished steel and burning with emotion.  Dance the night away!

Talk/Brag is out today via Killing Moon Records.

Killing Moon Records

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Animal Daydream - Citrus EP 7"

About a year ago we featured the Easy Pleasures EP, the debut recording by Gothenburg, Sweden guitar pop duo Animal Daydream (link).  Our only complaint was that at four songs, we were left wanting more.  A year later, Daniel Fridlund Brandt and Alexander Wahl have sought to resolve our concerns with the Citrus EP, four more tracks of the kind of music that never goes out of style in my house.  What Animal Daydream does so well is absorb classic influences such as west coast jangle pop, Glasgow power pop, and '70s soft rock and then reinterpret it in their own style.

The title track is a glorious tune that could be a jam between the Byrds and Fleetwood Mac.  "Sun (turn around)" would do Teenage Fanclub proud.  There is a Fleet Foxes vibe to "All That You Can Give".   The closer, "In My Room", wraps it up with a uptempo dream pop tune.  Overall, there is so much sunshine in the melodies and harmonies that I'm tempted to wear sunglasses when I play this record.

Citrus EP is out tomorrow, January 29, via Jigsaw Records as a digital download or on vinyl.  See the Bandcamp links below.  I expect that digital retailers are an option as well.

Jigsaw Records page for Citrus EP
Bandcamp for Citrus EP

The Manhattan Love Suicides - Bikini Party / Birthday Kill

Few current band can bring the JAMC guitar squall and attitude quite as well as The Manhattan Love Suicides.  And they add the twist of female vocals.  The latest from Adam, Darren, Caroline and Rachel is Bikini Party / Birthday Kill, which is available now on vinyl and as a digital download.  The two songs present the dual sides of the band, with the opener delivering upfront, rumbling guitar muscle, and the second track offering a sprawling soft/loud epic of noise pop.

Bandcamp for Bikini Party / Birthday Kill

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

"Lose Control" / "Love Is" by Dude York

One of our favorite young Seattle bands is Dude York.  The trio impressed us with their 2014 LP Dehumanize made my top thirty albums for that year.  This month they released the two-song single Lose Control / Love Is.  We're happy to report that the band has lost none of their swagger, but has polished the songwriting and broadened their palette.  They sound a bit more grown up, but still with that important hint of danger.  However, you don't have to take our word for it, as you can stream both songs below and then head over to Bandcamp and secure your very own slice of Dude York.

Dude York is Peter Richards (guitar/vocals), Claire England (bass/vocals), and Andrew Hall (drums).  Peter wrote "Lose Control", and Claire wrote "Love Is".


The Pooches - Heart Attack (EP)

We like dogs.  And we like bands who like dogs.  And bands who like dogs and choose a name associated with dogs get extra points.  Which all brings us to Glasgow's The Pooches.  Jimmy, Gav, Calvin and Andy have been honing their musical chops in Scotland while waiting for their big soup bone to land near their noses.  Obviously, good things come in pairs because in the past year The Pooches have signed to Philadelphia label Lame-O Records, and they are now been featured here.  I'm sure the lads feel like they are getting a never-ending belly rub in front of the fire.

This Friday, January 29, Lame-O is releasing the four-song Heart Attack.  The title track is top quality guitar pop, and you can stream it below.  And if you want to scratch the lads behind the ears while scratching your itch for good music, hit the Bandcamp link below.  We've also provided a link the the group's earlier recordings, which are available at 'name your price'.

Bandcamp for Heart Attack
Bandcamp for previous releases
Lame-O Records

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

"To Think That I Once Loved You" by The Drones

Music from The Drones always is eagerly anticipated by fans, and the March release date for Feelin Kinda Free seems too far away.  But the Melbourne band isn't leaving us completely without aural sustenance, having share album track "To Think That I Once Loved You".  If you wondered whether the band was losing steam, running low on passion and conviction, this should set you right.

Feelin Kinda Free will be released by Tropical Fuck Storm Records.


Monday, January 25, 2016

"Parcel of Rogues", in honor of Robert Burns

Tonight is Burns Night in Scotland, an annual celebration of the country's best known poet/lyricist (and author or 'Auld Lang Syne') on the anniversary of his birth.  My wife tells me haggis is not on the menu at Chez Rocksteady (no doubt all bought up at the market before she got there), so I'll celebrate by offering "Parcel of Rogues", a musical rendition of Burns' condemnation of the politicians who sold out Scotland in 1707 by approving the Act of Union, binding Scotland to England.  The song is by one of the finest of Scottish band, The Delgados.  The song can be found on the collection of their performances for John Peel's show, which is released in 2006 by the Glasgow label founded by the group, Chemikal Underground.

Chemikal Underground

Lee Robinson Machine - Family Album

Yeah, I know that it is 2016.  But I'm not going to let the turn of a calendar page deter me from highlighting a few more quality releases from 2015.  One of them is Family Album, a vinyl release of an album recorded in Madrid in 1997 by Englishman Lee Robinson under the name Lee Robinson Machine.  Released on a small Spanish label on CD, the label expired before the album gained the notice it deserved.  And the artist himself expired a few years later, despite only being in his mid-forties.  However, Light In The Attic and Munster Records teamed up to offer the album on wax, so the eclectic tastes of Mr. Robinson can be experienced anew.

Robinson played in Fortunate Sons (with ex-members of The barracudas and Flamin' Groovies), The A-10, The Great Outdoors and others.  He also worked for record companies and in stage production, resulting in broad knowledge and appreciation for popular music.  This experience informed his choices for Family Album, which featured blues, post punk, pop, country and reggae.  This album hits the spot with an auteur's interpretation of familiar genres, and is the musical equivalent of a cool breeze on a warm summer day.  I mistakenly ignored it for the first two months I owned it, and have been playing it every day for the last six weeks.  Yeah, it is that good.

Light In The Attic page for Family Album
Munster Records page for Family Album