Friday, May 13, 2016

Kaspar Hauser - Kaspar Hauser EP

Do you recall the images of a conflicted protagonist with a good angel whispering in one ear to counsel good, and the devil sneering vice in the other ear?  Well, if you think of Cocteau Twins as the good angel, Glasgow's Kaspar Hauser is the musical embodiment of the devil in the other ear.  Their four-song, self-titled EP is shoegaze for people wearing black boots with traces of mud and blood, dreampop for people whose dreams are nightmares.  The percussion is like thunder, the guitars big and abrasive, the vibe is ominous.  It is black hearted and threatening.

It also is very, very good.  It take elements of The Cure and The Fall, turns up the noise and aggression, and comes out with something that is very cathartic.  This EP is a limited edition cassette, with a digital download code included, so you'll need to act fast if you are interested.  The Bandcamp link to order from Soft Power Records is below.

Kaspar Hauser are Josh Longton (guitar/vocals), Anne Kastner (bass/vocals), and Andy Brown (drums).  The name comes from a German boy of the 1700s who claimed to have been imprisoned in total isolation growing up.

Bandcamp for EP
Soft Power Records

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Orchestra of Spheres - Brothers and Sisters of the Black Lagoon

Chances are that Orchestra Of Spheres didn't play at your Senior Prom.  But your prom would have been considerably more memorable if they had.  From Wellington, New Zealand, the core lineup is Baba Rossa (vocals/biscuit tin Guitar), Mos Locos (synth/vocals), EtonalE (bass carillon/vocals, and Woild Boin (drums).  A guy named Tooth contributes as well.  Their latest album is Brothers and Sisters of the Black Lagoon, which may sound offbeat until you consider that their previous LP was titled Vibration Animal Sex Brain Music.  Their list of professed influences won't tell you much, other than confirm that this gang is imaginative and coming from a different plane of consciousness than your accountant or attorney.  But this isn't music that demands that you sit and think.  This is dance music with creative use of instruments, non-instruments used as instruments, and rhythms.  It is primal, otherworldly and totally funky.

Test drive Orchestra Of Spheres via the sampler below.  And then think how utterly awesome it would be to toss a few tracks of this on the playlist for your next party.  Your hosting skills will be the subject of legends around the campfires for future generations.  You'll also have a damn fine party.

Brothers and Sisters of the Black Lagoon is out now via Fire Records.

Fire Records page for release

"Blurb" by Pure Moods

Here is a blurb about a new Melbourne guitar pop band.  Or rather it is about "Blurb" from the new Melbourne band Pure Moods.  Warm and melodic, it suggests that these guys could provide us with much joy in the future.  If you are interested, you can buy a digital download at the Bandcamp link below.

Pure Moods are Adam Madric, Alex Lashlie, and Wyatt Knowles.

Bandcamp for digital download of "Blurb"
Deaf Ambitions Records

A Novel Resort - Island of Atlas EP

Island of Atlas EP by Danish band A Novel Resort is here to make your week better.  How do I know?  I had a tough day yesterday, and after playing this four-song record twice, I sighed and felt at peace with the world.  This morning I'm playing it again, and can't get the smile off my face.  This is soaring pop melodies, pristine Scandinavian sound, and smooth vocals the will remind you of Richard Hawley and Northern Portrait.   In fact, the latter similarity is no accident, because A Novel Resort is the solo project of Michael Kornbeck of Northern Portrait.  There is a bit of ice, and a bit of bite to these tunes, but like the music of The Smiths, you can address the songs at the lyrical level, or the melodic level.  We think both will give you more that you spend to get it.

Island of Atlas EP is available now as a digital download or CD from Jigsaw Records.  See the Bandcamp link below.

Bandcamp for Island of Atlas

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

"Lizzie" by All The Real Girls

All The Real Girls is a Seattle-based project consisting of Jason McGerr (Death Cab For Cutie), Jim Roth (Built To Spill), Erik Corson (The Long Winters), Steve Fisk (Pell Mell), Erik Howk (The Lashes) and Shelby Earl, headed by singer songwriter Peter Donovan.  Shelby Earl is the only girl, but they all are very good musicians.  The band's debut LP, Elk City, will be released in mid June.  The first single is "Lizzie", and we think is is a killer tune of love lost.  Give it a spin below.

We think this record could be very, very good.


Pikelet - Tronc

What is a Pikelet?  It is synth-based art pop with an experimental scope and a romantic heart.  For new album Tronc, all parts are played and voiced by founder Evelyn Morris, who seems equally bent on entertaining and challenging the listener with her brand of weirdo pop.  But unlike some experimental pop music, it is undeniably engaging.  It may come from left field, but it welcomes you into the fantastical world rather than creating a wall.  One of the reasons I think it works so well is that Morris is a masterful songwriter and disciplined performer.  For all of the bells, beats and tones, the compositions are focused and efficient.  And for our money, after spending nearly forty minutes letting Pikelet paint with bright colors inside our heads, the only thing we want to do is press "repeat".

Tronc is out now in cassette and digital formats via Chapter Music.  You can stream Tronc in its entirely at the Bandcamp link below.

Bandcamp for Tronc
Chapter Music page for Tronc
Chapter Music

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Drones - Feelin Kinda Free

Most bands don't endure long enough to release seven studio albums.  For those that do, more often than not the listeners are hearing music that is pretty similar to the sixth, fifth, and fourth albums.  And they know what they are likely to get if there is and eighth.  Then there are The Drones.  The Melbourne rockers new seventh LP, Feelin Kinda Free, is classic for The Drones only in that they carve their own path without worrying about what listeners will say if they don't hear what they've heard before.  Hell, The Drones don't worry about what the listeners will say if they don't get the same style on track three that they heard on track two.  I suspect they also don't obsess about whether there music matches the tastes of the largest number of fans.  For those of us who cherish this band, we wouldn't have it any other way.

Starting in Perth almost 20 years ago, and with a few lineup changes along the way, The Drones spin long, dark songs.  Punk, post punk, garage?  The influences and delivery are varied enough to render the music unclassifiable in terms of musical genre.  It seems more useful to identify emotions such as rage, disdain, disappointment, cynicism and loss.  Or perhaps look at the topics, such as racism, neo-fascism, the rise of ISIS, assholes great and small, consumer culture, and the refugee crisis.  Yes, the world is falling apart and The Drones make it their business.  The delivery can be loud, it can be atonal, it can be slow, but it always is passionate and authentic.  If you are looking for Taylor Swift or Rooney, you are in the wrong place.  Go elsewhere while we fans dance to the visceral darkness.

The Drones are Gareth Liddiard, Fiona Kitschin, Christian Strybosch, Dan Luscombe, and Steve Hesketh.  Feelin Kinda Free is out now on the band's own Tropical Fuck Storm Records and MGM Distribution.


Hate Week - "Night By The Lake" / "Blunt Claws" / "Amplified Heart"

Welcome to Hate Week.  "What?" you ask.  You thought this week was proceeding quite nicely.  You got through Monday, and Tuesday is looking OK.  I understand, but perhaps this won't be too much of a disruption.  You see, Hate Week isn't a week of bad feeling and feuds, it is a Swedish band consisting of Marcus Görsch, Joel Görsch, and Daniel Svanhög.  The name comes from an event in George Orwell's 1984.  Joel and Daniel were in Faintest Ideas together until 2008 (and before that in The Javelins).  They formed Hate Week last year, recruiting Joel's brother Marcus of the band Love Is All to play the drums.  Their first record is the triple A-side "Night By The Lake" / "Blunt Claws" / "Amplified Hearts".  Because the trio has a nose for quality, their debut release is part of the wiaiwya-7777777 singles series.  The three tracks are energetic indie pop with a direct style and punk attitude.  There is a bit of Buzzcocks in this lot and we are happy to welcome them to the scene.

The record is available as a vinyl 7" or digital download.  See the Bandcamp page for details.


Monday, May 9, 2016

Free Time - In Search Of Free Time

That the album art for In Search of Free Time, the sophomore LP from Dion Nania's Australian/American project Free Time boasts vivid colors is completely appropriate.  While this album maintains the relaxed feel and jangling instrumentation of its predecessor, it also reveals a broader scope and brighter tone.  The band, which also includes Joe Alexander from Terrible Truths, Zachary Schneider of Totally Mild, and Martin Frawley of Twerps is tight, confident and perfectly focused as they reel off the pop gems such as "All Four Seasons" and "Who Owns The Moon", the harder rocking opener "Among The Reeds", the vamping "Genius of the Revolution", and the sprawling "5th Floor".  Through it all the stars remains Nania's charming delivery and deft songwriting.  We know that creating great pop songs is hard work, but it is easy to forget that when the results are this good.

We urge you to make time to check out Free Time.  It will be time well-spent.  In Search of Free Time is out now via Bedroom Suck in Australia and New Zealand and Underwater Peoples in North America.

Bedroom Suck Records
Underwater Peoples

"Shawshank" by Mumrunner, free download

Finnish rockers Mumrunner craft dense but melodic soundscapes, pulling together alt rock intensity, dream pop haze, and pop melodies.  On the cusp of releasing a new EP for Helsinki label Soliti Music, the band has released "Shawshank" as a free download.  Consider it a very satisfying test drive of the new EP.  Download it from the stream below, or from your favorite digital outlet.

And if you have a moment, click on the Bandcamp link below to experience last year's EP.

Bandcamp for 2015 Full Blossom EP
Soliti Music

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Introducing: Fascinations Grand Chorus

The background story is that Stephanie, who provides vocals and keys, and Andrew, who mans the drums, were in competing projects before testing the waters as a team.  I can't provide any perspective as I am unfamiliar with their previous bands, but to my ears their Fascinations Grand Chorus has the sound of success.  Girls group plus surf plus indie energy may not be a new invention, but when done well it always pleases.  Two of their creations are below, and both are included on the band's self-titled EP, soon to be available via Silent Stereo Records, as well as separately available via Bandcamp.

Silent Stereo Records

Photo Cred: Kelli McGuire

Introducing: SoccerPractise

You should be pleased to meet Auckland's electronic and multimedia four-piece SoccerPractise.  Their latest single, "Haere Mai E Tama", is captivating ears in their homeland, and they are sharing bills with Youmi Zuma and Doprah, other New Zealand bands that have featured here.  "Haere Mai E Tama" is sung in Te Reo Maori over a cinematic arrangement.  It is hauntingly beautiful, and heralds the arrival of a talented band.  We also have a stream of their prior single, "Windfall", which should find its way into any dancefloor set list.

SoccerPractise are Geneva Alexander Marsters (vocals), Kim Newall (multimedia), Leo Horgan (guitar), and Thom Burton Programs.  Their label is Freezing Works Music.

A tip of the When You Motor Away touring cap to fine Dunedin blog Pop Lib for bringing SoccerPractise to our attention.

Freezing Works Music page for SoccerPractise